Row I (LtoR) Kathy Collins, Dewey Reilly, Tony Penn, Jeremy Cordova, Guy Ruder, Nate Hilt, Mike Reilly, Rusty Brinkman, Nikki LaNou, Nicky Schoone
Row II (LtoR) Monica Randall, Scott Swan, Chris Coppock, Jeremy Zimmerman, Pete Steinhafel, Jim Schinker, Mike Goetz, Todd Wenninger, Mike Sundquist, Dan Lundberg, Coach Reilly
Row III (LtoR) Coach Rortvedt, Troy Andersen, Jon Pflum, Erik Halverson, Jesse Theiler, Jason Sypher, Jason Brunner, Tad Zoellner, Bob Verhasselt, Jody Sherman, Corey Brimacombe, Coach Brottlund
Row IV (LtoR) Coach Farmer, Keith Hanse, Bob Tomaszewski, Everett Anderson, Craig Stillman, Jeff DuPlayee, Mike Lee, Steve Liberty, Dave Manninen, Mickey Pierce, Aaron Plachetka. Missing Chris Younker
Football was Tomahawk High School’s first official sport dating back to 1897. With the exception of 1933 through 1935, Tomahawk has sponsored a football program and competed against some of the finest programs in the state. So why would the 1989 football team be so special? This group of coaches and young male athletes produced the only outright conference title in school history. Tomahawk had co-championships in 1966 and 1985 but only one outright title. This title came just one year after Tomahawk had snapped a 21 game losing streak that extended for over two years. This group of coaches and athletes were determined to turn the football program from a door mat to the top of the conference. It is now 25 years later and time to salute their accomplishment.
The coaches involved were Joe Farmer, Dewey Reilly Sr., John Brottlund, Peter Rortvedt, Mike Loretz, & Scott Lindner. This group of individuals combined their talents to get the best out of their athletes, turning them from participators to competitors. The opening game of the season sent a message to the conference as they soundly defeated Ladysmith 41-0. In this game Chris Coppock rushed for 113 yards as Tomahawk piled up 425 offensive yards and defensively held Ladysmith to only 73 total yards. Tomahawk totally dominated on both sides of the ball.
Game two saw a hard fought battle with Wausau Newman. The loss of Mike Reilly was felt as Tomahawk dropped a 20-19 game, falling short of a 2 point conversion. This was a good nonconference game against a solid opponent.
Games three and four were the first two conference battles. Tomahawk dominated Park Falls 49-8 with Coppock rushing for 98 yards on 10 carries as part of a 352 yard offensive show. The next game ended up 31-12 against a solid Medford team with once again Tomahawk was handling both sides of the ball.
A 32-30 loss to a powerful Ironwood football team helped Tomahawk identify the little things that would make them stronger. Tomahawk went on to defeat Lakeland 18-14 and Phillips 14-12. Against Lakeland, Coppock took full advantage of his line as he racked up 115 yards on 21 carries keeping Lakeland on their heels for much of the game. The Phillips game saw Tomahawk dig deep and eventually win the contest on a blocked punt and fumble recovery. The team continues to become mentally tougher.
Tomahawk beat Eagle River 22-14 with Mike Reilly racking up 127 yards on 23 carries which set up the final conference game against Ashland. A chance to go 6-0 in conference play was now at hand. Steve Liberty rushed for 135 yards on 4 carries as Tomahawk totally dominated Ashland 55-6. This victory also gave Tomahawk their first invitation to the WIAA football playoffs, but were beaten 28-14 by Mosinee in the first round game. Mosinee came in with a 10-1 record and lived up to their reputation. Going 6-0 in conference and 7-3 overall was indeed a great accomplishment for Tomahawk.
Seventeen All-Conference honors flowed Tomahawk’s way as Jeremy Zimmerman, Mike Reilly, Chris Coppock, & Scott Swan were voted First Team All-Conference Offense with Corey Brimacombe, Troy Anderson, Pete Steinhafel, & Mike Reilly making First Team All-Conference Defense. Second Team All-Conference Offensive went to Steve Liberty, Jason Brunner, & Erik Halverson. Second Team All-Conference Defensive went to Jim Schinker, Chris Younker, & Nate Hilt. Receiving Honorable Mention All-Conference was Aaron Plachetka & Mickey Pierce. Additional post season honors included Jeremy Zimmerman who was voted Lumberjack Conference Offensive Player of the Year and Mike Reilly Lumberjack Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Corey Brimacombe was voted Channel 7 All Star and Jeremy Zimmerman selected to the All District team. All Region honors went to Jeremy Zimmerman and Scott Swan on offense and Mike Reilly, Pete Steinhafel, and Corey Brimacombe on defense. The final post season honor came when Joe Farmer was voted Lumberjack Conference Coach of the Year.
A new standard was set for Tomahawk football due to these athletes’ exceptional abilities and the coaches’ dedication.