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New Richmond football starts MBC season Friday at Baldwin-Woodville

New Richmond receiver Braeden Gefeke (24) turns upfield after breaking a tackle in the Rice Lake secondary during Friday's game. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

With a new coaching staff, new defensive scheme and many new players, the New Richmond football team used the two preseason games as a time for discovery.

And the Tigers discovered some pretty good things. On Friday, the Tigers hosted Rice Lake, which brings back a highly talented team. The Tigers put up an excellent battle, losing to the Warriors, 36-33.

The time for discovery is over. The Middle Border Conference schedule begins this Friday and the Tigers are hoping they can start on a successful note. The Tigers will play their MBC opener Friday at Baldwin-Woodville.

First-year New Richmond coach Reggie Larson said Baldwin-Woodville works out of several looks on offense, so the Tigers will need to be prepared for a number of different possibilities.

“Everything we want to accomplish is still out there in front of us,” Larson said.

The coaches are hoping the Tigers can build on the progress they showed between the first and second games. After a 35-7 loss against River Falls in the season opener, the Tigers came back with plenty of positive signs against Rice Lake.

The Tigers opened the game with a 51-yard scoring drive that ran 8:35 off the clock. The momentum of that opening score was wiped out seconds later when the Tigers let Marquez Clarveaux return the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown.

That was the way the game went, with the teams swapping scores for much of the night. Rice Lake mostly scored on big plays, while the Tigers used a ball control offense that mixed passing and running to produce consistent results.

The Tigers finished with 387 yards of offense, compared to 361 for the Warriors. The Tigers discovered that quarterback Joey Kidder is quite capable of handling the offense. He completed 16-28 passes and he had at least five other passes dropped by receivers. Tim Salmon also showed a strong arm, zipping a 29-yard touchdown pass to Nolan Eckert that put the Tigers ahead 21-20 heading into halftime. The Tigers finished with 235 yards passing for the night.

New Richmond’s running game was also productive. Cooper Strand did most of the ball carrying, finishing with 91 yards on 17 carries. He showed he can pick up tough yardage between the tackles, but also has the burst to pick up good yardage when he gets through the line.

The Tigers also showed they have some fight in them. Rice Lake scored with 7:28 left in the game to lead 36-27. Facing a two-score deficit, it would have been easy for the Tigers to give up. Instead, they nearly pulled out the win.

Rice Lake got the ball back and drove to the Tiger 4, before the Tigers stopped that charge. The Tigers then went on a 96-yard drive, which was started by a 47-yard pass connection from Kidder to Drew Momchilovich. The Tigers scored with 32 seconds left in the game, when Kidder found Momchilovich again, this time from three yards out.

The Tigers now trailed 36-33. They tried the onside kick and Strand recovered the ball at the Rice Lake 45. The Tigers tried four passes, but all fell incomplete, the last one coming as the clock ran out.

Anders LeMire and Christian Germain were two players Larson lauded for their work on defense. He said LeMire did a good job from his noseguard spot of controlling Rice Lake’s interior running game.

“Christian has an incredible motor. Being a flex puts him in a position to be around the ball a lot.”

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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