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Tigers' huge Homecoming effort falls just short of victory

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You couldn't ask for a better effort from the New Richmond football team than what they gave in their 2005 Homecoming game against Osceola last Friday.

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Twice the Tigers took the lead, and they held the line deep into the fourth quarter. Osceola connected on a 27-yard touchdown pass to deal the Tigers a 13-9 defeat.

The loss puts the Tigers at 0-6 this season and 0-4 in the Middle Border Conference. This Friday the Tigers play at Ellsworth, where they will try to ruin the Panthers' Homecoming game.

New Richmond's effort in their Homecoming game was easily the Tigers' most complete performance of the season. For much of the game the Tigers won the battle in the trenches. Nearly all of Osceola's total yardage came in the Chieftains' two drives that produced touchdowns. Otherwise, the Tiger defense bottled up Osceola's offense cold.

The Tigers drove 50 yards to set up the first score of the game. The drive started at the Tiger 39 and moved to the Osceola 10 before stalling. Tiger kicker Brian Figueroa then came on to kick a 26-yard field goal, giving the Tigers their first lead of the season.

That score gave the Tigers momentum. They stuffed Osceola's next possession, including Brian Volkert shutting down an option play on third down. After the Tigers punted the ball away, the Tigers were stung by Osceola's big play ability.

Osceola halfback Brett Madlon found a crease in the Tiger defense on a third and short. It looked like he'd go for the touchdown, but he was chased down by Tiger defensive back Dan Powers after a run of 56 yards.

On the next play, Osceola quarterback Kyle Burkhamer kept the ball on the option and rolled 22 yards for the touchdown. The kick failed, so Osceola led 6-3.

The Tigers had another scoring opportunity later in the second quarter. Adam Nirmaier recovered a fumbled punt at the Osceola 30. That set up a 40-yard field goal attempt by Figueroa. The snap on the attempt was high, throwing off the timing. Figueroa still got the kick away, but it fell short.

The half ended with Tiger defensive back Brock Peterson intercepting a long Chieftain pass.

The mood was decidedly different at halftime for the Tigers. There was a buzz among the large crowd of Tiger fans, heightened when Griffin Jameson and Jessica Lutz were crowned as Homecoming King and Queen.

The third quarter started with more strong play from the Tiger defense. Bruce Wry and Volkert each made plays behind the line to shut down Osceola's first possession of the second half.

The teams then traded punts, but the Tigers got the better of the trade. Tony Evans did the Tiger punting and he did an excellent job. In this case, his punt rolled to the Osceola 8. On the first play, Madlon fumbled and Volkert recovered at the Chieftain 15.

The Tigers then pounded the ball toward the goal line. Powers scored on a 1-yard plunge with 1:30 left in the quarter, giving the Tigers the 9-6 lead. Another high snap on the extra point prevented the Tigers from getting a kick away.

The teams then exchanged fruitless possessions. Midway through the fourth quarter the Chieftains started a drive from their own 18. The Chieftains then found a way to spring Madlon on the option. He went 26 yards on one carry and picked up first downs with several others.

The Chieftains drove into Tiger territory, where they faced a third and short. The Chiefs faked a run to Madlon and the Tiger secondary bit on the fake. Receiver Tyler Tarman got behind the Tiger secondary and Burkhamer lofted a pass to him for the go-ahead 27 yard touchdown.

The Tigers did get one more first down, after two tough runs from Chad Aldous. The Tigers then tried to throw deep, and when the receiver was bumped off the pattern, the Osceola safety was able to come over and intercept the pass to dash the Tigers' final hope.

Tiger coach Joe Hutter said the team made immeasurable progress in this game.

"For the first time this year we played four quarters," Hutter said. "The kids know we were close."

Osceola has already beaten two of the Tigers' final three opponents. After playing at Ellsworth this Friday, the Tigers finish the season with a pair of Thursday games. They are at home against Baldwin-Woodville on Oct. 13, and they finish the season with a home game against Prescott on Oct. 20.

Hutter said there were a number of individuals who took important steps forward in this game. The coaches have been looking for Volkert to be a force in every game and he was a constant problem for the Chieftain blockers on Friday. Wry, Nirmaier, Jon Haffner and Colton Green were other players who Hutter praised for advancing their level of play against Osceola.

Osceola 13, New Richmond 9

Osceola 0 6 0 7 13

New Richmond 0 3 6 0 9

Scoring

NR -- Brian Figueroa, 26 yard field goal

Osc -- Kyle Burkhamer, 22 yard run (kick failed)

NR -- Danny Powers, 1 yard run (kick failed)

Osc -- Tyler Tarman, 27 yard pass from Burkhamer (Jake Zuelsdorf kick)

NR Osc

First Downs 9 11

Rushing Yards 131 194

Passing Yards 22 54

Passes 1-9-1 int. 5-8-1 int.

Penalties 3-15 3-25

Rushing

NR -- Chad Aldous 19-76; Dan Powers 18-28; Tony Evans 7-23; Seth Bovis 3-4

Passing

NR -- Tony Evans 1-9-1 int., 22 yards

Receiving

NR -- Matt Knutson 1-22

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Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
(715) 243-7767 x242
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