This is how Big Rivers Conference football is going to be.
The New Richmond Tigers took an undefeated record to Chippewa Falls on Friday. Chippewa is one of several BRC programs that have long and successful histories. The Tigers and Cardinals locked into a highly intense game, with Chippewa earning a 21-14 victory. Both teams now hold 4-1 overall records with a 2-1 mark in the BRC.
This was Chippewa’s homecoming game and the Cards brought an incredible energy to the game. The Tigers certainly matched it. The Tigers held the ball for more than eight minutes to start the game, but they came away without any points when a near touchdown pass was broken up in the end zone.
The Cards answered by driving 85 yards for the opening score. The Tigers immediately went on a march that tied the score. The CF defense was focused on stopping Tiger halfback Andrew Trandahl, so the Tigers tried to mix up their offense, including more passes. It took four tries from inside the 3-yard line, but the Tigers got the tying score when Trandahl leapt over a pile of bodies at the goal line.
With the next drive and into the third quarter, the CF offense found ways to attack the Tiger defense. Chippewa ran outside with success, getting the go-ahead score with 1:26 left in the first half.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Cards scored on an 18-yard run early in the first quarter to lead 21-7.
The Tigers then relied heavily on the passing game to move down the field. Drew Effertz scored on a 10-yard catch to cut the margin to 21-14 with seven minutes left in the game. The Tiger defense produced a stop and the Tigers had a chance to drive for the tying score. The Tigers moved the ball up the field quickly, but Chippewa Falls intercepted a pass at its own 3-yard line in the final minute to end the threat.
This was the second straight game where the Tigers faced an opponent who was coming off a forfeit, meaning they had an extra week to prepare for the Tigers. New Richmond coach Reggie Larson said that was a major factor Friday. He said Chippewa added so many new wrinkles for this game, that the Tiger coaches threw out their game plan at halftime and quickly cobbled together a new plan for the second half.
Chippewa had its defense planned to shut down Trandahl. He finished the game with 98 yards on 26 carries, with his longest carry covering 24 yards. Larson said the Tigers need to expect that defensive approach in every game. He said the passing game needs to continue to evolve. Quarterback Seamus Scanlan completed 14 of 20 passes for 142 yards on Friday. Seven Tiger receivers caught passes, led by Effertz, who had five catches for 81 yards.
Larson said he was pleased with the Tigers’ resilience, for responding with good efforts several times after Chippewa Falls had gained the momentum.
The Tigers face another BRC powerhouse next Friday when they host Menomonie. The Mustangs have the same record as the Tigers and they have a 21-14 win over Chippewa Falls to their credit. This will be the Tigers’ 2021 Homecoming game.