By David Keech
August 27, 2015
Wisconsin Rapids – The Wausau West Warriors stormed out to a 14-0 first quarter lead over Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln, but the Red Raiders responded with 20 unanswered points as Rapids downed West 20-14 Thursday evening at SWC 2000.
Just like in last week’s exciting win over DC Everest, Rapids had fans excited all game long.
West made use of excellent field position on their third possession of the game, and Payton Nelson put the Warriors up 7-0.
On West’s next possession, Jakob Tjordsen ran it in from 5 yards out, and it appeared West had Rapids’ number. The first quarter was all Wausau West, and Rapids was struggling.
“West played well, and give them credit, they came out to start the game and were ready,” explained Red Raider head coach Tony Biolo.
At the conclusion of the first quarter, a moment of silence was observed in honor of longtime Rapids teacher and coach Gene ‘Coach’ Noonan. The moment of silence was fitting for Noonan, as Gene was instrumental in the fundraising efforts behind the building of the South Wood County 2000 complex.
The Raider defense buckled down in the second quarter, keeping Rapids in the game. The Red Raiders were able to put together a long drive right before the half, methodically marching down the field. Tristan Iverson rushed in from 15 yards out with 14 ticks left on the clock, and Rapids had the momentum going into half.
After Rapids and West traded punts to start the third quarter, Rapids started out on their 25 yard line. After a three yard gain and incomplete pass, the Raiders had what can only be described as an incredible play, a miracle catch, one that defied the odds.
Quarterback Ben Olson was pressured in the pocket, and hurled a pass downfield to receiver Thomas Grube. The ball was underthrown, and when Grube came back to snare the pass, he was met by a Warrior defensive back who ripped the ball out. Good thing for Rapids, as Austin Glinski was on the spot to snare the ball out of the air and take it to the West 7 yard line. The 65 yard completion was a play for the ages, and Rapids had West reeling.
“Glinski made a great play on the ball, and came up with it, and got quite a few yards on it,” explained Olson.
When Olson ran for a 2 yard touchdown with 5:08 left, Rapids had seemingly seized control of the game.
West responded, however, marching down the field, but the Warriors were thwarted in their attempt to take the lead, as a 23 yard field goal was wide left early in the 4th quarter.
Glinski ripped off a 40 yard scamper down the left sideline midway into the period, and Olson and the Raider offense made quick work.
Olson punctuated the drive with a 7 yard touchdown, through a big hole in the Warrior defense, and Olson quickly praised the play of the Raider offense.
“The offensive line and running backs really picked it up and made some nice plays in the second half. We had some nice drives, and we came together in the second half. The hole they made for me to score was huge. Anyone could have ran through that hole.”
The Warriors weren’t done, however, and taking over with 2:36 left in the game, they proceeded to march down the field. The Raider defense came through in the clutch, however, behind two big defensive plays.
With time winding down in the game, Dawson Thurber came up with a huge sack of West quarterback Mitch Michalske.
“Down and distance, we had the call to just pin our ears back and go get the quarterback,” shared Thurber.
The Warriors weren’t done, however, until Raider defensive back Cody Kiedrowski picked off a pass with 12 ticks left to preserve the victory.
Biolo noted Kiedrowski was close to picking off other throws, and his timing couldn’t have been better when he did nab the interception to seal the victory. “Cody was around the ball all night, and the biggest time of the game, and he gets the pick, that was excellent.”
“I think the fact that West was playing some guys both ways, and that they were getting tired. I think the no huddle offense started to grind on them, too.”
Rapids hosts Oshkosh West as they open Valley Football Association South play next Friday.
“West will throw the ball over the place, they are a good team. I respect the heck out of their program.”
|Wisconsin Rapids Rushing||Attempts||Yds||TD|
|Wisconsin Rapids Passing||Attempts||Comp||Yds||TD||INT|
|Wisconsin Rapids Receiving||Catches||Yds||TD|
|Wausau West Rushing||Attempts||Yds||TD|
|Wausau West Passing||Attempts||Comp||Yds||TD||INT|
|Wausau West Receiving||Catches||Yds||TD|
Coach will be missed, and his impact is far-reaching. Thanks, Coach, for making a difference in the lives of so many.Notes: The special words in honor of Coach Gene Noonan: “Gene taught and coached in the Wisconsin Rapids Public School District for 33 years. During his career at Lincoln High School he taught social studies and coached football, track and field, and boys golf. In addition, he was a pioneer in the development of athletic speed performance and speed camps as the founder of Faster Results.” … Raider alumni Joe Ritchay and Vince Biegel were two of many local athletes benefitting from Noonan’s Faster Results training, both garnering numerous prep honors. … I was personally touched by the honor of assisting Coach Noonan in presenting at the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association annual meeting in Madison a few years back. Noonan was assisted by Biegel and Ritchay, and the amount of respect amongst the trio was obvious and remarkable. … Coach Noonan was a regular in the weight room at LHS, opening the room and always helping promote fitness, encouraging others…