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New Richmond football overpowered by Prescott, faces Somerset

Tiger receiver Austin Juhl (4) breaks into the open field on one of his four catches against Prescott on Friday.

At this stage in its evolution, the New Richmond football team has to play a finesse style.

The Tigers do their best to offset the size advantage some opponents have over them.  Despite being much smaller along the front lines, the Tigers were nearly able to upend Prescott on Friday, losing to the Cardinals 21-14 at the New Richmond Football Stadium.

The loss drops the Tigers to 1-2 in the Middle Border Conference and 1-4 overall.

Prescott did its best to hand over the game to the Tigers during the first quarter on Friday. Prescott fumbled the ball away three times in the opening quarter. The Tigers finally made it hurt after the third turnover. Senior halfback Connor O’Loughlin threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Austin Juhl on the opening play of the second quarter. Cam Hausman’s extra point made the lead 7-0.

The Prescott coaches must have gotten tired of the fumbles by this point too. Instead of sticking with the deception and perimeter plays, the Cards switched to a straight-ahead power attack in the second quarter. Prescott put together scoring drives of 71 and 55 yards in the second quarter to pull ahead 14-7.

The Tiger coaches made similar adjustments at halftime. Instead of trying to outmuscle the much larger Prescott front line, the Tigers tried to use their quickness to their advantage. Quarterback Sevin Davis found Allan Wollenberg for 24 yards on a swing pass on the opening play of the second half, starting a march that went deep into Prescott territory. Two consecutive false start penalties halted the Tiger drive.

Prescott wasted no time in answering. The Cards marched 67 yards, with Jack Geiger running an inside reverse for the 24-yard touchdown.

The Tigers almost completely committed to the passing game late in the fourth quarter and it produced results.

“We had to change our scheme. We were having no success,” said Tiger coach Keith Badger.

The Tigers marched 68 yards after a missed Prescott field goal attempt for their second touchdown. The score came on a 25-yard swing pass from Davis to halfback Connor O’Loughlin with 2:41 left in the game.

By getting a quick defensive stop, the Tigers were able to get one more possession and they nearly capitalized. The Tigers got a pair of first downs on passes from Davis to tight end Keilan Mehls. The Tigers got the ball to the Prescott 38 before being stopped on downs with 12 seconds left on the clock.

The difference in the front lines was shown in the success of the ground games. Prescott was able to gain 212 yards on the ground while the Tigers could manage just 72 yards on 22 carries. The Tiger passing attack did show further growth in this game, with 17 completions in 31 attempts for 183 yards.

Badger said the progress made by Juhl and Derek Dowd at receiver has been a reason behind the improvement in the passing game.

“Juhl is about as sure-handed as anybody, the same with Dowd. They’re solid kids and they work hard,” Badger said.

The Tigers face another major test this Friday when they travel to Somerset for the Spartans’ Homecoming game. Somerset is coming off its first loss of the season, a 27-8 defeat at the hands of Ellsworth.

“It will be a crazy night, a crazy atmosphere,” 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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