Rice Lake dominates Merrill, sends Bluejays to seventh straight playoff lossSubmitted: 10/21/2016
RICE LAKE - On Friday night, Merrill hoped to break a six-game playoff losing streak in its Division 3 Level 1 game at Rice Lake.

Instead, the losing streak hit seven.

Rice Lake sprinted out to a 34-0 lead at the half and shut out the Bluejays 41-0 to end Merrill's season.

"Our idea that hopefully we could control the ball and score points and keep them off the field, it didn't come to fruition because we didn't execute very well," said Merrill coach Nick Sturm.

A Sam Scheurer to Kenny Bednarek 64 yard touchdown pass highlighted the scoring barrage from the Warriors. Rice Lake ended up with 451 total yards of offense, while Merrill mustered 244.

The Bluejays have made nine straight playoff appearances, but haven't won a postseason game since beating Antigo in 2009.

Combined with Medford's Level 1 loss at New Richmond, the Bluejays loss left Antigo as the only Great Northern Conference team left standing in the postseason. The Red Robins defeated Fox Valley Lutheran 56-20 at Schofield Stadium Friday night.

Merrill can take pride in having shared a GNC championship, however. The Bluejays shook off a sluggish 0-2 start and several impactful injuries during the season.

"I'm very proud of the way they performed this year. We overcame a lot," Sturm said. "There were some very key injuries to players that were difference makers. We're missing three really good football players right now. The kids continued to believe."

Sturm dropped to 0-5 in the playoffs as Merrill's head coach.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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NORTHWOODS - The girls high school volleyball regional playoffs got started Tuesday night.

Several local teams are slotted into the Division 2 Sectional I bracket and squared off on night one.

Merrill was the top seed coming in and hosted Lakeland Union.

Mosinee hosted Tomahawk, while Antigo traveled to Northland Pines.

Finally, Medford played host to Rhinelander.

Check out the highlights and results!

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- Rib Lake Prentice football is using a new playbook this year.

One that doesn't have slant routes or safety blitzes, or X's and O's.

Instead, this playbook has a different equation: E + R = O.

"E + R = O. And that's an equation event plus response equals outcome," said Ohio State Leadership Coach Tim Kight.

Kight is the founder and president of Focus 3, a company dedicated to helping businesses, groups, and even sports teams build positive mentalities.

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Since 1999 when Menominee Indian High School's football program began, they have never had a winning season. Going into their matchup today with Elkhart Lake/Glenbeulah, they were 4-4 and tried to get one last win.

"We could be the first team to get a winning season and that would be pretty cool for the school," said senior Antonio Mahkimetas.

And pretty cool for Menominee Senior, Warren Kakwitch, who was looking forward to his last season.

"I was looking forward to my senior year knowing that we were going to be one of the top teams in the division," said Kakwitch.

The team was moved to 8-man football in 2015 because of low numbers. That switch brought out senior Terrell Waukau.

"When I heard it was faster, I felt more comfortable because that's in my zone of speed," Waukau.
Head coach Chris Clache is also a fan of the different division.

"They've actually enjoyed this almost more than the 11-man game. Just because it is more fast-paced and formations you can change and it's a lot more fun," said Clache.

The players have noticed a change in their coach which has helped them be more successful on the field.
"I think this year he's a little harder on us and he's pushed us a little more," said Mahkimetas.

That pushing has helped the team grow together and be more disciplined, leading to their 4-4 record going into week 9.

"We have a lot of charisma between each other. Even though we lost a few here and there and a lot last year, we never gave up on each other," said Waukau.

Clache started coaching in 2001 but took last year off. When he came back this fall, he brought with him a refreshed frame of mind.

"I came in the first day and I told them, I expect a lot out of you guys because I knew what type of guys we had and these are good guys and I've pushed them and they've responded well," said Clache.

Not only has the team responded well, but so has the Menominee community.

"We travel well and we've never done that before. We've had pretty large crowds following us to away games and sometimes we're traveling two hours to play a game," said Clache.

Regardless of the final record, Menominee football is headed in the right direction.

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NORTHWOODS - Ashland took down Rhinelander 48-23.

Auburndale topped Tomahawk 24-19 to advance to the playoffs.

Mosinee spoiled Lakeland's playoff hopes with a 28-21 win in overtime.

Crandon dominated Three Lakes/Phelps with a 51-0 victory.

Spencer/Columbus Catholic ran all over Rib Lake/Prentice 43-8.

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RHINELANDER - High school students sometimes struggle with juggling all their academics and extra-curriculars. For Rhinelander senior Gunnar Millot, he has decided to juggle even more. He is the kicker for the football team and also plays on the soccer team.

"I have games Tuesdays and Thursdays for soccer and a game Friday for football. On Monday's I will have soccer practice and leave soccer practice to go to about a half hour of football then go back to soccer practice. Tuesdays is a game and Wednesday is the same thing as Monday, Thursday is just a game and then Friday is football," said Gunnar Millot.

Even though he's still doing well in school, he sometimes struggles with everything that's on his plate.

"Obviously it's hard to keep up with everything and time-manage. It's more that I'm falling behind on sleep than I am on school," said Gunnar.

When he's dealt with injuries or being sore, the athletic trainer has some advice.

"'What can I do to fix this?' And he said, 'don't play two sports'," said Gunnar.

For his coach that knows him as an athlete and his son, he knows Gunnar can handle both sports.
"He's really goal-oriented and the kid knows what he wants and he really doesn't do anything to jeopardize his ultimate goals," said Dan Gunnar.

Coach Millot also knows how these dual-sport athletes can help smaller schools' athletic programs.

"Especially in Northern Wisconsin, there are teams within our own conference where that happens and I think that when you can transfer those skills and you can help another team and your school, go for it," said Dan.

Gunnar sure does go for it when kicking into the uprights. He always knows his personal bests.

"In practice is a 55, in game is a 46," said Gunnar. 
With it being his senior year, Gunnar has his eyes set on college.

"If possible at whatever school I choose, if I can play soccer or football I will try and pursue that," said Gunnar.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Washington, D.C. hosted the Big Ten Media day for 2016-2017 basketball today. The Wisconsin Badgers were the talk of the town all afternoon after receiving some big preseason honors. 

Senior Nigel Hayes was named the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year. And just like in 2014 when Frank Kaminsky received the same award, Hayes isn't too excited about it.

"I really don't like it, it doesn't really mean much. It's not really a real award. It's almost worse than getting a participation ribbon," said Hayes.

"How so?" asked BTN's Dave Revsine. 

"It's saying 'you could be good but maybe you couldn't be good'. All it does is just add another ring to the target on my back being at Wisconsin. But I guess, thank you," said Hayes.

For fellow senior, Zak Showalter, he can't wait to get to practice and get better as a whole team.

"When we come to the court, it's going to be a battle every day. Each guy is going to push the other one to make them better. You know when someone is coming after you, that's a good thing for the team and it's going to make everyone better," said Showalter.

This season will be the first full season for Head Coach Greg Gard. The red and white start on November 30th in an exhibition game against UW-Platteville.

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EAGLE RIVER/THREE LAKES - This weekend runners lined up in Eagle River and ran all the way to Three Lakes for the Three Eagle Half Marathon.

Saturday was the third annual race, and this year brought out more runners than ever, which was a good sign for race director Jayme Wyss.

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THREE LAKES - Wisconsin Badger basketball fans know their team plays old-school, fundamental hoops.

It's something of a lost art, but high school coaches hope to bring it back.

So Monday former Badger basketball standout Brian Butch offered to help, teaching kids in Three Lakes the skills he focused on as a kid.

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GREEN BAY - The Packers completed their second week of organized team activities this past week.

Green Bay is using some new drills too.

That's because the wide receiving squad has a new coach.

Luke Getsy is using bricks, Nerf balls, and juggling as tools for drills.

The Packers wide receiving core struggled last year.

Randall Cobb thinks the new mentality will help.

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GREEN BAY - The 2016 NFL Draft wrapped up Saturday.

The Green Bay Packers added seven players to their team:

Round one: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
Round two: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
Round three: Kyler Fackrell, LB Utah St.
Round four: Blake Martinez, LB, Stanford; Dean Lowry, DE, Northwestern
Round five: Trevor Davis, WR, California
Round six: Kyle Murphy, OT, Stanford

The smallest player out of the group stands at 6'1"

Thompson says adding bulk was one of their goals.

"There are things you'd like to add to your team," says General Manager Ted Thompson. "Athletic ability, size, that sort of thing. We do think we were able to do that [Saturday]. You don't have to be big to play in the NFL, but it helps, and we were able to get some bigs on both sides of the ball."

It takes a lot of planning and focus to draft well, but Ted says the process is still far from over.

"It's easy to sit here and proclaim 'okay, everything's good,'" says Thompson. "Quite frankly, everything is just getting started. We've got an extraordinary amount of work and people to talk to and things to see over the course of the next 24-48 hours to get to the point where you start winding up the roster from the draft itself."

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MILWAUKEE - Adeiny Hechavarria had four hits, including one of four Miami solo home runs, to help the Marlins beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-5 on Saturday night.

Giancarlo Stanton, Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna also homered as Miami won its seventh consecutive game. It is the longest winning streak for Miami since it won seven consecutive games May 1-7, 2012. The Marlins are 12-11, the first time they have been over .500 since being 64-63 on Aug. 22, 2014.

Wei-Yin Chen (2-1) allowed three runs with two walks and four strikeouts one night after the team took a combined no-hitter into the ninth inning.

David Phelps pitched the ninth for his first save of the season.

Milwaukee starter Chase Anderson (1-3) had his third consecutive subpar outing, allowing six runs in just 4 1/3 innings.

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MILWAUKEE - Maikel Franco homered twice and Aaron Nola pitched seven strong innings as the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 on Friday night.

The Phillies snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Brewers.

Franco hit a two-run home run in the fifth to give Philadelphia a 4-1 lead. He blasted a solo shot over the Brewers bullpen in left in the seventh to stake the Phillies to a four-run lead.

Nola (1-2) allowed four hits and retired 11 consecutive batters at one point and 16 of 17 to close out his outing.

Milwaukee starter Zach Davies (0-2) surrendered four runs and nine hits over six innings.

The Brewers took a 1-0 lead in the first on Chris Carter's run-scoring single. The Phillies tied the game in the fourth on Darin Ruf's RBI single.

The Brewers added a run in the ninth on consecutive doubles by Carter and Aaron Hill.

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ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - Jaime Garcia pitched a one-hitter, allowing only Domingo Santana's lined single into right field with two outs in the sixth inning, as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-0 Thursday.

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MILWAUKEE - Jimmy Nelson struck out nine in six innings, and the Milwaukee Brewers took advantage of early wildness by Houston ace Dallas Keuchel in a 3-2 win over the Astros on Sunday.

The AL Cy Young Award winner walked four in the first inning and gave up a two-run single to Aaron Hill. Keuchel (1-1) left with two outs in the sixth with a career high-tying six walks, including an intentional pass to Ryan Braun in the fourth.

Domingo Santana added an RBI double in the fourth for rebuilding Milwaukee, which took two of three in the interleague series against the AL West contenders.

Nelson (1-1) settled down after allowing a leadoff homer to deep left to Jose Altuve on the game's first pitch. Jeremy Jeffress pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.

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