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Tigers wary of struggling Bears

Northwestern High School’s Jameson Pflug (44) runs out of the grasp of Bloomer’s Collin Bungartz (41) on his way to the end zone during the Tigers’ win last Friday night at Gordon L. Nelson Field in Maple. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

The Northwestern High School football team is looking to extend its winning streak tonight at Barron.

The Golden Bears, meanwhile, are hoping to prevent their losing streak from reaching 20 games.

“By no means are we overlooking anyone,” NHS coach David Crail said. “We will be prepared for Barron.”

Northwestern holds a 3-1 record overall and is 2-0 in the Heart O’ North Conference after wins over Chetek-Weyerhaeuser and Bloomer.

Barron is 0-4 overall and 0-2 in the conference after suffering a 40-6 loss at Spooner last week. The Bears lost to Hayward in their conference opener, 45-8.

Both Northwestern and Barron have given up more points than they’ve scored this season. Barron is averaging 5 points per game and allowing 45.8 points. The Tigers are averaging 18.5 points of offense and allowing 21.5 points.

But Northwestern has fared better since the start of conference play.

After scoring just 13 points total in their first two games of the season, the Tigers rebounded with 41 points against Chetek and 20 against Bloomer.

One factor in the turnaround has been Carter Spangenberg.

Over the past two games, the senior has run for 399 yards on 45 attempts — an average of nearly 9 yards per carry.

In the Tigers’ first two games of the season — a victory over Ashland and a loss to Osceola — he totaled only seven attempts and picked up 6 yards each game.

“He came to us after the Osceola game and said, ‘I want the ball more. Let me carry some of the load,’ ” Crail said. “For a kid to do that I think says a lot about his personality and what he thinks that he can do, and his teammates just have confidence that he’s going to get it done.”

Spangenberg currently leads the HON with an average of 199.5 yards per game in conference play. Bloomer’s Collin Bungartz is second with an average of 115.5.

“I think he just needed to flip the switch personally,” Crail said. “He’s an intense kid, and I just love the way that he plays.”

The Tigers’ passing game is also strong this season. Northwestern has 217 yards passing and 827 yards rushing so far.

“You have to account for it as a defense,” Crail said. “We’ve been in situations before where you didn’t have to account for a split end, and you could really pack the box and really stuff the running game, but we do have the ability to work on the edges. We do have the ability to throw and catch the ball.”

Quarterback Jared Anttila has 187 yards passing in three games this season.

Tyler Little already has three touchdown catches and 119 yards receiving after finishing with six touchdown receptions last year. Newcomer Tanner Klobucher has 75 yards receiving.

“Me and him are duplicates of each other,” Little said. “We’re both 6-3, 6-4 receivers, so we can throw the ball anywhere.”

Today’s game begins at 7 p.m. at Barron High School.

TIGER TALES: Barron’s last win was Sept. 5, 2014 over Ladysmith. The Bears won 18-14. … Barron’s last victory over Northwestern came in 2013, when the Bears won 20-7 at Maple. The past two seasons Northwestern has outscored Barron 124-6.

Spaghetti fundraiser

A spaghetti dinner fundraiser will be held in the NHS cafeteria prior to the Sept. 23 football game between Northwestern and Spooner. The event runs 4-7 p.m. Cost is $8 for adults and $6 for students. Children 6 and under are free.

Money raised goes to the Northwestern Youth Football Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for student-athletes. The Northwestern Youth Football League is open to students in grades 3-8 and teaches football skills while giving students the opportunity to compete in league games throughout the Northland.

For further information, email northwesternyouthfootball@gmail.com.

Drive 4 UR School

Benna Ford Roush is sponsoring a Drive 4 UR School event Sept. 24 at the lower parking lot of Northwestern High School.

Those wishing to participate may stop by from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to test drive a Ford vehicle. Ford will donate $20 per test drive, up to a total of $6,000. Vehicles on hand will include a 2016 Ford Mustang, 2016 Ford F150 and 2017 Ford Escape.

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