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Tigers host undefeated Blackhawks

The Northwestern Tigers and Bloomer Blackhawks are poised for another memorable showdown today at the Gordon L. Nelson Athletic Complex in Maple. Both Northwestern and Bloomer won their Heart O' North Conference openers last week and are in the h...

The Northwestern Tigers and Bloomer Blackhawks are poised for another memorable showdown today at the Gordon L. Nelson Athletic Complex in Maple.

Both Northwestern and Bloomer won their Heart O’ North Conference openers last week and are in the hunt for a conference title.

The Blackhawks are a perfect 3-0 this season and ranked No. 8 among Division 4 schools in Wisconsin, while Northwestern is 2-1.

“The game against Bloomer is always a game that we look forward to,” Northwestern coach David Crail said. “We know that we are going to get their best game, something that we have come to expect out of this rivalry.”

Until last season, the Blackhawks had dominated, not only against Northwestern but in the conference as a whole. Bloomer was undefeated in conference play for two seasons before going 5-2 last year.

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Northwestern handed Bloomer one of its losses in 2015, and in the process, snapped a five-game losing streak against the Blackhawks.

Wide receiver Tyler Little scored the go-ahead touchdown in that game on a 92-yard reception. So far this season, Little has seven catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. Fellow senior Tanner Klobucher leads the Tigers in yards receiving with 75.

On the ground, Carter Spangenberg had a breakout game last week in Northwestern’s 41-33 victory over Chetek-Weyerhaeuser.

The senior ran for 211 yards on 25 carries. Jameson Pflug added 75 yards on 14 attempts.

“We need to continue to take steps forward with our offense,” Crail said. “We showed some glimpses of what our offense can do last week against Chetek, but we need to keep progressing.”

The Blackhawks defeated Spooner 39-6 in their conference opener Sept. 2.

Bloomer scored four of its five touchdowns on running plays. The fifth came courtesy of the Blackhawks’ defense when Brandon Johnson returned a fumble for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Collin Bungartz scored Bloomer’s first touchdown on a 2-yard run in the first quarter and finished the game with a team-high 136 yards rushing.

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Zach Ruf, Isaiah Meinen and Phillip Jorstad finished with one TD each, and Ruf also added three two-point conversion scores.

Bloomer is averaging 28.3 points of offense this season and giving up 12.7 points per game. The Blackhawks have put up 586 yards rushing and 151 passing.

On defense, Bloomer has capitalized on turnovers. The Blackhawks had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries in their season opener. In week two, Bloomer picked off three passes, and the Blackhawks repeated that performance in week three.

“I am expecting this year’s game to be a good battle,” Crail said. “Over the first three games they have shown that they again have a strong running game and a quality defense. We will have our work cut out for use to slow that phase of their game down.”

Today’s game begins at 7 p.m. and will be carried live on WNXR 107.3 FM and ifan.tv.

TIGER TALES: Junior QB Kade Bartelt played in place of injured starter Jared Anttila in last week’s win over Chetek. According to Crail, plans for today’s game remain uncertain. “I know that we’ll be prepared for either situation,” Crail said. … Northwestern is averaging 18.0 points per game and giving up 28.6 this season. Discounting the Tigers’ 47-0 loss to Osceola in week two, Northwestern’s averages improve to 27 points scored per game and 19.5 points allowed.

 

Heart O’ North Conference

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Hayward (3-0)................................................ 1-0

Bloomer (3-0).................................................. 1-0

Northwestern (2-1)............................................. 1-0

Cumberland (1-2)............................................ 1-0

Chetek-Weyerhaeuser (2-1)................................ 0-1

Ladysmith (1-2)............................................... 0-1

Spooner (0-3)................................................. 0-1

Barron (0-3).................................................... 0-1

Friday, Sept. 2

Hayward 38, Barron 8

Bloomer 39, Spooner 6

Northwestern 41, Chetek-Weyer. 33

Cumberland 43, Ladysmith 24

Friday, Sept. 9

Chetek-Weyerhaeuser at Cumberland

Ladysmith at Hayward

Bloomer at Northwestern

Barron at Spooner

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