Icebreakers, tiebreakers: Packer season opener as big as they get

With seven months of anticipation between seasons and the uncertainty each new one brings, the appeal of pro football’s opening week is self-evident.

Green Bay Packers fans have seen their share of opening day highs and lows, and appreciate that the most unlikely guy can emerge as the star of Week 1.

Mysteries abound at every turn at the outset of opening week, but for the Packers at the game’s most critical position, one variable has remained constant over the past 10 seasons: quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed a pass in his first snap as an opening day starter in 2008 and hasn’t stopped ever since.

Rodgers, who won his first four openers, lost his next three and won the last two, is still the best player on the team by a wide margin and represents the Packers’ best chance to get to their first Super Bowl in seven years.


Wildcats find 1st win in 7-0 shutout

Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Gresham-Bowler sophomore Waylon Welch reaches for the ball during Tuesday’s 7-0 win over Tri-County.

Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Gresham-Bowler sophomore defender Josh Hoffman Jr. finds the ball after a Tri-County pass toward the goal in Gresham-Bowler’s 7-0 win Tuesday.

Todd Otradovec scored four goals as Gresham-Bowler secured its first win of the season Tuesday, 7-0 over Tri-County on a slippery home field.

Zack Fehrman scored Gresham-Bowler’s first goal before the wind and rain picked up midway through the first period. Still, the Wildcats were able to score four more goals, all from Otradovec.

His last goal was assisted by senior Drew Haffner, whose deep kick downfield gave Otradovec a straight shot between two defenders and past the diving keeper for a 5-0 lead.

Part of the Wildcats’ success was due to an improved defense, which surrendered 13 goals in the their previous two games. Goalkeeper Justice Paiser had 10 saves Tuesday.

“Our defense has been struggling the last few games in leaving open shots in the goal area,” head coach Nate Boucher said. “They came out way better tonight, but we still need to work on it.”


Speedway crowns 2017 track champions

The 2017 Shawano Speedway race season ended just as it began — wet.

Mother Nature had the final decision in the points chases as she dropped nearly 2 inches of rain in Shawano on Saturday, causing the final point night to be canceled.

In the end, Late Models racer Ron Berna continued to make history. Already the leader in all-time titles at Shawano entering the year, Berna notched his eighth Late Models title and 11th overall title at Shawano this season. His eighth Late Models crown broke a tie with MJ McBride and Terry Anvelink for the most in the division.

Berna also led the division with four feature wins. Last year’s champion, Brett Swedberg, finished only two points out of the lead and scored three wins on the year. Four-time Late Models champion Troy Springborn finished third in the standings and posted one feature win.


High School Scoreboard


Sept. 5

Green Bay West 4, Shawano 3


No. 1 Maddy Steber, West, def. Kaleigh Zoll, 2-6, 1-6; No. 2 Marie Smith, West, def. Isabella Buettner, 2-6, 1-6; No. 3 Melanie Shefchik, West, def. Lina Liu, 0-6, 0-6; No. 4 Lydia Dobberstein, Shawano, def. Danielle Lefke, 4-6, 7-5, 10-7.

No. 1 Lydia Williams-Sydney Steinbach, Shawano, def. Madison Shunke-Riley Resulta, 6-1, 6-1; No. 2 Jaismein Steber-Gou Vang, West, def. Alana Krolow-Annalyse Wilber, 3-6, 2-6; No. 3 Jillian Black-Karelyn Malliet, Shawano, def. Default A-Default
Default, 6-0, 6-0.


Port Edwards def Gresham, 25-21, 25-20, 25-22

G: Dani Huntington, 14 assists; Karisa Nietzer, 9 kills; Hailey Hoffman, 8 kills; Mackenzie Hoffman, 8 digs.


Consistency is key in Hawks’ victory

Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Junior Roman Purull takes a handoff from Jarrett Laatsch in Shawano Community High School’s 56-21 home victory over Green Bay East on Friday.

Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School senior Jarrett Laatsch runs the ball for a touchdown in the Hawks’ 56-21 home win over Green Bay East on Friday.

Shawano came into Friday night’s Bay Conference game against Green Bay East with goals to utilize its run game and to make stops defensively, and the Hawks did just that to trounce the Red Devils, 56-21.

After Shawano’s defense was able to contain Green Bay East (0-3) on the opening drive, Brayden Dickelman scored on an 82-yard run on the Hawks’ first snap.

“We wanted to get out there and start fast, and that’s what we did,” Hawks head coach Alan Tomow said. “It was great to see us play a complete game — offense and defense.”

The Hawks (2-1) controlled the field on both sides of the ball and ran the ball well through all four quarters.

“Part of what we emphasized this week was establishing a run game,” Tomow said. “Our guys up front have been phenomenal in creating lanes and playing with an edge for our runners. And hats off to our defense. We talked about being better against a run, and those guys really stepped up.”


Final night of racing for the season

It all comes down to this. One final night of racing awaits before the curtain falls on the 2017 Shawano Speedway racing season.

One track champion has already been crowned, as Clintonville’s Calvin Stueck raced to his first career point title at the historic half-mile in the Mighty Fours division.

The Mighty Fours class has yet to have a repeat winner in its six years at Shawano. The Mighty Fours will not race Saturday, but they will race for big money on Sunday. Five hundred dollars will go the victor of Sunday afternoon’s special event.

Hortonville’s Travis VanStraten just needs to start the IMCA Stock Cars feature to win an unprecedented fourth straight title. Only Roger Regeth and MJ McBride have accomplished this feat so far, with McBride tallying five in a row in the 1980s.

A similar situation exists in the IMCA Sport Mods class, as Hortonville’s Jordan Barkholtz also needs only to start the feature to secure his second consecutive title.


Eagles improve, still can’t clinch win

Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Menominee Indian High School senior Meshaen Waukau gains rushing yards during the Eagles’ 70-48 loss to Gibraltar on Thursday.

Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Menominee Indian High School sophomore Dawson Grignon gets tackled during the Eagles’ 70-48 loss to Gibraltar Thursday.

Three touchdowns in the first 45 seconds of Menominee Indian’s home game against Gibraltar was a clear indication of what was to come in the rest of the game Thursday.

Gibraltar opened the game with a 77-yard touchdown on the kickoff return by freshman Luke Steebs. The Eagles answered with a 73-yard touchdown reception by senior Jarin Reiter on the next drive. The Vikings responded with an 82-yard kick return touchdown by freshman Alex Laughlin.

The two teams tallied 14 more touchdowns collectively as Gibraltar defeated Menominee Indian 70-48 in Keshena.

Despite the loss, the Eagles (0-3) found solace in their improvements from previous weeks when they struggled with turnovers and scoring points.

Menominee Indian head coach Chris Clache also took the team’s injuries into consideration when assessing its performance.

“We had a good week of practice,” Clache said. “We were obviously short-handed coming in and it just got worse during the game.”


September song: Surprising Brewers seek big finish

Some people can’t seem to get the hint.

Take the Milwaukee Brewers, for example — while not forgetting that one short year ago the correct response to that proposition would have been, “No, thanks.”

This preseason’s biggest long shot to win the World Series had been beyond pleasantly surprising. They’d not only been competitive, but actually held first place in the National League Central Division for 61 days, including a high-mark 5 1/2-game lead at the All-Star break.

Then came the inevitable dip, in the form of a seven-game losing streak last month, and finally, according to form, here came the defending champion Chicago Cubs, who overtook the Brewers for first place.


Thunder lay the boom on Shawano, 10-0

Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School junior Will Bergner makes a save during Tuesday’s 10-0 loss to Seymour.

Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School senior Marcus Welander gets ready to pass during the first half of Tuesday’s 10-0 loss to Seymour.

Five games into the season, the Shawano boys soccer team is still searching for its first win.

Coach Bob Croschere is hoping Tuesday night’s home game against Seymour will be an eye-opener. Seymour scored seven first-half goals and ended the contest early after 60 minutes, 47 seconds via the mercy rule as Shawano fell 10-0 in Bay Conference action.

“Every once in a while, some teams just need something like this to wake them up,” Croschere said. “Hopefully, it’s a wake-up call for lots of the guys that are out here right now that they have to start doing a few things differently.”

Shawano (0-4-1, 0-1 Bay Conference) is still trying to mesh as a team after losing double-digit seniors a year ago as well as trying to overcome early-season injuries.


Shawano girls ease into season

Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Shawano Community High School junior Kayla Ward chips into the seventh green at Shawano Lake Golf Course during a Bay Conference match Monday.

Shawano walked away with a second-place finish at Monday’s Bay Conference match at Shawano Lake Golf Course, but coach Dean Kugler says the team is still getting comfortable on the green.

“It always takes us a while to get warmed up to the season,” Kugler said. “We need to put in the time.”

Shawano finished with a team score of 223 on the nine-hole match — 22 shots behind first-place Xavier.

Senior Brianna Zook posted the low score for the Hawks, shooting a 51. She finished fifth overall. Zook is coming off a strong junior season, posting a 93 at sectionals.

“My goal is to make it back there,” Zook said. “I’d like to make it again for my senior year.”

Zook saw room for improvement Monday after missing a left-handed tree shot early on.

“I struggled today,” Zook said. “I got frustrated on a hole I didn’t do well on, and it kind of just carried on from there.”


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