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.
ST. GERMAIN - A school bus doesn't feature a lot of amenities. Seats, windows, and that's about it. But a company out of St. Germain thinks buses, and other big vehicles, make the perfect kitchens.
Caged Crow Fabrication is owned by Josh Romaker. He moved to the Northwoods about three years ago. Around the same time a woman in Madison approached him to help refurbish an old camper. He decided to make it into a food truck instead.
"We took on the challenge and that first build was featured on US Today and some magazines and our phone just started ringing. We've got them in Denver, Salt Lake City, New Jersey," said Romaker.
That was just the beginning for Romaker's company, Caged Crow Fabrication in St. Germain. They now specialize in food trucks of all kinds.
"If a customer wants a food truck that looks like a barn or a steam train or a school bus conversion, we really stick to the unique food truck builds," said Romaker.
The 1982 bus that Caged Crow Fabrication is working on now will be complete in a little over a month. The team made up of just a few workers has one rule- they never build the same thing twice. And they take their time.
"We have a sign on the wall here that says 'quality over quantity'. I think our reputation right now is really based on the attention to detail and I think we want to keep that up," said Romaker.
If you're interested in checking out more work from Caged Crow Fabrication, follow the link below.
WASHINGTON - UPDATE: 3-24-17, 4:00pm: Ryan bemoans collapse of health care bill:
Speaker Paul Ryan says the collapse of the House Republican health care bill means former President Barack Obama's health care law will be around for the foreseeable future.
The Wisconsin Republican addressed reporters minutes after GOP leaders abruptly shelved the legislation, averted likely defeat for the bill. But it still dealt a damaging setback to President Donald Trump, Ryan and an entire party that has long said it wants to annul Obama's statute.
MARATHON COUNTY - The suspect in a Wisconsin shooting spree that left four people dead has been identified, and court records show one of the victims was his wife's divorce lawyer.
A person close to the investigation identified the suspect Friday as 45-year old Nengmy Vang. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to speak ahead of authorities officially identifying Vang.
WAUSAU AREA - Organizations in the greater Wausau area set up funds remembering and honoring the victims of Wednesday's shootings.
A Marathon Savings Bank fund will support the families of the two bank employees shot. Dianne Look had worked at Marathon Savings Bank for almost 19 years, and Karen Barclay had been there for more than six years.
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