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Northland Pines Football Making the Most of Long Travel DaysSubmitted: 08/30/2016
EAGLE RIVER - It's no secret that athletic teams in the Northwoods travel great distances to find opponents.

One of those teams is Northland Pines, which plays its football games in the Western Peninsula Athletic Conference.

And for some players, bus rides to the Upper Peninsula took some getting used to.

"I didn't really like it at first, because when we were in the 8th grade, we'd play Rhinelander and Crandon or somebody close by so it wouldn't be much of a drive," said Northland Pines Junior Nick Cato.


This year, the Eagles will spend at least 14 hours on a bus traveling to and from their road games, but some members of the team spin that into a positive.

"I like to think of it as an advantage to have a longer bus ride, because it gives you more time to focus in on the game," said Northland Pines Junior Cody Jantzen. "Whereas if you go from here to Lakeland, it's not far so you don't get as much time to prepare I don't think."

Players do their best to stay relaxed during the long rides, but they make sure to concentrate when the time is right.

"Once we get about 45 minutes away, coach stands up, lets us know it's time to get serious," said Cato.

Although players say they use the last 45 minutes of each ride to focus, perhaps the biggest challenge remains how their legs react when they finally get off the bus before a game.

"You have to adapt to different situations, it's hard to get off a bus after two and a half hours and come out and perform," said Northland Pines Head Football Coach Matt Weberpal.

But it's more than just a physical performance. Team captains say in order to keep the team mentally sharp, they have to lead the way.

"We just try to lead by example, so if we're focused, the underclassmen are going to be focused. Or if we are too rambunctious, the underclassmen are going to follow our leadm," said Jantzen.

But even those captains will admit that it's nice playing games on their home turf.

"Believe it or not, it actually is. I wasn't too happy that we played in Calumet this year, but it is what it is, and next year we'll be here though," said Cato.

The Eagles won't catch a break this week as they head to Waupaca to play the Horicon Marshmen on Thursday.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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 LOCAL SPORTS

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The event is held at Peshtigo Lake in Crandon.

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Easton Phalin fired a first half touchdown pass to Jackson List in the first half for the Hatchets. They'd go on to win 40-6.

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ANTIGO - Antigo took down Oconto 30-8 Friday night behind a strong game from quarterback Matt Winter.

Winter tossed a touchdown pass to Adam Schmidt in the third quarter that extended the Red Robins lead to 24. They cruised the rest of the way from there to move to 1-1 on the season.

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MERRILL - Merrill hosted River Falls in the first game at the Blue Jays new stadium. It turned into a shootout in the first half as the Wildcats of River Falls took a 21-14 lead on an impressive touchdown throw and catch from quarterback Joey Davis to wide receiver Matt Wachtler.

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 REGIONAL SPORTS

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

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Green Bay is using some new drills too.

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

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"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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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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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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