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Ruffi runs wild in Tigers’ season-ending win

Northwestern High School's Reagan Ruffi (7) runs away from a Cumberland player during last week's game in Maple. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)1 / 6
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Mike Granlund

For The Telegram

The Northwestern High School football team tuned up for the WIAA playoffs with a 56-20 win Friday night at Ladysmith.

Junior Reagan Ruffi rushed for 305 yards and four touchdowns for the Tigers, who improved to 6-3 overall and finished in a tie for second place in the Heart O’ North Conference with Chetek-Weyerhaeuser and Cumberland at 5-2.

The Lumberjacks’ season ends with records of 3-6 and 1-6.

Andrew Hanson also rushed for 102 yards and three touchdowns; sophomore Bryson Mazur had a 63-yard touchdown run; and Isaac Nichols was 8-for-8 on extra-point kicks.

The Tigers found out on Saturday that they will travel Friday to play Coulee Conference champion Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau in the first round of the WIAA D-4 playoffs.

The winner will play either Mauston or defending state champion St. Croix Central the following week.

The top seed in the region is Osceola, ranked No. 1 among D-4 teams. HON champion Bloomer is also in the same region, hosting Ellsworth.

Friday’s game began ominously for Northwestern as Ladysmith quarterback Jared Dieckman found a wide open Caden Dupee for a 74-yard touchdown pass and catch on the second play from scrimmage. The extra-point kick followed for a 7-0 Lumberjack lead.

The Tigers proceeded to score on each of their next five possessions to go into halftime up 35-7.

Northwestern’s touchdowns included Hanson’s 3-yard run after a long drive; a one-play drive after a Kade Bartelt interception; Ruffi’s 45-yard score; Hanson again from 5 yards out; Ruffi from 59 yards on the first play of the drive; and Hanson’s third touchdown was  from 16 yards out.

Ruffi began the second half getting his third score on a 26-yard run.

With the game in running time, Ladysmith reeled the Tigers in with a couple of Nathan Roach touchdowns, the first a 39-yard pass from Dieckman and the second on a 19-yard run.

Northwestern ended the scoring with touchdowns from Ruffi and Mazur’s 63-yard run.

Ruffi’s 305 yards gives him an even 1,500 on the season. Andrew Hanson ended with 106 yards rushing to go along with his three touchdowns and Bryson Mazur added 76 yards on three carries as the Tigers amassed 505 yards on the ground.

Bartelt completed 3-of-6 passes, all to Brody Payton, for 69 yards. Keegan Plasch and Bartelt had interceptions.

Hanson led the Tigers with 10 tackles, Gervase Thompson IV added eight and Tyler Ronning had six.

 

Northwestern........... 14      21       7     14   —   56

Ladysmith................ 7       0       7      6   —   20

 

Heart O’ North Conference

2017 Final Standings

x-Bloomer (8-1)..................................... 6-1

y--Cumberland (6-3).............................. 5-2

y-Northwestern (6-3).................................. 5-2

y-Chetek-Weyer. (7-2)........................... 5-2

y-Spooner (5-4)..................................... 4-3

Hayward (2-7)........................................ 2-5

Ladysmith (3-6)..................................... 1-6

Barron (0-9)........................................... 0-7

X-champions; y-qualified for playoffs

Friday, Oct. 13

Bloomer 38, Barron 20

Chetek-Weyerhaeuser 41, Spooner 6

Cumberland 34, Hayward 13

Northwestern 56, Ladysmith 20

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