By BURT ANGELI
KINGSFORD - The zero-and-four Rhinelander Hodags?
They may as well be four-and-zero when they tackle unbeaten Kingsford (3-0) on Friday night. Kick-off is 6:30 p.m. from Flivver Field.
"You watch them on film and you can't believe they're 0-4," Kingsford Coach Chris Hofer said Wednesday. "You watch their personnel and they've got some good players. They're big, physical kids."
The Hodags stunned Great Northern Conference foe Merrill last year but have struggled offensively in 2013. They have failed to top 100 yards total offense in each of the past two games.
"They self-destruct a lot," said Hofer, whose Flivvers beat the Hodags the past two seasons. "They had us on the ropes last year.
"I don't know if we've ever stopped them. They stop themselves more than we did."
The situation has frustrated Rhinelander Coach Jim Moore.
"We really haven't found anything that works consistently," Moore told the Rhinelander Daily News. "People talk about finding a rhythm and finding something that works, and we haven't found that yet."
The Hodags did buckle in losses this season to Superior (57-6) and Merrill (54-7). But Rhinelander's 3-5-3 defense did check Wittenberg-Birnamwood (15-13) and Lakeland (9-0).
"It's a pain in the butt to block some times," Hofer said of the Rhinelander defense. "There's a lot of people coming and you don't always know where they're coming from.
"You have to play with your face up, stay in your routes and take what you can take."
Kingsford celebrates homecoming this week and plays Great Northern Conference rival Menominee next week.
"We're been sharp this week," said Hofer when asked about possible distractions. "I've been happy with practice. We've had good concentration, good intensity."
Kingsford waxed Westwood 56-7 last week, registering 356 yards total offense to 97 for the Patriots.
Alex Patterson produced 15 defensive points and Hugh Harris had 10. Harris and Brien Johnson each had seven tackles.