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Tigers hit the road with 1-0 record

Northwestern’s Dakota Woerle (34) is congratulated by coach David Crail after Woerle recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown against Ashland last Friday in Maple. NHS plays at Grantsburg tonight. (Jed Carlson/

In its second non-conference game of the season, the Northwestern High School football team hopes to smooth out a few wrinkles from its season opener.

Limiting turnovers tops the to-do list.

The Tigers committed three fumbles in the span of five minutes in their 33-12 victory over Ashland. Two came on back-to-back plays that forced the Tigers to end their drive with a field goal. The other came at Ashland’s 6-yard line and gave possession to the Oredockers.

“Certainly the biggest issue was execution,” said Dennis Scherz, Tigers head coach. “We should have scored probably four more touchdowns in the first half.”

Northwestern struggled with its center exchange in the first quarter and may have given in to some first-game nerves, Scherz said.

“The quarterback position was rattled,” he said. “We weren’t able to do the things we want to do, but we’ve got a lot of things they can do. We won’t be afraid to use them, but it will be a slow progression.

“The first varsity experience for a player is tough. You’ve got to be a special kid to walk in there and play flawless ball.”

Both Nicholas Johnson and Matthew Lindsay spent time at quarterback in Northwestern’s season opener. Scherz said each player had good moments during the game, but the Tigers need greater consistency at quarterback. He anticipates competition between Johnson, a junior, and Lindsay, a sophomore, for the quarterback position.

“Nick’s young, Matt’s young; we’re not giving up on either one of them,” he said. “They’re both athletic kids that are fun to work with.”

Against the Grantsburg Pirates tonight, the Tigers will face a team with a strong passing game.

Scherz said he expects an “aerial show” from Grantsburg quarterback Tristan Brewer.

“The kid’s a really good quarterback,” Scherz said. “We saw him at UMD, and he’s got good receivers.

“Our game plan will be to keep the ball.”

Northwestern gave up a few long passes in its season opener with Ashland, but Scherz said he has confidence in the Tiger secondary.

Grantsburg opened its season with a 43-0 victory over Cumberland Friday night.

Brewer threw for 217 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. His favorite target was Tony Britton, who finished the night with seven catches for 180 yards.

In last year’s non-conference match-up in Maple, the Tigers slipped by Grantsburg, 45-34. Northwestern needed a field goal in the third quarter and a touchdown in the fourth to secure its win.

Tonight’s game begins at 7 p.m. in Grantsburg.