By Craig Marx, Editor
After sharing a conference title for the second year in a row and making it to Level 2 of the WIAA Playoffs for the first time since 2011, the Antigo Red Robins football team’s 2016 campaign came to an end on Friday night in 35-0 defeat at the hands of the hosting Notre Dame Tritons.
The Tritons piled up 333 total yards on the Antigo defense, reaching the 35-point threshold to begin a continuously running clock late in the third quarter. The Robins struggled offensively, putting up 66 total yards (45 rushing, 21 passing), but were plagued by a hamstring injury that eventually sidelined starting junior quarterback Matt Winter.
The Robins defense initially held the Tritons’ explosive running back, Nate Ihlenfeldt, to minimal gains in the first quarter, but the senior would end his evening with 143 yards on the ground as Notre Dame picked up the pace.
Down 14-0 near the end of the first quarter, Antigo gained some momentum after defensive back Korbin Krueger picked off Notre Dame QB Johnny Santaga in the end zone. Another three and out for the Robins, a key aspect of the struggles on Friday, ended a chance to potentially get back into the game as the first 12 minutes expired.
Ihlenfeldt finished his evening 11 for 14 with two TD passes and his one pick.
The Antigo ground game was unable to get going, as both Will Dixon and Adam Schmidt rushed nine times each for 18 and 34 yards, respectively.
The most productive drive of the evening for the Robins came in the fourth quarter. With Winter making his exit due to the pressing hamstring injury, quarterback Wade Farmer helped string together a drive that made it all the way to the Notre Dame three-yard line. On 4th and Goal, however, Antigo came away without points as an incomplete pass caused a turnover on downs.
Coach Tom Schofield has done an exceptional job in his two seasons with the headman’s responsibilities. Schofield and his staff have led their young men to consecutive shares of the Great Northern Conference title, two playoff berths, and this year’s well-deserved 56-20 Level 1 playoff win over the Fox Valley Lutheran Foxes.
Departing seniors that will be graduating this spring include: Collin Meinert, Mitchell Wagner, Luke Berner, Bobby Brown, Will Dixon, Hunter Cornelius, Justin Koszarek, Jesse Jankowski, Mitchell Schroepfer, and Hunter Kirsch.
Thank you for the dedication of the seniors and all players, as well as the coaches, staff, and managers for helping make this 2016 season exciting and successful. Check back in the near future as the GNC and the team itself hands out their year-end awards and honors.