New Richmond football in playoffs, hoping for fifth straight win
After an 0-4 start to the season, the New Richmond football team has won four straight games and has turned into a formidable unit.
The Tigers won their fourth straight game when they went to Amery last Friday and overpowered the Warriors, 39-20. This win assured the Tigers a place in the WIAA state football playoffs. The Tigers can further help their playoff seeding with a win this Friday in their regular season finale against Osceola. Friday's game will be Senior Night and New Richmond's annual "Tackle Cancer" game.
The Tigers look nothing like the team that was searching for an identity in the first weeks of the season. The Tigers are now playing well on both sides of the ball. The offense has become dynamic, with an ability to create big plays on the ground or through the air.
It seems that in every game a new offensive weapon is emerging. In Friday's game, it was senior Talon Seckora. Seckora had already shown he can get the tough yardage between the tackles. In Friday's game, he showed the ability to break big plays. He had runs of 57 and 25 yards, plus a 17-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. He finished with 160 yards in 18 carries.
"He's come a long way for not having played tailback for a long time," Tiger head coach Reggie Larson said.
Seckora was one of two Tiger backs who rushed for 100 yards. Junior Joe Powers gained exactly 100 yards on 14 carries, including a 43-yard carry early in the game.
The Tigers finished with 299 yards rushing and 228 yards passing. With each game, Tim Salmon looks more comfortable as the Tiger quarterback. He completed 11 of 17 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns at Amery. One of the reasons for the passing success is the Tigers' depth at receiver. Five different receivers caught passes in Friday's game, with Cole Effertz, Joey Kidder and Drew Momchilovich each catching three balls. Kidder, Braeden Gefeke and Nolan Eckert were on receiving efforts of touchdown passes.
The Tiger defense played well for parts of the game, but they struggled in stopping Amery standout running back Lance Waalen. He rushed for 242 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
New Richmond's offense was sharp in the first half, building up a 26-7 lead by halftime. In the third quarter both offenses struggled. Amery scored early in the fourth quarter to cut the margin to 26-14. The Tigers were then able to restart the offense, scoring the next two possessions to build the lead to 39-14.
Coach Larson said the Tigers still need to show the ability to put teams away. The Tigers will get challenged again this Friday when they host Osceola. The Chieftains upset Ellsworth 28-16 last Friday. With a win, Osceola could conceivably still make the WIAA playoffs.
Larson said the credit for making the playoffs should all go to the Tiger players.
"They had every opportunity to cash it in. We are getting a lot better on offense and defense. We said all year we wanted to play our best ball at the end of the season and I think we're getting there," Larson said.