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New Richmond football hosts BW Friday

New Richmond quarterback Sevin Davis (7) hands off to senior halfback Connor O'Loughlin during the Tigers' season opener against River Falls.

Scheduling difficult non-conference opponents is done in the hopes the competition level will raise the team’s skill level. That’s what the New Richmond football team is hoping after opening the season against Big Rivers Conference teams from River Falls and Rice Lake.

The Tigers went to Rice Lake last Friday knowing they were facing a potential buzzsaw in a highly talented Warrior team. Their scouting reports proved correctly. Rice Lake matched the superlatives, rolling past the Tigers 41-0.

The non-conference portion of the schedule is now completed. The Tigers begin their Middle Border Conference season this Friday with a home game against Baldwin-Woodville. The Blackhawks are coming off a 29-28 loss to Spooner.

B-W has moved several of its returning players to new positions. Logan Weyer shifted from halfback to quarterback and Brody Peterson moved from quarterback to receiver. B-W will try to beat the Tigers with a diverse ground attack led by Weyer and running backs Joe Nawrocki and Devon Sundstrom.

“I expect them to be a good team,” said New Richmond coach Keith Badger. “They have some good individuals.”

The Tigers fully expect to be able to compete with the Blackhawks.

“I feel confident in our ability,” Badger said. “Getting into conference play we need to be fundamentally sound and do what we do best.”

Badger said the Tigers came out of Friday’s game healthy, though many of the players were sore from hits they received from the physical Rice Lake team. Starting lineman Ben Peterson missed the Rice Lake game, with Michael Steel moving in to replace him. Badger said he expected Peterson to be recovered enough to play this Friday.

The Tiger coaches have been promoting a strong, positive attitude this season. Badger said he saw that carry through even though the Tigers were beaten in a one-sided game.

“A couple kids got smacked (on hits by Rice Lake players),” but they popped right back up,” Badger said.

He said that mental toughness is a step that the Tigers need as they build toward being a successful program.

“We won’t see an offense or defense like that again,” Badger said. “We’ll see some good offenses and defenses in the conference, but to compete against a team like that says a lot. After seeing them in person, there’s no doubt (Rice Lake) will compete for the Big Rivers (Conference) title.”

The Tigers were able to stop Rice Lake on the Warriors’ first possession of Friday’s game. The Tigers’ second possession came to an abrupt end when a pass from quarterback Sevin Davis was intercepted. Rice Lake quickly converted the turnover into its first points, a 35-yard pass from Shawn McGee to Nick Webber.

Rice Lake scored two touchdowns in each of the three quarters.

The Tigers’ deepest penetration was a drive that got to the Rice Lake 30-yard line.

Rice Lake completely shut down the Tigers’ running game. The Tigers were able to gain nine yards on 25 carries.

The Tigers were more successful in the passing game, with Davis completing 12-20 attempts. Tight end Keilan Mehls was his top target, catching five passes for 54 yards.

Badger said there was no regret in facing an opponent of this quality.

“We choose to play teams like this because this is where we want to be some day,” Badger said.

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.
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