Robins falter in red zone, drop season opener to Raiders
By Craig Marx, Editor
Taking its season-opening game all the way to the last play of overtime, the Antigo Red Robins dropped their first contest of the season 20-14 to the hosting Two Rivers Purple Raiders on Friday night.
The two teams headed into extra time after Antigo had a late chance in regulation. After Hunter Cornelius came away with an interception, junior quarterback Matt Winter converted a pass play to Hunter Bolson with seconds left on the clock to get into Raider territory. A later conference by the officials determined there was no time left on the clock for an ensuing play.
Antigo went on defense first in overtime. Working from the 25-yard line, Two Rivers quarterback Dawson Kiphart connected with receiver Alec Dewane for a 19-yard touchdown reception shortly into their possession. The Raiders partially left the door open for the Robins, however, by failing to convert on a two-point conversion try.
The Robins went on the offensive. After successful runs from the new-look backfield tandem of Adam Schmidt and Jericho Kelly, Antigo looked poised to score from inside the 10-yard line. Matt Winter was dropped for a two-yard loss on first and goal by Damien Bullock – the last of five total sacks allowed by Antigo over the course of the game.
Two incomplete passes later set up the pivotal fourth and goal situation for Antigo, where a pass from Winter was batted away by the Raider defense to close the door completely.
The final segment characterized Antigo’s red zone performance for the evening, having broken the 20-yard line threshold three times in Two Rivers’ territory and coming up empty handed. With 5:29 left in the first half, the Robins were handed excellent field position at the Raider 22-yard line. Eventually reaching the eight-yard line, Winter was flushed from the pocket and threw incomplete on fourth down.
After forcing a turnover on downs for Kiphart and the Raider offense, Kelly was able to rush 38-yards on first and ten to reach the Two River’s ten-yard line. Time eventually expired on Antigo, who still took a 14-6 lead into the half. The Raiders tied the game on their second possession of the third quarter as Kiphart found Carson Koch for a 19-yard TD reception that was marked with a successful two-point try.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Antigo drove from its own 27-yard line to inside the Raider ten. After being flagged for too many men on the field on fourth down while trying to get the field goal team prepared, Winter was later picked on the next play off by Darius Campanella while trying to find Hunter Kirsch. On the Robins’ next possession, backup quarterback Wade Farmer took a snap as Winter was split out at receiver. With 52 seconds remaining in regulation, Farmer was picked off.
Antigo put up decent numbers on the ground – 211 rushing yards – but stalled in the red zone. Kelly completed his evening with 13 carries for 77 yards, while Schmidt had 72 yards on 16 attempts. Winter ended his night 4-9 for 78 passing yards and an interception.
The Robins will host Oconto for their home opener this coming Friday at 7 p.m. Keep up with the game preview and coverage at antigotimes.com and have a safe and enjoyable weekend.