Antigo Football Practice Kicks OffSubmitted: 08/05/2014

Jeanine Ilacqua
Morning Anchor / Reporter

ANTIGO - You could see high school football players practicing across the Northwoods today. Some fans consider the Antigo Red Robins a traditional powerhouse. But this year only 30 kids are out for the sport.

"The kids are good. The coaches are good about getting things in. And, now we're on the field, obviously, you see them practicing. They're doing a heck of a job this year," said Antigo High School Athletic Director Matt Meronk.

Today was the first official practice of the season for the Antigo Red Robins.

"Just install and getting the basics down. This is our foundation for the rest of the season," said Red Robins Head Coach Matt Weberpal.

Antigo athletes hit the gym long before they strap on the pads.

"The weight training that those kids did throughout the off season now they are out with the football. You actually get to see them grow as young men, young individuals. And, it all transpires here from the summer to the fall," says Meronk.

Only 30 kids turned out for football this year. Antigo decided to combine their JV and Varsity teams.

"We are a little bit down but like I always say, quality over quantity," said Weberpal.

Coaches say the team's spirit is great for the upcoming season. The group is working to stay competitive in the Great Northern Conference.

"Some years you get a grade or two that just doesn't have the football athletes in it," said Meronk.

Numbers won't be on the Red Robins mind as they charge onto the field.

"I think it will be a great season. Antigo will have a great team this year. We are going to have fun and compete," says Meronk.

The first game of the season will be August 22. Weberpal says they'll treat the first game like any other. The first game will be against long-time rivals, the Rhinelander Hodags.

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