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Football: Mistakes muddy the waters for Tigers

Blake Kretovics (7) is being used as a running back and receiver because the Tiger coaches want the ball in his hands as often as possible. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The clear game plan the New Richmond football team had became muddied by turnovers and other mistakes, resulting in the Tigers taking a 21-14 loss at St. Croix Central last Friday.

The lost was the first of the season for the Tigers and it levels their Middle Border Conference record at 1-1.

The Tigers will face another unbeaten opponent this Friday when they host Prescott. The Cardinals are riding high after a 25-12 win at Somerset last Friday improved their record to 4-0.

"That's a dangerous team, when you're 4-0 and you believe," warned New Richmond coach Keith Badger. He said Prescott has an excellent offensive line, led by Weston Bartsch, and capable running backs in Joe Roosen and Joe Schulte.

Cleaning up their own play is the Tigers' chief concern after last Friday's loss at Central. The Tigers had three turnovers, two in prime scoring territory, including an interception in the end zone. The Tigers also committed 62 yards worth of penalties.

The Tigers trailed 21-0 after Central scored with 9:45 left in the fourth quarter. The Tiger passing game hadn't looked good in the first half, but the coaches had to go back to it now, and this time, it produced. The Tigers drove 71 yards, sparked by a catch from Cole Tappe and two scrambles by quarterback Mikah Kier. Noah Towberman finished the drive with a 2-yard run.

Central tried to turn the field with a long pass on its next possession, but Tiger defensive back Dylan Minke intercepted the pass. A long catch by Cole Effertz got the ball into Central territory and he caught another pass for 18 yards. That set up a 19-yard touchdown pass from Kier to Tappe.

That led to a Tiger kickoff with 5:45 remaining. The Tiger defense couldn't get a stop against Central's power running game and the Panthers ran out the clock.

There were players who were bright spots. Tappe was the team's offensive player of the week after catching five passes for 55 yards. Towberman continues to emerge as the team's lead running back, gaining 91 yards on 12 carries. Defensively, Christian Germain was the player of the week, leading the team in defensive points for the second straight week.

"He earned player of the week because of the way he works," Badger said. He said Central's game plan was to run to Germain's side, but he strung out all the Central running attempts to his side.

Badger said all the Tigers' goals for the season are still possible. He said the team needs to clean up its mistakes.

"We need to win some games to get playoff eligible," Badger said.

Badger said he is looking for more players to step up in leadership roles. To accomplish that, he instructed seniors Blake Kretovics and Clayton Van Dyk, the two vocal leaders on the team, not to say anything during the week's practices. It was up to other players to step in as leaders.

Tackle Cancer

Friday's game will be the annual New Richmond football "Tackle Cancer" game. Since 2013, the Tackle Cancer game has raised $5,305, with a record of $1,746 in donations in 2016. The goal is to set a new record this year. All funds go to the Cancer Center of Western Wisconsin, located in New Richmond.

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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