Rhinelander High School senior Peyton Johnson stands during a warmup prior to Green and White practice in front of Mike Webster Stadium Saturday, Aug. 10. Johnson wears the new home uniform helmet decal the Hodag football team will sport this fall. (Jeremy Mayo/River News)
This drawing, submitted by the Hodag Gridiron Club, depicts the new away jerseys for the Rhinelander High School varsity football team for the 2019 season. The team anticipates the road jerseys will be in ahead of the team’s season opener Aug. 23 at Prescott.
8/13/2019 7:31:00 AM Hodags unveil new jerseys at Green-White practice
When the Rhinelander High School football team takes to the field this fall, the players will be sporting a different look than they have the past several years.
With the help of the Hodag Gridiron Club, the team has purchased new uniforms for the upcoming season. The Kelly green home tops were on display Saturday during the team's Green and White practice.
The look is more of a classic style, similar to what the Hodags wore from 2005-09 with classic block numbers on the chest, back and shoulders, and three stripes on the sleeves. The away uniforms - which the team hopes will arrive in front of the season opener next Friday at Prescott - look almost identical to the home jerseys, with the areas of green and white inverted.
"They're pretty sweet," said Hodag senior running back Drake Martin. "You look good, you play good."
"They're a classic look," added RHS football coach Aaron Kramer. I think they're awesome. The kids enjoy them."
According to Mike Fugle of the Gridiron Club, the new uniforms - along with new game pants that will go with them - cost more than $20,000, which the club was able to cover through money raised from its fundraisers throughout the year. The jerseys were purchased through Ripon Athletic.
"They look great," he said. "They have a lot of elasticity to them. If you saw it on (the players, without pads), it probably looked like they are fairly snug, but when they put on their pads, it just makes them look more like football players. It's kind of the best of both worlds."
The new uniforms are being paired with a new helmet decal, which is a hybrid of two former helmet logos. The new decal includes the head and back of the Hodag. The head looks strikingly similar to the Fighting R Hodag logo the team used in the early 2000s. The letters "RHS" stretch across the Hodag's back. The R is the same stylized R that had been used on the helmets over the past several seasons.
The new uniforms are only part of the upgrades surrounding the football program this fall. The new concessions area and restroom building was open for the public for the first time on Saturday. The facility also includes a team room the squad has used for classroom sessions and a meeting place during practice.
Additionally, the field at Mike Webster Stadium is nearly ready for new artificial turf that will go down later this month and is scheduled to be ready in time for the Hodags' first home football game against Lakeland Sept. 6.
"That's what it's about, being proud to be from Rhinelander. I'm proud right now to be a part of this program," Kraemer said. "I've been talking to our kids about how grateful they should be about the people in the community that support us, our Gridiron Club and our school district. The grateful and thankful thing that we can do as a team is we can change our mentality. We can be proud of who we are as Hodags, proud of our facilities, clean up after ourselves and do the small things right. That's what's ultimately is going to give back to these people. That's what we talked about today, giving back to the community, introducing yourself, meeting someone new, being a part of the program and welcoming the new group in."
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
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