Gridders fall to Medford
By Jared Schmeltzer
Friday night’s rain battered football game featuring Merrill and Medford saw Merrill taking their second conference loss of the year as they fell 28-7. Merrill struggled moving the ball as they only totaled seven first downs in the game.
The first quarter saw most of the scoring as Medford got on top early with a 78-yard rushing touchdown only five minutes into the game. Two minutes later, after a Merrill turnover, Medford was able to crack the scoreboard again with a one yard touchdown run to make the game 14-0. Merrill responded quickly as it took them only a minute and a half to score on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Zach Mootz, hooking up with Chase Bonnell. Unfortunately for Merrill, that was all the scoring they had in them for the night. Medford added to their lead in the third quarter with two more rushing touchdowns making the score 28-7, which would be the final.
Mootz led the team in rushing with 33 yards on 11 carries, with Nevada Laabs right behind him with 28 yards on eight carries. Mootz also passed with 78 yards and a touchdown on 13 attempts, with an interception in the mix. Merrill’s leading receiver for the game was Chase Bonnell with the one touchdown reception for 30 yards. Josiah Nohr also had one reception for 37 yards. The run defense struggled for the Bluejays as they allowed nearly 300 yards, while not allowing Medford to move the ball in through the air as the Raiders only had 11 passing yards. Kole Meyer led the Jays in tackles for the game, racking up seven solo tackles while assisting on two. Laabs was right behind Meyer in tackles as he came up with six solo tackles and assisted on one.
The Bluejays will be going to Schofield Stadium in Antigo Friday, as they take on conference rival Red Robins in the last game of the regular season. The Robins currently stand atop the GNC at 5-0 while Mosinee and the Bluejays stand tied for 2nd place; each with a pair of losses. The result of Friday’s contest could have serious playoff implications for the Jays (4-4 Ovr, 3-2 GNC). If Merrill wins, it would mean sole possession of 2nd place in the conference-being the guys blew out Mosinee earlier this season- and could speak volumes for the guys in terms of favorable playoff seeding. If the Jays fall in their rivalry clash, they will drop to a third place tie with Ashland and Medford and could make for an ominous, murky WIAA playoff picture. Kickoff is set for 7 PM Friday evening in Antigo.