By Jim den Hollander
Preview — RWD Cheavers @ Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders Nov. 23 at South Wood County Recreation Center 7 p.m.
The RWD Varsity Cheavers will open the WIAA regular season Tuesday (Nov. 23) against a familiar foe.
It’s become something of a tradition for the Cheavers to tangle with the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders near the beginning of each season.
Since the RWD team was formed in 2010-11, the Cheavers and Red Raiders have faced off 13 times. The Red Raiders hold a 6-5-2 edge overall, but RWD has won the past four, most recently a 6-0 win at the Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic last season, one of two wins against the Red Raiders in 2020/21.
For the RWD seniors, the rivalry goes back to pre-varsity as Billy Oakes’ bantam squad played at the state championship tournament in Rapids in 2018, dropping a heartbreaking game in the State Championship semis in overtime.
It was a satisfying debut for the freshman class though as Cooper Oakes began his varsity career posting a 34-save shutout and a 5-0 win against the same Red Raiders team.
Caden Brandt collected a hat trick in the shutout win at the Monk’s tournament last year, CJ Pfaff and Ty Thompson also collecting goals against the Red Raiders.
The game will be the first of three this week as the Cheavers will follow up Thanksgiving heading to Somerset for a weekend tournament.