Hodags Chop Down Lumberjacks 31-13
In a clash between two unbeaten teams, the Rhinelander Hodags football team applied a stout run defense and powerful running game to down Wausau East in a non-conference game Friday night. Both teams entered the contest with a 3-0 record. Wausau East's last three win start was in 2004 and Rhinelander's last three win start was in 1974. Both teams entered the contest employing a "pound the ball on the ground"mentality. The game was a matchup between Lumberjack senior running back Donovan Leverette, and Hodag senior running back Drake Martin. Martin won the battle hands down - game over.
The first quarter began with Rhinelander electing to kick to Wausau East. After three plays the Lumberjacks were forced to punt the ball. A short punt and 39 yards later, Drake Martin caught a Quinn Lamers 14 yard pass to the end zone for a Hodag 6-0 lead. Wausau East's second possession resulted in a turnover on downs and a Drake Martin 6 yard touchdown run to increase the Hodag's lead to 12-0. The Lumberjacks next possession resulted in an interception by senior defensive back Max Spaulding. The Hodags were not able to put together a cohesive drive and turned the ball over on downs. Wausau East then gave the ball to Donovan Leverette who ran the ball 9 yards to the end zone for six points. The Hodag's lead had now dwindled to 12-7. Rhinelander answered with another Drake Martin touchdown to end the first half with an 18-7 lead.
The second half began with a Drake Martin 11 yard touchdown run to keep Rhinelander on top 25-7. Two possessions later, Wausau East's junior quarterback Matt Heinrich scored a touchdown on a one yard quarterback sneak. The Lumberjacks missed on the extra point attempt and the score was now 25-13. Rhinelander responded with another touchdown. Drake Martin ran the ball 4 yards to cap off the score at 31-13.
Rhinelander offensively outgained Wausau East 327 to 222 yards. Drake Martin finished the game with 23 carries and two receptions, 176 yards and five touchdowns. Peyton Erickson quietly ran for 103 yards on only six carries. Quinn Lamers was 2 for 4 for a total of 36 yards passing.
Wausau East's Matt Heinrich was 1 for 6 passing for a total of 18 yards and an interception, 84 yards rushing and a one-yard touchdown run. Running back Donovan Leverette who was averaging over 252 yards per game and 11 yards per carry, had 22 carries for 94 yards total.
Although the Hodags are 4-0, they are just 1-0 in conference play and will face their toughest opponent next Friday against the Medford Red Raiders at Medford. There are four unbeaten teams in the Great Northern conference as of today. Rhinelander, Antigo, Medford,and Mosinee.