Award and all-conference recipients for the RHS football team include (front row, from left) Alec Baumgartner, Ben Franson, Richard Klaver, Adam Woebbeking, Alex Reas, Mitch Reinthaler, Connor Johnson, Levi Haskins, Bryce Bilogan, Josie Schaffer and Terry Apfel. Dylon Wilmot is missing from the photo. (Jeremy Mayo/River News)
11/12/2012 10:30:00 AM Football banquet: Klaver, Wilmot MVPs
In a season of filled with injuries, it seemed fitting that the most valuable players for the Rhinelander High School football team had to deal with injuries of their own.
Seniors Richard Klaver and Dylon Wilmot were voted the team's offensive and defensive MVPs by their teammates. Klaver went down with a season-ending ankle injury in week six at Antigo. Wilmot missed two games with a concussion.
"This young man had some adversity this year, but the team had enough respect for him to vote him the most valuable player," RHS football coach Jim Moore told the crowd of parents and players when presenting Klaver with his award.
Klaver averaged 8.3 yards per carry for the Hodags and finished second on the team with 566 rushing years. He was also named the team's running back of the year. Wilmot was a defensive playmaker with 67 total tackles. His eight tackles for losses led the team. He also had an interception, four pass deflections and two forced fumbles.
Moore handed out several other awards Sunday. Connor Johnson was named the hardest worker. Josie Schaffer won the transformer award. Terry Apfel was named the lineman of the year. Ben Franson won special team player of the year. Adam Woebbeking and Alex Reas were named the most improved defensive and offensive players, respectively. Reas was the quarterback for the Hodags' JV team.
The Hodags finished 3-6 overall, but their 3-3 record in the Great Northern Conference was good enough to earn the team's first playoff berth since 1989. The Hodags lost in the Level 1 playoffs to Waupaca, who will be playing for a WIAA Division 3 State title Friday in Madison.
"We played them pretty tough in that first half. We just have to work a little harder," Moore said. "That's where we want to be. If we can repeat that, back-to-back playoffs would be a great step for our program."
Moore said he hoped this season could serve as a springboard to change the fortunes of the Hodag football program, but stressed a lot would hinge on what the returning players do over the offseason.
"We're hoping that this is the moment that gets this program going," Moore said. "We played a lot of tough teams this year. We had a great junior and senior class, two nice groups of kids back-to-back ... We are a playoff caliber team. So every thing you do, going about your business has to be about getting ready to get in the playoffs again. We've got to get ready."
During his remarks, Moore thanked the 19 seniors on the team for their hard work in the offseason.
"These guys really started to get it," he said. "Starting in January, they took our fitness class and started working real hard. They took our summer fitness class, and continued to work hard. When need the younger people - freshmen, sophomores, juniors - to continue what they started for us."
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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