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Gilman looks to clinch; Raiders and Hawks to take longest road trips of regular seson

Gilman looks to clinch; Raiders and Hawks to take longest road trips of regular seson Gilman looks to clinch; Raiders and Hawks to take longest road trips of regular seson


If 2020’s football season was normal, this weekend would’ve marked the start of the WIAA playoffs.

Instead it features conference games that were initially going to start league slates on Sept. 4 for 11-man football and Sept. 18 for eight-man football, but now they will finish the regular seasons.

_ For the Gilman Pirates, Friday’s home game with New Auburn will conclude their five-game Central Wisconsin West Conference schedule and should be the finishing touch on their first eightman conference championship.

The Pirates are coming off a resounding 44-8 win over McDonell Central this past Friday in what was a highly-anticipated matchup of 3-0 teams. But the Pirates, as they’ve done to all four of their opponents this season, took the wind out of the Macks’ sails early, building a 24-0 lead just 13 minutes in and a 32-0 halftime lead.

Gilman saw New Auburn in its Sept. 18 scrimmage, so it knows what to expect from the Trojans, who have won consecutive games over Bruce (20-14) and Alma Center Lincoln (42-36) to sit at 2-2.

The Pirates may have to do some shuffling after finding out after Friday’s win that junior quarterback/linebacker Julian Krizan injured his left hand. But head coach Robin Rosemeyer is confi dent his team has the flexibility and depth to do so if needed.

New Auburn relies mainly on its running game, but Rosemeyer said, they’ll occasionally offset it with a little trickery. Nick Walker, a 5-10, 190-pound senior, had big games in New Auburn’s wins going for 159 yards on 24 carries against Bruce and 169 yards and three touchdowns at Lincoln last week. Sophomore Braden Johnson is the leading receiver (seven catches for 135 yards) and is averaging 7.4 yards on his 20 rushing attempts. He’s also the team’s leading tackler.

Rosemeyer said the player that jumps out to him on film is offensive and defensive lineman Wyatt Gotham, a 6-foot, 270-pound junior, who is among the team’s top tacklers as well.

“We’re similar in the sense that we’re the only two teams in the conference that really do a lot under center,” Rosemeyer said. “They’re going to do I-formation just like us and be under center a lot. Not an overly fast team, but they’re big and they’ll come right at you.”

_ The 4-0 Medford Raiders, ranked second in the state this week in Division 3, will again be heavily favored, but they also know they’re going to have to buckle their chin straps and be ready for a different kind of football team than they’ve seen in the first four weeks when they visit the 2-2 Ashland Oredockers for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

“I would guess that they’re going to be the most physical team we’ve seen to date,” Medford head coach Ted Wilson said. “They’re much better than they were last year. They’re sitting at 2-2 and one of their games they lost was Week 5 football preview

right away at the beginning of the season. Sometimes that’s one where you just don’t know what you’re going to get in that first game. They played Rhinelander very tough and Rhinelander’s 4-0. Other than a couple mishaps where they turned the ball over, a fumble return, a couple interceptions, I think that game would’ve been even closer.”

Two years ago, Ashland went 6-0 in the GNC and won the conference title behind a group of seniors that took its lumps for a year or two before maturing. This year’s team is somewhat similar.

“If I remember right from last year, they had 13 juniors playing,” Wilson said. “So they’re very senior dominant this year. That’s an important one. That makes you a lot better.”

The Oredockers have long been known for running a wishbone offense, but they do it a little differently out of shotgun formations. Parker Goodreau, a 5-11, 180-pound junior, leads them in rushing so far with 367 yards and five touchdowns. He ran for 155 yards in a 20-14 loss at Merrill on Sept. 25. Carter Brown, a 160-pound senior, has four touchdowns and 224 yards. He had 134 yards on just 12 carries against Hayward. He’s averaging 6.2 yards per carry.

Senior quarterback Jackson Bonneville will throw the ball a little more than your average wishbone signal-caller. He’s completed 18 of 39 passes for 260 yards with four touchdowns and two picks.

Ashland lost the turnover battle Friday in its 26-7 loss at Rhinelander 3-0 and one of the fumbles was returned for a touchdown in a 26-7 loss.

_ Fresh off their first win since 2018 in the long-awaited season opener Friday, the Rib Lake-Prentice Hawks certainly have a shot at going 2-0 when they visit the Webster Tigers at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Webster comes in at 2-2 in Lakeland Conference play. The Tigers got out to a 26-8 halftime lead last week and blew it, giving up 20 third-quarter points, in a 28-26 home loss to Lake Holcombe-Cornell. They’ve pulled out 16-13 and 29-14 wins over Ladysmith and Flambeau, both of whom are 0-3. League-leading Grantsburg blew them out 42-0 in week one.

CJ Abbas is averaging just under 100 yards rushing per game. Auston Sigfrids has already thrown 87 passes, completing 31 for 429 yards and three touchdowns. He’s been intercepted six times however, including twice last week.

Timothy Fornengo, a 6-foot, 240-pound senior linebacker, averages over 10 tackles a game. Webster’s been fairly stout against the run, allowing 148 yards per game.

“They’ve been in close games,” Hawks co-head coach Jonah Campbell said. “They beat Ladysmith 16-13. They’ve been on losing end of close games and on the winning end. I think it’s just going to be a pretty evenly matched, similar type dogfight as our game against Ladysmith.”