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Fall sports hits full speed this week

The 2006 fall sports hits full stride this week, including the start of the 2006 football seasons for all three local schools.

The New Richmond and Somerset football teams will make their 2006 debuts with road games on Friday. New Richmond will be playing at River Falls, while Somerset takes on a new opponent, playing at Hudson. Both games start at 7 p.m. on Friday.

St. Croix Central's football team will get an early start to the 2006 season. The Panthers will play at 5 p.m. on Thursday. They will be facing Ellsworth, with the game being played at UW-Stout as part of a two-day showcase of high school football.

The New Richmond football team gave an encouraging performance during their scrimmage over the weekend, facing Merrill, Onalaska and Chippewa Falls. The Tigers were able to move the ball consistently on the ground and through the air. The defense also gave reason for encouragement, outside of a few missed assignments that the coaches hope to have ironed out for the opener.

No game in western Wisconsin has received more pre-season buzz than the clash between Somerset and Hudson. There is plenty of intrigue in the matchup. How will Hudson, the largest school in the country with an enrollment of 1,624 students, fare against a school barely a quarter its size? Somerset has an enrollment of 441 students, but is the defending State Division 5 runner-up.

The St. Croix Central-Ellsworth clash should also be a thriller. Each team is being ranked among the favorites in its respective conference and both teams bring plenty of offensive talent into the game.

New Richmond's boys soccer season gets underway on Thursday with a home game against Christian Heritage School.

The Tiger cross country team starts its season on Saturday, running at Eau Claire North. The St. Croix Central runners begin their season on Thursday with a meet in Boyceville.

The Somerset volleyball team starts its season at Saturday at Spring Valley. St. Croix Central's team starts Thursday in a quad meet at Hayward. The New Richmond volleyball season started Tuesday and the Tigers will be back in action in a meet next Tuesday in Hudson.