This loss will test how well the New Richmond football team bounces back from heartbreak.
It appeared the Tigers had scored the winning touchdown pass with nine seconds left in their game at Durand on Friday. Quarterback Sevin Davis hit receiver Austin Juhl on a slant pattern in the end zone, giving the Tigers what appeared to be the winning touchdown. But one official thought differently, calling a holding penalty against the Tigers. That left time for one more play, but the Tigers' pass to the end zone was batted down, allowing Durand to escape with a 12-7 victory.
This leaves both teams with 1-1 records in Middle Border Conference play.
Defenses were the stronger group for both teams for much of this game. The first points weren't scored until there were four minutes left in the first half. That's when Tiger quarterback Sevin Davis found halfback Connor O'Loughlin for a 20-yard touchdown. Cam Hausman's extra point made the score 7-0.
Durand cut the margin to 7-6 midway through the third quarter on a 3-yard touchdown by quarterback Jacob Biesterveld.
The Tigers put together a solid drive late in the third quarter. That possession ended with the only turnover of the game, when a Davis pass was intercepted in the end zone.
Durand put together its best drive of the night in the fourth quarter, culminating in another 3-yard touchdown by Biesterveld. This put the Panthers in front 12-7 with 3:53 left to play.
The poise showed by the Tigers in the ensuing drive showed promise. Mixing passes and running plays, the Tigers were able to maneuver the ball into position to score.
The Tigers outgained Durand in the game 222 to 214. Both teams had 13 first downs, further showing the evenness of the game.
"It was very much a defensive game," said Tiger coach Keith Badger. "I'm very confident in our defense. They absolutely did their job."
Offensively, the Tigers moved the ball well at times, but mistakes were damaging. The Tigers committed seven penalties for 55 yards.
The coaches are trying to keep the Tigers to a level of 12 percent or lower of errors in their plays. They included penalties, missed blocks and missed assignments as errors.
"The margin of error with all those penalties to play mistake-free ball is very small," Badger said.
Badger said he is looking for more of a shark mentality from his offense.
"We need to smell blood and finish (drives)," Badger said. "We play with our prey and they eventually slip away."
The Tigers took the loss hard. Badger said that was one of the most redeeming factors of the game.
"That tells me they're invested and they truly believe they can win," he said.
Badger said the Tigers are looking to diversify the offense more. Davis, O'Loughlin and tight end Keilan Mehls again accounted for nearly all the team's offense. One addition to the offense was getting the ball to Juhl, who had four receptions from his wide receiver role.
This Friday the Tigers host Prescott. The Cards were defeated by Somerset 30-0 on Friday for Prescott's first loss of the season. Somerset threw off Prescott's offense with a harassing pass rush. That's something the Tigers haven't generated. They don't have a quarterback sack in their first four games.
"Prescott has some big kids, they'll come right after us," Badger predicted. "We feel very confident in our game plan. We're expecting big things offensively."