EAGLE RIVER - A handful of Northwoods football teams could use a scrimmage in Eagle River Friday to gauge their preseason progress.
"You're not worried about getting hurt or whatever," says Phillips Loggers Co-Head Coach Steve Procour. "It's a nice change of pace."
Scrimmages can help players get a feel for the season ahead. Teams from Northland Pines, Rhinelander, Phillips and Crandon finally could compete against someone else.
"It's really important to get out here and practice against the other teams," says Procour. "We spent two weeks beating up on each other, and we finally got a chance to take it against somebody else."
Coaches say the scrimmage couldn't be more helpful with the start of the regular season only a week away.
"Scrimmage is exactly what it is: it's a way to get better, and understanding what you need to work on," says Northland Pines Head Coach Eric Swanson. "Everything looks good on air or in practice, but playing against some fresh competition, it does give us a good chance to look at that."
More importantly, the scrimmage also helps teams get into their regular season mindset.
"With our practices we had early whistles, so we had a little more of a late whistle so people are getting tackled, getting used to going down to the ground and finishing off plays, both tackling and with our guys who have the ball on offense," says Rhinelander Head Coach Chris Ferge.
None of these teams that participated Friday play in the same conference, but coaches say that's actually a good thing.
"I would say [it's] an advantage," says Ferge. "I don't want to play anybody in my conference until I play them. If got a chance to see someone in a scrimmage, it's like playing them twice."
"For scrimmage, I think it's an advantage," says Procour. "We don't go show what we do. Somebody else has to game plan for what we do and our schemes."
"I think a scrimmage against any team is a good experience," says Swanson. "We get a chance to look at our keys and look at our assignments against two different offenses, quite frankly, and so competition-wise, it really don't matter what competition it is, so long as we play right."
Rhinelander, Northland Pines, and Crandon all open their seasons Friday, August 22nd, while Phillips kicks off their season Thursday, August 21st.
WISCONSIN - Mud, debris, and damaged property still cover parts of Northern Iron County after a storm ripped through there more than two weeks ago.
The lack of money to repair certain areas is largely keeping the rebuilding process from getting started.
That's why the Federal Emergency Management Agency came to Iron County Tuesday.
It surveyed the damage because of its severity and the extreme costs to fix.
"Really if it's beyond the scope of local jurisdiction, and even the states that respond," said FEMA External Affairs Officer Troy Christensen.
Wisconsin Emergency Management currently believes the damage caused by the mid-July storm is around $38 million across 10 counties and Bad River Reservation. Around $15 million of that happened in Iron County.
FEMA relies on local government like the ones in Iron County to help it assess damage.
"They have sights selected so they will be showing us a lot of these sights." Said Christensen.
Those sights included multiple towns, Saxon Harbor, and crumbled highways.
This week Iron County gave its damage estimates to FEMA.
RHINELANDER - Building a robot may seem like a pretty lofty summer camp goal, but teens in the Northwoods love the technological challenge.
It's all part of a summer camp that's heavy on science and social interaction.
13-year-old Sean Timm says the eight day robotics camp at Nicolet College mixed the best of both worlds.
"I like technology a lot more than I do outside stuff," Timm said. "It's kind of nice to have technology like drones to bring me outside. It's really fun."
Camp Instructor, Mike Wojtusik has many years of experience as a technology education teacher and robotics advisor. He wants kids to see the importance in learning these skills.
"The kids are getting experience from a mechanical engineering side, electrical engineering side, design, prototyping," said Wojtusik. "We try and cover as much as we can about the whole entire system."
Learning about robotics isn't the only thing these students do. Some of them are also exercising skills they'll need in the future.
"I think it's a great experience for them to understand what really goes on in the real world as far as a career," Wojtusik said.
Certain careers that often require teamwork.
"Challenging part is working with a team because you don't always agree on the same thing," said 12-year-old Louis Malais. "When you build a robot you do the most teamwork than I think in any other job."
As their final project, students design and build their own version of a remote control robot.
They are required to work in teams to sketch a vision, make prototypes and design a working model with aluminum.
"It's not just you know operating a piece of machinery, it's learning how that machinery is put together," Wojtusik said.
Students are piecing together machines and building future careers at the same time.
"If I were to get an opportunity to do something like this in the future, I would definitely take it," Timm said.
Throughout the course of the camp, students were exposed to prototyping, brainstorming, modeling, safety and sketching.
The last day of the robotics camp is scheduled to be Thursday, July 28.
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