MAPLE — Northwestern senior running back Colin Trautt had no idea he had rushed for more than 200 yards, a career-high, until the Tigers’ statistician came up to him as he walked off the field and told him about it.
Of course, Trautt thought that was cool, but he was more impressed by the win.
“I just run the ball,” he said.
Trautt rushed 27 times for 239 yards and two touchdowns as Northwestern steamrolled Bloomer 41-6 Friday night in a Heart O’ North Conference high school football game before a COVID-friendly crowd of about 600 at Gordon L. Nelson Field in Maple for the Tigers’ home opener.
You don’t do that against any team, let alone a team of Bloomer’s caliber.
“No, you don’t,” Trautt said. “We had good push on the line. We had a couple guys go out, but we just kept working hard. We stuck to it and got it done.”
Yes, these Tigers (2-0) are good. They’re certainly not a one-man team, as evidenced by a powerful rushing attack that ran for more than 350 yards on the ground and a suffocating defense that held Bloomer (1-1) to less than 100 yards of offense.
“Collin understands the offense and knows where to be, how to work with his fullbacks and line and what to see in the secondary as far as his cutbacks into the second level,” Northwestern coach Jovin Kroll said. “He’s a special kid.”
Temperature at opening kickoff was a chilly 39 degrees, but with no wind, the American flag was almost hidden beind the flagpole it was so calm. Folks came prepared.
It had to be a treat for the fans in attendance just to have football back in town, and it sure sounded like it. The crowd was restricted to 600 (if that), a precaution due to the coronavirus pandemic, and there were no concessions, but they certainly were vocal.
“Our team faced a lot of adversity tonight,” Kroll said. “Our top senior lineman (Adam Thompson) went out with a shoulder injury in the first quarter, but we helped each other out and got through it. We got the score into running time, which is always a goal, but you don’t see that against Bloomer. That’s really a statement to how hard these kids have worked, and how well they work together.”
Northwestern came in ranked eighth in Division 4. Bloomer was fifth in Division 5. Divisions aside, this one didn’t look that close, though the Blackhawks were only down 7-0 after the first quarter.
The Northwestern defense forced the Blackhawks (1-1) to go to the air, not exactly their forte, and it didn’t go well as the Tigers had six tackles for loss, including two by sophomore Tanner Kaufman.
“Our defense has been unreal the last two years, we just have everybody in our conference on lockdown,” said Trautt, who also plays safety. “We have a great defensive coordinator (Cody Fechtelkotter) who studies film and who will literally be studying film tonight. He’s a great coach.”
Northwestern fullback Brennen “Bull” Werner added a pair of short touchdowns and junior Austin Schlies put the exclamation mark on it for the Tigers with a 25-yard TD run in which he hurdled a defender.
Trautt also knows something about improvising, running over guys when need be, and using a nice stiff arm.
“Thank you, I try,” he said, smiling.
Next up for Northwestern is another home contest, this one against St. Croix Falls (1-1), followed by another HON showdown Oct. 16 at Cumberland (2-0).
Northwestern has outscored its first two opponents 103-6. Bloomer finished 4-for-14 through the air. Junior quarterback Jack Strand throws a nice ball but didn’t have much time to show it off. He was harassed the whole night, including being sacked four times.
“They’re good — really good — but we’re pretty good, too,” Strand said. “I wasn’t expecting that. I tried not to focus on the pass rush, I tried to stick to executing, but it was tough to get into a rhythm.”