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Featured Athlete of the Week: Jonus SabaniSubmitted: 10/23/2017

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RHINELANDER - Just 16 teams remain in the Division Three state soccer tournament. Rhinelander is one of those teams; led by the top scorer in the conference.

"I think we can go all the way to state but really need to be mentally focused," said junior Jonus Sabani.
The Hodags can accomplish that if they can win two more games. Thanks in large part to Sabani's offensive play.

"It's absolutely amazing just to be able to watch him play," said senior Alec Lowry.

Sabani led the Great Northern Conference with 18 goals and tallied three more in Rhinelander's two playoff games last week. All of that scoring draws the attention of defenders, which helps all of his teammates.


"His skill inherently sucks multiple players on the [other] team to him, which opens up opportunities for the rest of the team," said Lowry.

That's helped nine other Hodags score this year. It's something Sabani says comes from familiarity.

"We've always had that chemistry together," said Sabani. "We built it since we were young, so right now playing, and I think it's great that we have that together."

The Hodags used that chemistry to defeat Clintonville 2-1 on Saturday to win a regional championship. Now they turn their attention to the biggest test yet in the sectional semifinal.

"A large part of it is not getting psyched out and scared by all the pressure. The rules haven't changed you're still playing with your friends," said Lowry.

One thing that will help is knowing Sabani is on their side.

"I can, with absolute confidence, pass him a ball and know that he will deliver and that's a huge relief on the team," said Lowry.

The Hodags will host Amherst in a sectional semifinal on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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 LOCAL SPORTS

GREEN BAY - GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Drew Brees threw for a touchdown and ran for another, Mark Ingram rushed for a score and the New Orleans Saints overcame several mistakes to beat the Green Bay Packers 26-17 on Sunday.

Will Lutz kicked two second-half field goals, including a 44-yarder to put New Orleans up for good 19-17 with 10:26 left in the game. Brees' 1-yard sneak gave the Saints a two-score lead with 4:55 left.

The sloppy Saints were fortunate to get their fourth straight victory. The Packers lost their first game with Brett Hundley starting at quarterback for injured star Aaron Rodgers.

New Orleans' defense gave up a 46-yard touchdown run to rookie Aaron Jones on the opening drive. Brees was picked off twice in the first quarter. Lutz had a blocked extra point and New Orleans (4-2) was penalized seven times for 80 yards.

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander got an early goal from Matthew Von Oepen to take a 1-0 lead. Then Jonus Sabani added one in the 27th minute to help the Hodags win the WIAA Division 3 regional final.

Rhinelander outshot Clintonville 38-10 in the win.

Also, see some area scores from around the Northwoods.

And Three Lakes volleyball welcomed Gresham for the regional matchup. Check out the highlights from the five-set thriller.

Merrill and Florence also advanced to the sectional round.

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KANSAS - Some big news officially came out on Friday for Eagle River Native, Natalie Decker. She resigned with Venturini Motorsports for the full 2018 ARCA Racing Series schedule.

Decker was with Venturini Motorsports for six races this year and had two top-ten finishes.

It's also good news for the Derby Track in Eagle River, because Decker has been advertising her family's track on her car in a few races.

For more on the signing, follow the link below.

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Friday Night Blitz: 10/20/17Submitted: 10/20/2017

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NORTHWOODS - Antigo moves on to Level Two with a dominant 48-8 win over Medford.

Crandon's season comes to a close with a 35-7 loss to Auburndale.

Laona-Wabeno comes up short in a 19-6 loss to Crivitz.

Here's a look at all the scores from around the area.

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NORTHWOODS - WIAA SOCCER PLAYOFFS:
Antigo: 0 Green Bay Southwest: 8
Merrill: 0 Wausau East: 7
Medford: 0 Rhinelander: 4
Mosinee: 0 Clintonville: 1
Lakeland: 4 New London: 5
Three Lakes: 0 Cumberland: 2
Washburn Co-op: 1 Northland Pines: 5
Phelps: 0 Barron: 9

WIAA VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFFS:
Northland Pines: 0 Merrill: 3
Medford: 3 Antigo: 0
Marathon: 0 Athens: 3
New Richmond: 0 D.C. Everest: 3
Wausaukee: 3 Elcho: 2
Bowler: 1 Florence: 3
Chequamegon: 0 Grantsburg: 3
Butternut: 0 Mercer: 3
La Cross Logan: 0 Mosinee: 3
Clear Lake: 3 Phllips: 0
Prentice: 0 Rib Lake: 3
Gillett: 0 Three Lakes: 3
Bonduel: 1 Witt-Birn: 3

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MERRILL - The Merrill Bluejays got the top seed after winning the Wisconsin Valley Conference. They kept those winning ways going on Thursday night as they took down #4 Northland Pines 3-0.

Next up for Merrill is #3 Medford at 7:00 P.M. on Saturday night.

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RHINELANDER - #1 Rhinelander hosted #8 Medford Thursday night for a regional semi-final matchup.

Rhinelander's Jonus Sabani scored twice and Matthew VonOepen and Richie Triplett both scored once in the first 20 minutes to make it 4-0, Hodags.

That would be the final score on Thursday night.

Rhinelander will host #4 Clitonville on Saturday at 3:30 P.M.

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MOSINEE - Sometimes sports can mean more than just a touchdown or a three pointer. Sometimes, it can mean a memory that will last a lifetime. 

For the Mosinee football manager, he experienced one of those moments last Friday night.

"When I became football manager I thought, hey, I can practice that and sure enough, I was able to nail a couple of kicks," said senior, Dylan Hill.

In Friday nights game against Wausau East, Dylan was able to nail a kick outside of practice.

"I felt happy and anxious," said Hill.

Hill is a senior student manager who's been with the team all season.

"He makes us better, honestly," said senior Jose Mohr.

Hill has done more than make the team better on the field. He's shown them how to give back to a good friend.

"That's one of the moments that we're looking to create and that's a memory our guys will never forget," said head coach, Craig Martens.

Letting Dylan go into the game to make the kick was the team's idea. They had been telling Dylan to get ready for weeks.

"We told him we would get him in one of these times in a game and he said 'yeah, right' and we ended up getting him," said Mohr.

Mosinee beat Wausau East 42-17 last Friday and will play Onalaska on Friday, October 20th for the first round of playoffs.

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NORTHWOODS - Antigo swept Lakeland 3-0 to move on to the next round of the Division Two volleyball playoffs.

Here's a full listing of scores from Tuesday night.

WIAA VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFF SCORES
DIVISION 2
Rhinelander: 0 Northland Pines: 3
Tomahawk: 0 Medford: 3
Lakeland Union: 0 Antigo: 3
DIVISION 3
Chequamegon: 3 Cumberland: 0

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MINOCQUA - Last December, Tyler Carroll thought his high school football career might be over. But he refused to let that happen and recently capped off a fantastic senior season.

"He's just an incredible athlete, it doesn't matter where you put him, he's going to attempt to make plays and he makes a lot of plays," said Lakeland Union's Head Coach Dan Barutha.

All season long, that's exactly what Carroll did, no matter what position he had to play.

"I just tried to do whatever was best for the team, whether that's put me at receiver, quarterback or running back for the rest of the year, I just did whatever I could for the team," said Carroll.

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