Hodag football heads into playoffs with win over Oredockers
Friday night was the last regular season football game and the Hodags’ hopes of sharing the title with Mosinee were dashed when Antigo had to forfeit the game to Mosinee due to COVID close contact.
Rhinelander made the long trip to Ashland to take on the Oredockers who needed a win to have any chance of making the playoffs. The Hodags were hoping a win would give them a home game in the playoffs only having one loss. Rhinelander took care of business and defeated Ashland 36-18 but it was not enough as they were given a 5 seed and must travel to Baraboo on Friday for their first game of the playoffs.
The Hodags opened the game against Ashland by receiving the kickoff and then held the ball for 7 minutes and 1 second before scoring the first touchdown. The Hodags second score came with 19 seconds left in the first quarter and would lead 14-0 after the first quarter. In the second quarter Jacksen Smith threw a 53 yard touchdown pass to fellow senior Arik Beske to take a 21-0 lead. With 4:22 left in the second quarter Caden Neri kicked a 35 yard field goal to put the Hodags up 24-0 at the half.
The Oredockers would score three touchdowns and fail to convert the extra point attempts in the second half and the Hodags would put up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter for the 36-18 final. The last extra point attempt was a pass that was intercepted by Jaden Beske. The last touchdown by Ashland was a kickoff return with 2:02 left on the clock. The Hodags recovered the onside kick attempt and ran out the clock. Running back Cayden Neri would rush for 302 yards, Caleb Olcikas added 102 yards on the ground. Quarterback Jacksen Smith passed for 98 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 5 of 7 completions.
Bob Mainhardt Photos.