The Prescott High School Football Team is hoping to use its contest against Rhinelander this evening at Mike Webster Field in Rhinelander to snap a losing streak just as it did last season.
The win by the Cardinals over the Hodags at Laney Field in Prescott in last season's opener snapped an 11-game skid by the Cards, including an 0-9 mark in 2016. The Cards topped the Hodags in head head coach Kevin Haglund's very first game as head coach and won their next three ballgames as well.
However, PHS lost its next five games in a row, a streak the team is looking forward to breaking tonight.
"There's a confidence which is built from taking a lot of reps in practice and minutes played in the ballgames over the past few season but also feeling and knowing you're doing things right and can accomplish what you set out to do," Haglund said. "After the first three weeks of practice and our scrimmage last week in Osceola and all the time some of our players have put in over the past three seasons, our players have that confidence."
To beat the Hodags, the Cardinal will have to contain Rhinelander's spread, read-option offense led by returning running back Drake Martin. The 6-0, 215-pound junior rushed for over 1,100 yards last season. Rhinelander finished 3-6 overall, 2-4 in the Great Northern Conference in 2017 but won their final game of the regular season against Lakeland 49-34.
Haglund thinks turnovers will be crucial to the outcome of tonight's game, particularly an early-season contest.
"We have to control the football. We can't give them any freebies and we have to take it away from them," Haglund said recently in a radio interview on KDWA AM 1460/FM 97.7. "As I tell the kids, and they may think I'm being sarcastic, but it's simple, they don't have the ball they can't score and when we have it we have the chance to score."
While Rhinelander will be breaking in a new quarterback, Prescott returns starter Jonah Anderson along with All-MBC tight end and fellow senior Carson Stenroos and senior running back Ethan Luksich. Junior Joe Schulte, whose rushing yards helped the Cards' beat Rhinelander last season, will be on the line this season and play tight end as well on offense. Most if not all of Prescott's starters and returning players will play offense and defense.