Merrill Homecoming 2023
BY TINA L. SCOTT
The students and staff at Merrill High School (MHS) had a fun-filled Homecoming 2023 last week with activities like dress-up days throughout the week and activities to build Bluejay spirit before the football game and dance on Saturday.
Early in the week, the Senior Girls won the Powder Puff Football Game against the Junior Girls, and Katy Glaze was crowned Homecoming Queen 2023.
On a cold morning Friday the Bluejay Cross Country Team was up extra early for the Run the Ball event. The route for the event changed this year. “The Bluejay Cross Country team ran the Homecoming ball around the Hodag’s football field and started their run at the intersection of Cty. Rd. J and Cty. Rd. H near the very small town of Bavaria,” MHS Varsity Head Cross Country Coach Alyssa Swan said. The route then followed Hwy. H to Hwy. C and Hwy. C to Hwy. G, a total distance of 25.7 miles.
“Each athlete ran with the ball in their possession for at least a mile and half, with most athletes running well over 3-4 miles,” she said. “Our athletes ran through the cold and rain and, when we arrived at MHS, our Cross Country Seniors delivered the ball to Head Coach Wadzinski to help ‘kick off’ the beginning of the Homecoming Assembly!”
The assembly and then Friday night’s traditional bonfire helped students and players get “fired up” and warmed up for more fun and excitement to come.
On Saturday, the traditional Homecoming Parade added to the anticipation of the big Homecoming Football Game against Rhinelander. Engery was high, and the MHS Bluejay Marching Band and Color Guard pumped up the crowd and put on a great performance. And we can’t forget the tribute to Merrill’s new Silver M’ers … always a highlight of Homecoming for the Merrill community.
Bluejays vs. Hodags
Game time meant game on! The Merrill Bluejays were ready to battle the Rhinelander Hodags and it was a battle to the end as the Bluejays fought to get a foothold and move the ball down the field. The first quarter finished scoreless for both teams, but during the second quarter Rhinelander scored a touchdown and made the kick to put seven points on the scoreboard.
“The Bluejays outgained the Hodags in total yards of offense led by Callum Wheeler on the ground,” Merrill Varsity Football Coach Jason Wadzinski said.
But … “Turnovers ended up being Merrill’s achilles heel, and became too much to overcome,” he said.
The entire second half of the game remained scoreless as neither team was able to get the ball into the end zone to score. “The Rhinelander Hodags won a defensive battle on Saturday 7-0,” Wadzinski said.
“I’d like to thank a great crowd who came out to honor the district and the Silver M inductees,” he added.
Dance the night away
After the game, it was time to head home, dust off the defeat, and get ready for the dance. The ladies brought some glamour to the occasion, and more than just the tiaras sparkled as the couples took to the dance floor for the traditional Homecoming Dance.
Maybe the team didn’t get the big win this year, but all-in-all, Homecoming 2023 was a lot of fun for all those who took part, and Merrill’s Bluejay Pride and school spirit shone bright in Merrill.