Panthers 8th at Northern Exposure

Heading into the always difficult Northern Exposure tournament at Merrill, Oconto Falls tri-head coach Marc Kinziger knew his team would have an uphill climb after sustaining a couple of injuries in the previous week.

The Panthers cruised in the first four rounds of the tourney before running into three solid teams and ended up placing eighth out of 24 teams during the two-day event Friday and Saturday.

“Eighth was about the best I thought we could have done,” Kinziger said.

Oconto Falls had two open weight classes – 182 and 195 – the entire tournament.

“During the holiday break we couldn’t get two guys to the right weight classes, so we were giving up 12 points off the bat, and with an inexperienced team, that hurts,” Kinziger said. “I’ve been coaching at Oconto Falls for 15 years and I don’t know how much longer before that, but I don’t remember ever forfeiting a weight class.”


U.P. fishing outfitter to speak at Trout Unlimited meeting

Randy Berndt, owner of the U.P. Fly Angler, will discuss the lightly fished area of the western Upper Peninsula when the Oconto River Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited meets on Wednesday, Jan. 8.

The group will meet at 7 p.m. at Lone Oak Gun Club, located one mile north of Gillett on state Highway 32. Berndt’s presentation will cover how to locate the best waters for brook, rainbow and brown trout fishing, the most successful flies for the area, how to go about planning a trip, and essential safety equipment needed to fish the remote region.

“The western U.P. holds many opportunities for anglers,” Berndt said. “In addition to fine fishing, the western U.P. offers superb scenery and a chance to fish in solitude.”


Prep Roundup

Panthers girls remain undefeated

Undefeated Oconto Falls High School outscored Manitowoc Lincoln in every quarter en route to a 48-33 girls basketball win Saturday in Manitowoc.

McKenna Larsen led the Panthers (5-0, 2-0 Bay Conference) with 17 points. Carly Lemke added 13.

Alyssa Fischer led Manitowoc (3-5, 2-2 Fox River Classic) with 15 points.


Gillett splits games at Elcho tourney

Elcho’s boys basketball team took a three-point first quarter lead and then padded it each following quarter en route to a 42-32 win over Gillett on Saturday in the Elcho Tournament championship.

Jake Kasten was the only player in double figures for Gillett (3-6, 2-3 Marinette & Oconto Conference) with 13 points. Junior forward Dan Torres led the Tigers in rebounds with eight.

Jaeger Adams tallied 23 for Elcho (5-4, 3-2 Northern Lakes Conference).


Packers win North title over Bears

Wolf River Media Photo by Greg Mellis

Chicago Bears defenders work at bring down Packers rookie Eddie Lacy during Sunday’s NFC North championship game in Chicago. Lacy rushed for 66 yards on a bad ankle.

A fourth-and-eight touchdown throw from quarterback Aaron Rodgers to receiver Randall Cobb with 46 seconds left to play put the Green Bay Packers ahead of the Chicago Bears 33-28 in a back-and-forth regular season finale Sunday at a cold and windy Soldier Field in Chicago with the NFC North championship on the line.

It was fitting that Rodgers (collarbone) and Cobb (leg), who both returned this game after missing weeks due to injury, connected on the game’s pivotal play, giving the Packers the win, the NFC North title and a home playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

“You see the heart that this team has, to go through what we went through all season and still have a chance to get into the playoffs,” Cobb said. “To have a game like we played tonight … we found a way to win the game. I think it speaks a lot about our team.”


Rogatzki enjoying his new role with college

Times Herald File Photo

Former Oconto Falls High School football coach Duane Rogatzki worked with the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh team this season.

Duane Rogatzki has graduated to college.

Coaching college football, that is.

After retiring in 2012 following 35 years as the head coach at Oconto Falls High School, Rogatzki switched roles and helped the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh football program this past season.

Rogatzki got to know Titans head coach Pat Cerroni through Rogatzki’s involvement with the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association all-star game. The annual weeklong event showcases the best high school seniors throughout the state and is held at UW-Oshkosh’s Titan Stadium.

After last year’s all-star game in July, Rogatzki got an invitation from Cerroni to attend his team’s early-season practices in August.

“They asked me to come down for two weeks to see if I like college football and just work with them and hang around and be with the defense,” Rogatzki said.


Packers lose but hope remains

The Green Bay Packers’ roller-coaster season will continue for another week, despite a 38-31 loss Sunday to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the snow at Lambeau Field.

The loss would have ended the postseason hopes for the Packers (7-7-1), but the Chicago Bears (8-7) were embarrassed 54-11 by the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night. Detroit (7-8) dropped out of playoff contention with a 23-20 overtime loss at home to the New York Giants.

The Packers and Bears will play Sunday in Chicago with the NFC North title, and the playoff berth that comes with it, on the line. That game has been moved to a 3:25 p.m. start.

The Packers’ fate was nearly sealed as they raced the clock on the final drive Sunday, trailing 38-31.

The Packers entered the fourth quarter down by 10, 31-21, until a Mason Crosby 22-yard field goal cut the deficit to seven.


Prep Roundup

Krueger manages pin in Panthers’ loss

The Oconto Falls High School wrestling team fell 38-21 at Hortonville on Thursday.

Dewey Krueger recorded the Panthers’ only pin, over Nathan Lichtfuss in 1:12 at 152 pounds.

Other OFHS recording wins were Nate Trepanier (138) 6-1 over Cam Luker; Brett Ash (145) 6-2 over Cam Martzahl; Mac Winkler (195) 4-3 over Mike Hill; and Austin Stanek (113) by forfeit.

Hortonville recorded three pins, two major decisions and four decisions.


Slow start dooms Gillett at STAA

Gillett fell behind 17-9 in the first period and never recovered in a 52-42 boys basketball loss Thursday to St. Thomas Aquinas Academy in Marinette.

The Tigers trailed 26-15 at halftime before outscoring STAA 27-26 in the second half.

Dylan Roberts scored 20 and Dan Torres 12 for Gillett (2-5, 2-3 Marinette & Oconto Conference).


3-pointers carry Falls past Antigo

Photo by Tom Beschta

Oconto Falls High School senior McKenna Larsen drives the baseline in the Panthers’ 49-32 victory over Antigo on Thursday. Larsen led all scorers with 22 points, including four 3-pointers.

The Oconto Falls High School girls basketball team found the deep ball Thursday, hitting from beyond the arc 11 times in a 49-32 victory over nonconference foe Antigo.

Senior McKenna Larsen and junior Elizabeth Manns combined for nine 3-pointers, hitting four and five, respectively, on their home court.

“We were on tonight,” said Larsen, who led all scorers with 22 points.

Larsen got Oconto Falls (4-0, 2-0 Bay Conference) rolling with the Panthers’ first eight points. Sophomore Alyssa Nelson tacked on a 3-pointer of her own to close the first quarter.

Manns found her range in the second quarter, scoring all nine of the Panthers’ points from downtown to help Oconto Falls enter the half tied at 20.

“I was just kind of in my rhythm,” said Manns, who ended the night with 17 points. “It was just flowing off my hand, I guess.”


M&O officials irked by conference realignment

There were bound to be people unhappy with the WIAA conference realignment proposal.

Marinette and Oconto Conference officials, though, didn’t think it would be them.

After the M&O went untouched in early drafts of the proposal, Oneida Nation High School was added to the conference in the latest plan, approved by the WIAA Board of Control by a vote of 6-2 Dec. 6 in Stevens Point.

Officials from the M&O went to the meeting to express the conference’s reservations about bringing Oneida Nation into the conference.

“We thought it would be in our conference’s and our students’ best interest to appeal that process,” said Doug Polomis, principal of Coleman High School.


Panthers pull away from Denmark in 4th

It took all four quarters for the Oconto Falls High School girls basketball team to take care of Denmark to open Bay Conference play Thursday in Denmark.

The Panthers won 48-39 after outscoring the Vikings 14-6 in the final period.

“Denmark came out in a half-court trap,” Oconto Falls coach Michael Kaczmareck said. “They put their big girls on top and really caused us problems early.”

“We scored some in transition and we went at them full court press with the idea of wearing them down,” Kaczmareck said. “It ended up wearing us down.”

Oconto Falls held Denmark scoreless for 7 minutes in the fourth quarter.

McKenna Larsen led Oconto Falls (2-0, 1-0 Bay) with 18 points. Carly Lemke added 16 points.

“Those two played real well,” Kaczmareck said. “They both played like the four-year lettermen that they are. Both stepped it up.”

Elizabeth Manns, a junior, added two clutch free throws down the stretch for the Panthers.


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