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Tigers host powerful Osceola

Northwestern High School’s Brody Payton (81) runs down field after making an interception in the second quarter of Friday’s game at Ashland. (Jed Carlson /

The Northwestern High School football team has its work cut out for them when they host the Osceola Chieftains at 7 tonight at Gordon L. Nelson Athletic Complex.

Fresh off a season-opening 14-8 win over the Ashland Oredockers, the Tigers find themselves going up against an Osceola team that has outscored them 147-15 in their last three meetings, including 47-0 last season.

Osceola also defeated the Tigers 48-0 during the 2015 regular season and then again 52-15 in a Division 4 Level 2 playoff game. The Chieftains went on to win the state championship with a 28-0 win over Lodi 28-0.

“The reality is that Osceola has dominated us the past two seasons,” NHS coach Jovin Kroll said. “That is a fact, and the kids know this fact. Now, the question to be asked of our players is ‘what are we going to do to start to change that pattern?’

“What the kids need to realize is that most of the participants from those games are gone, many have graduated, and the pendulum swings back and forth quickly in high school sports.”

Osceola opened the season with a 36-21 win over Wausau East.

The Chieftains had 401 yards on offense compared to 250 for Wausau East.

Osceola’s roster includes 17 seniors, including quarterback Brett Carlson, who was 5-of-7 passing for 125 yards and one touchdown against Wausau East.

The Chieftains scored on their first three possessions of the game and eventually opened up a 27-0 lead on a 35-yard touchdown run by Jack Feldt, who finished with 115 yards rushing on seven carries.

Michael Koehler added 56 yards and three touchdowns and Reid Jones added 50 yards.

“Osceola looks like an extremely well-polished, aggressive, and fast football team again this year,” Kroll said. “Friday is an opportunity to really see where we are at as a program, as we are playing a program that, along with St. Croix Central, is sitting at the top of the mountain.”

Andrew Hanson scored all 14 of Northwestern’s points on its first two possessions of the game, including  touchdown runs of 5 and 8 yards out. He also ran in for the two-point conversion to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead.

Northwestern finished with 215 yards of offense, all on the ground, led by Hanson with 102 yards and Ruffi with 90.

Defensively the Tigers were led by Tyler Ronning and Alex Isakson with nine tackles each. Kade Bartelt and Gervase Thompson IV were in on eight each, and sophomore Jager Stillson was in on seven tackles.

TIGER TALES: Tonight’s game will carried live on and WNXR 107.3 FM.