A season after not posting a single shutout, the Northwestern High School football team now has two in a row in its first three games of the 2019 season.
After a season-opening 28-14 win at Spooner, the Tigers’ stingy defense has allowed just 195 total yards (77 rushing) in wins over Ladysmith (42-0) and Hayward (49-0).
They were so dominating against Hayward, they controlled the ball for 38 minutes to just nine for the Hurricanes.
“The defense impressed again last Friday,” NHS coach Jovin Kroll said. “We’ve had a really difficult time preventing the big play against Ladysmith the last few years, and the players really focused on staying true to their keys to prevent that from happening this year.”
In last week's win at Ladysmith, the Lumberjacks managed just 122 yards, including 57 rushing.
The Tigers pestered Ladysmith quarterback Peyton Rogers all game. Adam Thompson sacked him twice; Cameron Kimmes and Jagar Stillson recorded a sack each; and Stillson and Brennan Werner intercepted passes.
The Tigers’ defense had allowed 18 receptions for 120 yards on the season, but to counter those numbers, they have 6.5 sacks, five tackles for losses and five interceptions.
The Tigers have seven players with double digit tackles, led by Werner with 18. Bryson Mazur and Thompson both have 13; Dayne Evanson and Stillson have 12 each; Titus Graden has 11; and Nick Makela 10.
Thompson also has three, and Jagar Stillson has three of the Tigers; five interceptions.
The Tigers will attempt to make three straight shutouts this week, but will have their work cut out for them against a Cumberland team that is also 3-0 on the season.
The Beavers’ wins are over Ladysmith (56-26), St. Croix Falls (20-18) and Barron (50-0).
“This will be our toughest test to date,” NHS coach Jovin Kroll said. “They were a preseason favorite coming into the year, and they haven't disappointed with a 3-0 record.
“Their offense is exceptional, and they had a 50-0 shutout win last week. We will have our hands full on Friday.”
The Beavers piled up 429 yards against Barron, including 251 yards passing and 178 rushing.
Cumberland allowed 84 yards passing, but limited Barron to -78 yards rushing on 15 carries.
Maddux Allen was 11-of-15 passing for 241 yards and four touchdowns. Jack Marten caught two of the TDs among his seven receptions for 99 yards.
Riley Otto was the top Cumberland rusher with 64 yards on six carries.
Overall, Allen is 33-of-51 passing for 734 yards, nine TDs and one interception.
Otto had 209 yards rushing and Martens has caught 26 passes for 436 yards and six TDs.
Despite last week’s lopsided win over Ladysmith, the Tigers only score in the first quarter was Bryson Mazur’s 59-yard TD run.
“Offensively, we came out a little slow,” Kroll said. “But we made a few adjustments early and hit some big plays. The two-minute drill before the half was really well run by the offense.
“In the second quarter, in which we scored three touchdowns, we were 60/40 pass vs. run, which will be a continued emphasis for our offense this year.”
Tiger quarterback Jake Brill is 18-of-28 passing for 298 yards and four TDs.
Mazur leads the Tigers on the ground with 257 yards and three TDs. Following are Colin Trautt (173 yards, 4 TDs), Brill (154 yards) and Werner (139 yards).
Mazur also leads the Tigers with four catches for 112 yards and one TD. Dayne Evanson has four catches for 76 yards, and Colin Trautt has seven catches for 71 yards.
TIGER TALES: All NHS football games are carried live at ifan.tv and WNXR 107.3 FM.