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a way to keep their feet moving and started making holes,” Wilson said. “The holes started getting a little bit bigger and a little bit bigger and more and more yards started coming. That’s kind of the way it works when you run the ball like we do. Teams are all excited and jacked up when you first face them that they’re going to shut your run down and they have all kinds of guys in the box. But as the night goes, those holes start getting a little bit better and little bit bigger. That’s kind of the grind.”

Grunwald had his biggest night of the season, piling up 167 yards on 22 carries. It was a grind for Medford’s leading rusher on the season, Gardner, but he still gained 86 yards on 20 attempts. Kuhn had some key carries and gained 67 yards on nine attempts.

The Raiders held Rhinelander to 62 rushing yards, but the key was limiting Rhinelander’s damage through the air. The Hodags, and Lamers in particular, thrive on big plays. Tyler Kapitz held their top receiver, Jackson Labs, to two catches for 13 yards. Take away the 71and 36-yard plays and the Hodags’ eight other completions gained a total of 54 yards.

“I was just focused on not letting any big plays happen and just sticking with him,” Kapitz said.

“I thought for the most part, when you have guys there and guys aren’t running completely free that’s important,” Wilson said. “They’re going to catch some every once in a while and that’s OK. As long as you have guys in coverage, they’re close and the other team’s making contested catches on you, I think that’s good. Tyler has proven in the last couple weeks that he looks like probably our best cover guy. He did a great job on (Labs). That was pretty impressive.”

“I thought the defense did amazing,” Surek said. “We stopped them when we needed to. We pushed through no matter how tired we were.”

“Rhinelander’s a great team,” Grunwald said. “They were undefeated in the conference. It felt great to beat them and be conference champs back-to-back. We owe it to our offensive linemen and our defense did a great job, holding them to one touchdown.”

Medford’s season will continue this Friday at 7 p.m. with the start of the WIAA’s two-week playoff. The Raiders landed in Division 2 and, as a oneseed, were placed in a tough, four-team bracket that includes second-seeded New Richmond, third-seeded Ashland and fourth-seeded Rice Lake.

That means Medford and Rice Lake will meet for the second time in three weeks, this time at Raider Field. The Warriors are 2-5 but riding a lot of momentum after beating Medford 27-6 and Wausau West 26-23 in successive weeks.

“They’re tough,” Wilson said. “We’ll look at the film and see what we can try to improve upon and try to put our best foot forward here at home.”

Friday’s winners in the bracket will play each other on Thursday, Nov. 19.