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Antigo keeps grinding, and winning, with its ground gameSubmitted: 08/22/2017

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ANTIGO - Antigo and football tradition go hand in hand. The Red Robins are a yearly contender to win the Great Northern Conference and make noise in the playoffs. They also stick to one particular style of play.

"It's pretty much our philosophy is always run first, pass second," said senior Adam Schmidt.


Running the football is as much a part of the Red Robins as their winged helmets, and it has been for a long time. So when Tom Schofield became head coach a few years ago, he knew he wanted an extra emphasis on the style of years past.

"I wanted to get back to more tradition of my grandpa's style football of run first," said Schofield.

Just like the teams led by his grandfather Gordy, Schofield's modern-day Red Robins play a style they enjoy--especially the offensive linemen who get to run block.

"Taking guys on while you're running, it's awesome. It's a lot better than just standing there," said senior Michael Zabrowski.

Another reason to enjoy the aggressive running style is simple: it works. Antigo is coming off back-to-back seasons with five conference wins despite finishing last in passing both years.

"When you pass the ball, my dad always says three things can go wrong," said Schofield. "You can get sacked, have an incomplete pass, or can have an interception."

Last year was perhaps Antigo's greatest example of a determination to run the ball. Despite a 5-1 GNC record, the Red Robins completed just five passes in six conference games.

"We did try throwing the ball last year," Schofield said. "We just mishit a few times."

Despite so much success on the ground and little through the air, the Red Robins players are quick to ask Schofield about trying a pass play.

"I give them their shots in practice the most, and if they complete it, I say, 'All right. We'll give it a try," said Schofield.

While Antigo won't suddenly start running a spread offense, the coaches do hope to be more unpredictable. They know their players won't complain about that.

"I'm always up for a good pass play," said Zabrowski. "I'm never going to sit one out. [When it works], it looks awesome too, it just does."

Antigo defeated Berlin 20-14 last Friday to open the season. The Red Robins are back on the field this Friday at home against Stratford.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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MOSINEE - At first glance most volleyballs look generally the same. They're the same shape, same size, and similar colors. There's a tradition in Mosinee, however, that adds a little pop to both the volleyballs and the program.

"I just love this tradition," said head coach Justin Jacobs. "I feel like it's unique to us and something we can be proud of."

It's a tradition that pre-dates the sixth-year head coach, and it's just as much a part of Mosinee volleyball as the colors of the jerseys.

"I think it's very unique because not many other schools do it," said junior Allison Miller.

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CRANDON - Some people call it a NASCAR race on water with a crash on every lap. It's party on the shore, and intense competition on the lake. It's really fast, and really bumpy.

"The only way to explain it is, it's like tons of speed bumps, one after another, and you go over it with your car," said 2017 Footstock Open Division Champion Keith St. Onge.

The goal is simple: go over those speed bumps and hold on longer than the competitor next to you. But that's a lot easier said than done.

"Your legs are getting burned out, feet can get burned out, forearms and your grip on the handles can get burned out, the whole thing," said St. Onge.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - Tucked away at a small recreation area near Gleason, mountain bikers push themselves to the physical and mental limits every summer.

Earlier today, over 100 riders rode their mountain bikes through 100 miles of trails for the annual Thunderdown in the Underdown.

The 33-mile loop of the Thunderdown in the Underdown is pretty unique.

"Probably the most technical course that I've ridden, outside of going out west to Colorado or some of the stuff up in Canada," said one of the riders, Justin Lund from Tomahawk.

On that 33-mile loop, mountain bikers will see plenty of different land marks.

"Four lakes, climb 64 hills, they're going to go by the Manthei Marsh and pass the Prairie Dells," said race organizer and rider, Chris Schotz.

Simply put, the Underdown Recreation Area in Lincoln County is unlike anything else in the state.

"There are some things here that they won't see anywhere else," said Schotz.

Riders have the choice of doing the loop once, twice, or the few bold ones that do it three times, for a total of 100 miles.

"Make sure you're drinking enough out there, make sure you're getting enough calories coming in because that will get you into trouble before your technical riding ability does," said Lund.

The event has been a part of the Wisconsin Endurance Mountain Bike Series for about 12 years. And it's come a long way since it started with a much shorter trail.

"Probably 10-12 miles, nothing very big, but very, very challenging and that hasn't changed over the years," said Lund.

Another thing that hasn't changed over the years is the respect the riders gain for each other after 10 hours, sometimes more, of riding.

"Whether you're competitive or just here to have a good time, you definitely respect each other out there," said Lund.

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HARSHAW - The Rhinelander scholarship golf scramble held its seventh annual outing at the Pinewood Country Club on Saturday. The event is put on by members of the RHS Class of 1980, and has raised $22,000 dollars since 2011. Outing coordinator Dave Robinson says it's all about giving back.

"We can give back to the community that we graduated from, that was the biggest thing, and we kind of said, why didn't we start this years ago?," said Robinson.

The scramble raises money through golf participants and raffle items. Last year's outing was rained out but the raffle and donations still raised $6,000. Robinson says he hopes another class of graduates might get involved going forward.

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Friday Night Blitz - 8/18/17Submitted: 08/18/2017

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NORTHWOODS - Check out Friday Night Blitz for all the scores, highlights, and updates from across the Northwoods

Lakeland topped Hayward 28-27.

Antigo defeated Berlin 20-14.

Superior upended Merrill 20-10.

Abbotsford dominated Crandon 42-6.

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RIB LAKE - Take a look at the video above for the Tri-County vs. Rib Lake/Prentice football highlights!

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PHILLIPS - Phillips boys soccer made it all the way to state last year.

"We knew it was going to be the biggest year of our careers," said senior, Mark Cummings.

Former head coach, Mark Fuhr knew they had the potential to do it again this fall.

"From seeing the teams they played last year, was that they would've been a conference favorite this year with just the returning players and a couple new players," said Fuhr.

The team was happy with the best season in school history, but their minds started thinking about the following year.

"Towards the end of the season, we knew we were going to lose a lot of our seniors," said Cummings.

Ten seniors graduated. And after losing that many and not being able to recruit enough players to fill those gaps, Phillips had to cancel their 2017 season.

"Not being able to play my senior year of soccer, really bummed me out," said Cummings.

But the team didn't give up easily.

"We tried to recruit some players to fill in those positions to make up and 11-man team," said Cummings.

But that recruiting wasn't enough. Fuhr has coached the youth and high school teams off and on for nearly 20 years. Struggling with numbers is nothing new to him.

"One of the years, I remember we had 12 kids on the team and one of the kids broke him leg in the first game and I only had 11 the rest of the season," said Fuhr.

Phillips tried to consider forming a co-op with Prentice or Chequamegon, but they don't have a team either.

"To me, it is sad. It's something that if it goes away for more than a year or two, I doubt it'll ever come back," said Fuhr.

Mark Cummings and some of the other former soccer players decided to run cross country to still support the other teams and stay in shape for track season.

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CRANDON - Trap shooting can take place basically anywhere, anytime. You just need some equipment. But for Crandon's high school team, it happens where most people don't know about it - at the historic off-road raceway.

On Saturday, the team held it's annual fund raiser to raise money for their team. This will be senior Kobe Gallion's last season, and he's enjoyed having a non-traditional high school sport as an outlet.

"The competition can get really fierce really fast. The top shooter could shoot a 25, perfect score and then next week could shoot a 5 and then the little kids can start beating us up a little bit," said Gallion.

Those little kids are the 7th and 8th graders that are on the team. All of them know their season wouldn't be possible without the Crandon Off-Road Raceway being a major sponsor. And that community support goes a long way.

"The community really shows a lot of support for what we're trying to do and trying to get the younger kids to come out and shoot. It's nice for even the grandparents that will come out and watch because they can't shoot anymore. And just about that and the community being behind us," said Gallion.

The trap-shooting season is from March until May. The Crandon team had 42 students last year and hopes to keep growing this season.

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ANTIGO - Riding a horse seems pretty easy. But riding a horse against a clock and with obstacles in your way becomes a competitive challenge. Dozens of kids were able to compete in barrel racing earlier today at Antigo's first Triple Crown Event.

Barrell racing doesn't take very long.

"It depends on how big the pattern is but on my last run, I had an 18. So about 18 seconds," said Payten Lese.

And those 18 seconds go by even faster when you're on the horse.

"I'm just trying to remind myself of what I need to do. Get off her head, let her run and just to try my hardest while riding," said Erika Spencer.

Spencer has been barrel racing for about five years.

"It has been the most exhilarating experience of my life," said Spencer.

Yes, it's exhilarating, but for some riders, it's also relaxing.

"It's calming, it relieves stress," said Lese.

At the Northwoods Triple Crown, the age bracket on Sunday was the "youth level".

"I'm too old for the tiny-tots which is 10 and under," said Gabby Spencer.

That's 11-year-old, Gabby Spencer, Erika's little sister.

"She helps me a lot and I kind of look up to her because she's a really good barrel racer," said Gabby.

Something that makes Erika so good, is her hard work.

"You work with something for so long and you put so much time and effort into it. When you do good, it's so rewarding," said Erika.

And that reward is also seeing her little sister get better and better at the sport.

"When I go in there, I'm really nervous and then when I get out, I'm like 'hey, that wasn't so bad'," said Gabby.

Gabby recently won her first event down in Madison, which helped boost her confidence around the barrels.

"Most people think 'girls can't do this' or 'they can't beat them because they're too good' and it does feel good when you win and beat them," said Gabby.

Erika and Gabby's family rides on rescue horses which to them, makes the experience even more meaningful. And, all three of those girls are from Antigo and enjoyed having a new event in their hometown.

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RHINELANDER -
High school swim practice usually requires a pool, lane lines, and diving blocks. But not on Saturday for the Rhinelander girls swim team. They decided to take a day to have a more relaxed practice ahead of their first meet next week.

"We feel like it'll really get the girls motivated," said senior Carly Seidl.

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