The Northwestern and Superior High School football teams will continue preparing for the upcoming season with scrimmages Friday, Aug. 16.
Northwestern will host a scrimmage for the first time in many years, while Superior will once again scrimmage in Rice Lake.
The Tigers will be joined by Ashland and Hurley at Gordon L. Nelson Field in Maple.
Northwestern and Ashland will begin the day at 10 a.m., followed by Hurley vs. Ashland and Northwestern vs. Ashland.
“When you lose 16 of 22 starters you have a lot of things to sort out,” NHS coach Jovin Kroll said. “We have a lot of new guys in new places so we need to figure out where the right places are for them to be.”
The Tigers open play in the revamped Heart O’ North Conference Friday, Aug. 23, at Spooner.
With the addition of Cameron and St. Croix Falls, Northwestern will play nine conference games, leaving them without the luxury of two non-conference games.
“There’s no two weeks of trial and error, you have to know where you’re at in week one,” Kroll said. “That’s the disadvantage of having the schedule we have this year, but it’s the same for everybody in the HON.
“We just need to figure it out real quick because we have one our biggest opponent right off the bat in Spooner.”
The Tigers (11-1, 7-0 HON) take on a Rail team that went 6-3 overall and finished second in the HON at 5-2.
The HON will take on a new look again in 2020 when Hayward leaves for the Great Northern Conference and Ladysmith for the Lakeland Conference.
The Tigers will then be back to playing seven conference games after non-conference tilts against Ashland and Rice Lake.
The Spartans, Somerset, Hayward will join the host Warriors at the Rice Lake scrimmage.
Superior’s schedule begins with Hayward at noon.
While the Spartans are all set with senior quarterback Jarrett Gronski, there are plenty of other positions up for grabs.
“We’re still looking to find out how physical we’re going to be,” SHS coach Bob DeMeyer said. “We also want to make sure we have kids in the right positions. We want to find those things out as soon as possible so we can get ready for our two non-conference games and get things worked out before our conference season.”
The Spartans’ nonconference games are at Somerset on Aug. 23 and home against Merrill on Aug. 30.
The Spartans open Big Rivers Conference play by hosting Eau Claire North on Sept. 6.
DeMeyer isn’t worried about scrimmaging against teams (Somerset and Rice Lake) they will play during the regular season.
“We’re all looking to find out the same things and there’s a lot of things we all have to figure out,” DeMeyer said. “You also want to keep everybody healthy, so everybody runs pretty vanilla things on both sides of the ball.”