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Football: New Richmond's inexperience shows in 2018 opener

New Richmond's Joe Powers converted a screen pass into a 59-yard touchdown in the first half of Friday's game at River Falls. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

The New Richmond football team starts the 2018 season on the young side.

That youth showed in the season opener. The Tigers had some bright spots, but also made some mistakes of inexperience in a 35-7 loss to River Falls at Ramer Field on the UW-River Falls campus.

The Tigers will face another opponent from the Big Rivers Conference this Friday, when New Richmond hosts Rice Lake in the Tigers' 2018 home opener. Rice Lake opened the season last Friday with a 46-32 win over Medford.

First-year New Richmond coach Reggie Larson left Friday's game highly impressed with how much River Falls has improved. River Falls received 301 passing yards from quarterback Logan Graetz, a North Dakota State University recruit. Larson was most impressed with Wildcat halfback Seth Kohel, who ran for 148 yards and caught a 65-yard touchdown pass in Friday's game.

This was the first game for the Tigers using their new 5-3 double-flex defense. There were times the defense looked good. On the first play from scrimmage, Christian Germain broke through to sack Graetz. But Graetz and his receivers at times picked apart the Tiger defense, using crossing patterns over the middle, with Graetz hitting his receivers in stride for numerous big plays.

The Tiger offense at times moved the ball, but struggled for the consistency needed to maintain drives. The big play for the Tigers came late in the first quarter. Halfback Joe Powers caught a middle screen pass from Joey Kidder. Powers then burst toward the right sideline, leaving several Wildcat defenders in the dust as he scored on a 59-yard touchdown. That score cut the Wildcat lead to 14-7. It remained that score until River Falls scored twice in the final minutes of the half to break the game open, 28-7.

"We're closer than the score indicates," Larson said. "There's a lot to be encouraged about."

New Richmond finished the game with 66 yards rushing and 77 yards passing. River Falls finished with 468 yards.

The Tigers had about a month to learn the new defense since Larson's late hiring and Larson said the coaches tried to teach the most important aspects in that short period of time.

"We're using a super condensed version and the kids are still learning," Larson said. Larson said the Tigers did a good job of getting themselves in position to make plays on defense, but the team needs to do a much better job of tackling.

Where the Tigers bring back the most experience is among the linemen. Larson said that showed, especially on defense, where the Tigers were able to pressure Graetz on a number of pass attempts.

River Falls 35, New Richmond 7


RF -- Peyton Flood, 37 yard pass from Logan Graetz (Bodey Seidl kick)

RF -- Jared Creen, 35 yard pass from Graetz (Seidl kick)

NR -- Joe Powers, 59 yard pass from Joey Kidder (Jacob Parent kick)

RF -- Seth Kohel, 65 yard pass from Graetz (Seidl kick)

RF --- Joe Stoffel, 19yard pass from Graetz (Seidl kick)

RF -- Jake Miller, 16 yard run (Seidl kick)

New Richmond rushing

Cooper Strand 10-31; Joe Powers 7-26; Tim Salmon 2-7; Joey Kidder 12-1; Talon Seckora 1-1

New Richmond passing

Joey Kidder 2-10-0 int.; 67 yards; Tim Salmon 0-3

New Richmond receiving

Joe Powers 1-59; Braeden Gefeke 1-20; Drew Momchilovich 1-8

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 more than 30 years.

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