Tigers' hope to break into win column against B-W
The New Richmond football team hopes to break into the win column for the first time since late in the 2003 season when the Tigers host Baldwin-Woodville this Thursday.
Both teams are 0-5 in the Middle Border Conference. The Tigers are 0-7 overall while B-W has one non-conference win this season. The Tigers have lost 17 straight games since beating Somerset late in the 2003 season.
New Richmond has been playing its opponents close in recent games. Two weeks ago they led until the final three minutes of the game in a 13-9 loss to Osceola. Last week the Tigers played three quality quarters, but they had a letdown in the second quarter that led to a 28-13 loss at Ellsworth.
The Tigers got two starters back from injuries for the Ellsworth game, but had two others miss the game. Griffin Jameson and Mike Martinez returned from leg injuries for the Ellsworth game. But Adam Nirmaier missed the game and Dan Powers was severely limited by an injury. Tiger coach Joe Hutter is hoping all four can be back to full strength by Thursday, which would be the healthiest the Tigers have been since the first weeks of the season.
Tiger fans couldn't have asked for a better start to the game at Ellsworth. The Tigers took the opening kickoff and quickly moved down the field for a touchdown. First the Tigers ran for a first down. Then Ellsworth was called for a pass interference penalty. Then the Tigers went for the big play and it worked. Quarterback Tony Evans hit Brock Peterson on a deep pass, with the play going for a 47-yard touchdown. Brian Figueroa's kick gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
The score effectively took the Ellsworth Homecoming crowd out of the game. The Panthers took the following kickoff and marched down the field. The Tiger defense then put up a wall at their 2-yard line, stopping the Panther drive just before it scored.
What that drive did do was give Ellsworth the field position advantage. The Tigers were forced to punt, as was Ellsworth on its next possession, again pinning the Tigers inside their own 10. This time the Panther defense came through with a big play, getting the first of its three interceptions.
The Panthers quickly turned that turnover into a touchdown. The next Tiger possession ended with another interception deep in Ellsworth territory, and the Panthers again capitalized, with their touchdown giving them the lead.
Ellsworth would score once more in the second quarter against the shaken Tigers.
"Once we had the first turnover, we lost some of the confidence we'd had from our first drive," said Hutter. "Momentum comes and goes pretty quick in a lot of our games."
Ellsworth then started the second half by driving the length of the field to extend the Panthers' lead to 28-7.
That was the last scoring threat from the Panthers. The Tigers created two turnovers in the second half, one on an interception by Jameson and another on a fumble recovery by Brian Volkert.
The Tigers scored again with five minutes left in the game. A long pass from Hayden Zimmerman to Matt Knutson set up the touchdown. Then, on a fourth and goal at the Ellsworth 4, Zimmerman found Knutson again for the touchdown.
"We played a pretty decent second half," Hutter said.
The Tiger offense increased its success throwing the ball in this game, but the running game stalled. The Tigers produced 108 yards through the air, but could only gain 54 yards on the ground. Ellsworth ran for 270 yards and passed for 112 yards against the Tiger defense.
This leads into Thursday's game, where the Tigers face a B-W team that is almost a mirror image of themselves. B-W has played well on the defensive side, just like the Tigers, but they too have had their struggles putting points on the board. They also run many of the same offensive formations as the Tigers.
"Personnel-wise, we match up very well," Hutter said. "It's one we can definitely win."
Ellsworth 28, New Richmond 13
New Richmond 7 0 0 6 13
Ellsworth 0 20 8 0 28
NR -- Brock Peterson, 47 yard pass from Tony Evans (Brian Figueroa kick)
Ells -- Brady Coulson, 1 yard run (run failed)
Ells -- Ross Sweig, 20 yard pass from Travis London (kick good)
Ells -- Sweig, 41 yard run (kick failed)
Ells -- London, 1 yard run (run good)
NR -- Matt Knutson, 4 yard pass from Hayden Zimmerman (kick failed)
First Downs 5 17
Rushing Yards 54 270
Passing Yards 108 112
Passes 5-15-3 int. 7-18-1 int.
Penalties 3-15 9-80
NR -- Chad Aldous 16-26; Mike Martinez 11-20; Tony Evans 3-8
NR -- Tony Evans 3-9-3 int., 76 yards; Hayden Zimmerman 2-6-0, 45 yards
NR -- Matt Knutson 3-54; Brock Peterson 2-54