Antigo football sets goal of taking back the conference titleSubmitted: 08/19/2019

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ANTIGO - Antigo football's Facebook cover photo shows the team holding up their five goals for the 2019 season.

"We had them talk it over and make sure as a team they figured out what they want to accomplish," head coach Tom Schofield said.

The first of those goals is simple: take back the Great Northern Conference.

"I guess we always want to prove ourselves and last year wasn't a good run," senior fullback Noah Musolff said.

Antigo's particularly focused on Rhinelander, and winning the annual Bell Game for the 13th straight time is priority number two.

"Just knowing that we've had the bell for so long, I mean, it gives us a little more reason to keep it here because it would be a shame to lose the streak," senior quarterback Nevin Cornelius said.

Goal number three involves defending their home of Schofield Stadium.

"It's the biggest atmosphere you could have," Schofield said. "Playing for not only their parents, but their student body, their community, they're really playing for everyone in that stadium."

To win those home games, the Robins will need a lot of big plays, which is why goal number four is to lead the conference in yards.

"Our plan is to just do all of our assignments and just get positive yards every play," Cornelius said.

More than anything else, the Robins have their eyes set on the playoffs.

"I'm pretty confident," Musolff said. "We've got a pretty talented team. They know what to expect."

The Robins start their season with two tough games: first on the road at Amherst and then home against reigning state runner-up Stratford.

Story By: Andrew Goldstein

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WAUSAU - Nail a trick and a skater is safe for a round.

If a skater misses a trick, they're one step closer to elimination

"It's pretty rough," skater Anthony Olsen said. "Everyone is really good in this city here."

That's life at the skateboarding event in the Badger State Games.

"Some of these tricks, some of these people can never master," Central Board Shop owner Jon Kurth said. "Some of them have been skating for most of their lives."

Although the games sound important, they look and feel like a casual ride at the skate park.

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KENNAN - You don't need snow to sled.

In fact, dryland dog sledding races happen all around Wisconsin.

There's even a national dryland sled team, which includes a human dog duo from Price County.

Niina Baum has been dog sled racing for 19 years.  Her passion for the sport landed her a spot on Team USA for the Dryland World Championship race in Sweden this October.

"I've been planning this for about six years now with that goal in mind and then I got Molly three years ago so then we really started to put that goal into action and now it's happened," Baum said.

Niina and her racy Greyhound/Pointer cross Molly have been training for the championship all summer in her home town of Keenan, Wisconsin.

"I have been running myself a lot, getting myself in really good shape and getting myself as light as possible so she doesn't have much weight to pull," Baum said. "With her we have been doing lots of exercises and running, she even runs on the treadmill."

Niina said the second she got Molly she knew she found the perfect race partner and a best friend.

"We work great together. When we are running the communication is easy, she knows what to do. When I start to lean one way she knows we are going to turn that way," Baum said.

The duo will compete in the one-dog scooter class where Molly will pull Niina on a scooter with large tires where the human kicks constantly usually reaching 20 miles per hour.

"I really want to see how my dog and I can do on the international level. We know we are good over here in the U.S. but there is a lot of really tough competition in Europe," Baum said.

Team USA will be facing 22 other countries at the world championship. Niina said she can't wait to embrace the challenging opportunity.

"I want to do the best I can over there but I still want to have fun and show this just isn't competition, we love doing it," Baum said.

The championship race is in Nybro, Sweden on October 23-27.

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MINOCQUA - The dragon boat festival returned to Minocqua with a new sense of purpose: to try and complete a project started at last year's races.

The Howard Young Foundation uses the dragon boat festival to raise money for a new tick-borne illness center.

Minocqua's dragon boat races serve as one of the biggest fundraisers for Howard Young.

The 21 teams who signed up this year raised more than $10,000 in registration fees alone.

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TOMAHAWK - Friday night football will officially be underway a week from today.

Many teams have spent the off-season in the weight room and sharpening their play books.

But a few had to transition into new leadership, including Tomahawk.

"Feeling good, optimistic, looking new, new coach and new ideas," said senior quarterback Cody Jablonski.

The Hatchet football team welcomed a new head coach in the off-season.But Sam Hernandez wasn't interested in re-branding the program. 

"I view this as building on the traditions that coach Larson and his staff, a lot of which are still with us and building on that and just adding my own flare to it," Hernandez said. 

Hernandez is a strong believer in hard smash mouth football, which is a common run attack in the competitive Marawood conference. Senior quarterback Cody Jablonski says he's confident in those schemes.

"Our running backs, myself our receivers and our line, we are really picking up on it. There's a lot more motion moving back and forth and a lot more thinking," Jablonski said. 

Numbers aren't as high as Hernandez wants them to be but has put all his faith in his six seniors to help 
lead the team.

"You can tell that they are hungry they want to build on success. Last year they were right outside the edge of the playoffs and I think there's that hunger in their eyes," Hernandez said.

Hernandez is challenging his players to prove it, first.

"It's almost like proving myself and what I can do on the field and off the field and not proving it to everyone else by myself," said senior running back Cody Scholz. 

"Give it all, give everything, 100% and make sure all the guys are giving 110%. I will give them all I got and see if they give it all back to me," Jablonski said.

The players hope proving what matters most will turn into a playoff appearance.

"Nothing is given and if we can buy into that day in and day out we are going to have a good football season," Hernandez said.

This will be the last season Tomahawk will play in the Marawood conference. The Hatchets will make their way to Greenwood for their first game next Friday. 

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GREEN BAY - Jordy Nelson signed a one-day contract with the Packers on Tuesday and announced his retirement after 11 seasons, 10 of which he spent in Green Bay.

"I'll be remembered as a Packer," the 34-year-old wide receiver said. "Obviously I enjoyed my year last year in Oakland. But this is where I started and it's great to come back and end it that way."

Nelson was known for his speed, size and chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was the starter for Nelson's entire tenure in Green Bay. Rodgers' face lit up as he spoke about his former teammate, who shook hands with both Packers and Texans players following the teams' joint practice.

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GREEN BAY, WIS. (AP) - Veteran wide receiver Jordy Nelson is retiring as a member of the Green Bay Packers.

The 34-year-old Nelson played in Green Bay from 2008-2017, winning a Super Bowl with the Packers, before spending last season with the Oakland Raiders.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said Sunday that Nelson had informed the team of his decision. A news conference was planned for Tuesday.

Nelson had 550 receptions and 69 touchdown catches in his 10 seasons in Green Bay. He made the Pro Bowl in 2014, missed the 2015 season with a knee injury and was named the 2016 Comeback Player of the Year.

The Packers selected Nelson in the second round (36th overall) of the 2008 draft out of Kansas State. He played in 136 regular-season games, including 88 starts, for Green Bay.

Nelson led the Packers with nine receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown in Green Bay's 31-25 Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011.

He played in 15 games for Oakland last year, finishing with 63 receptions for 739 yards and three TDs.

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GREEN BAY - Bringing in new head coach Matt LaFleur made a lot of people excited about the Packers offense.

But in the offseason the Packers focused on bolstering Mike Pettines defense by adding five new weapons

For the first time in almost a decade the Packers just might have a defense that can support its offense.

"There are a lot of guys in this room that have a lot of talent and a lot with lots of experience too. I think not being one of the older guys is incumbent enough for us to help them catch up on defense and point things out we've seen over the past few years to help everyone be on the same page," said defensive end Dean Lowry. 

The Packers lined up Dean Lowry, Kenny Clark and Montravius Adams on the d-line at camp.

General Manager Brian Gutekunst decided to release Mike Daniels, leaving cap space to really cash in on Lowry and Clark's veteran talent.

"We've really grown together as football players, for him to still be a part of it and for them trying to keep us together, it's pretty cool," said defensive lineman Kenny Clark.

The secondary is pretty solid too, headlining a young group with second year cornerback Jaire Alexander and new addition safety Adrian Amos.

"Football is about competition and just getting after it. We went back and forth, talking and bringing energy is always great for camp," Amos said.

Riding into his fourth year, linebacker Blake Martinez knows his leadership will help put all the pieces together.

"For me, I hold my hat high on being able to communicate and get guys lined up and make sure they are in the right mindset pre-snap and there's no questions when it's time to play," Martinez said.

Gutekunst said building up the defense means the team won't have to solely rely on Aaron Rodgers to make the magic happen.

Even QB1 notices the stronger presence on the other side of the ball.

"I think Blake is very comfortable as kind of the quarterback of the defense. We've brought in a lot of maturity in that group, with keeping Tramon around, Adrian Amos and the Smiths. It's just a different feel on that side of the ball and little more juice," Rodgers said.

Two crucial players in Pettine's schemes have not participated in the first two days of training camp.

Second-year corner Josh Jackson and rookie safety Darnell Savage Jr. are both on the non-football injury list. LaFleur said neither injury is long term.

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GREEN BAY - Bart Starr, the gentlemanly quarterback and catalyst of Vince Lombardi's powerhouse Green Bay Packers teams of the 1960s whose sneak won the famed "Ice Bowl" in 1967, died Sunday. He was 85.

The Packers selected Starr out of the University of Alabama with the 200th pick in the 1956 draft. He led Green Bay to six division titles, five NFL championships and wins in the first two Super Bowls.

The Packers said Starr died in Birmingham, Alabama, where he lived. He had been in failing health since suffering two strokes and a heart attack in 2014.

"A champion on and off the field, Bart epitomized class and was beloved by generations of Packers fans," Packers President Mark Murphy said in a statement. "A clutch player who led his team to five NFL titles, Bart could still fill Lambeau Field with electricity decades later during his many visits."

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