If you’re going to win in the Big Rivers Conference, you better put up a lot of points.
At least, that’s what last week’s results would indicate in a glance back at northwest Wisconsin prep football.
The winners averaged 41 points. Needed most of them as the losers fell just short at a 25-point clip.
It went like this: Rice Lake 60-35 over Memorial, Superior 42-14 over North, Menomonie 33-23 over Chippewa Falls and Hudson 28-27 over River Falls.
Rice Lake is 3-0 and averaging 47 points. It doesn’t really matter that they’re allowing opponents 33. At least for now. But 47 points in the first half is a fair to middlin’ start. Could be an NFL record.
Hudson averaged 48 coming into last week but was limited to 28. But that’s OK when its one point better than the other guys.
It might not have been if River Falls could have gotten its team on the field in time for a 2-point conversion try after a touchdown with 11 seconds to play. But the Wildcats didn’t, took a delay of game penalty and then saw what would have been a game-tying kick tipped at the line and fall away.
That one-point decision — decided by a penalty, tipped ball and fate — could have long-range consequences in the BRC championship picture.
Don’t forget Superior. The Spartans had piled up points at a 42-per pace. And they hit that right on the head in the win over North. And they only needed one half to do it.
Menomonie usually doesn’t need a lot of points because the Mustangs don’t give you much. The 33 last week matched their season high. But they’re only allowing 12. Defense works too.
So what’s not enough? Ask Memorial. The Old Abes got 35 last week, are averaging 410 yards and 23 points. It would put most teams in the Super Bowl.
But don’t buy that ticket yet. Why? Because they not only yielded a seasons total of 673 yards at Rice Lake and are averaging 415 but also a shade under 40 points. Did we say 673? That must be a PR going south.
But don’t think that final score is any kind of a record. The two teams went at it in 1997 at Carson Park and the Abes won 60-58. In regulation.
How about Chippewa Falls? The Cardinals came into last week’s game averaging 37. If they would have reached that figure, they would have won. But the 33 they allowed was too much for a team that had been allowing 15.
And what else stood out last week?
Who was that guy who predicted Regis to beat Stanley-Boyd 44-7? That’s right, no one. How’d they do it? Try 365 yards on the ground. And a defense that just said no.
And what rabbit did coach Brenner pull out of his hat this time? Try Andrew Ernstmeyer. He had gained a total of 41 yards in the first two games. Must have been saving him. He turned on the jets for 169 yards in just 13 trips. No longer a secret.
Mondovi must have learned something in that 43-3 loss to Edgar and Jerry Sinz. For sure enough to beat Elk Mound. But by a shutout. And holding Brady Redwine to just 2.2 yards a touch. Impressive.
And the hero-of-the-week? It’s a toe. Robert Crowley’s. His 37-yard field goal with 1:42 left gives Baldwin-Woodville a 9-7 win over New Richmond. Isn’t New Richmond the team that scored 33 on Rice Lake last week in a three-point loss? You figure.
Over at Colfax, things are up in the air. At least the football. Like 36 times. Whatever, it worked. Noah Albricht completed 25 for 341 yards and five TD. Result: 34-12 over Neillsville/Granton.
Jackson Johnson wasn’t far behind at Osseo-Fairchild. He hit on 19 of 30 for 320 yards and had a hand in four scores. Cadott’s anti-aircraft not on target. 42-12.
Rice Lake’s Peyton Buckley accounted for more yards than most teams. He ran and passed for 358 of them and Memorial’s Loyal Crawford was just short in trying to match him with 226 rushing.
The week’s top rushers came from just below the arctic circle. Nate Sorenson piled up 286 yards in 26 carries in Hayward’s 60-36 win over Barron and Northwestern’s Reagan Ruffi totaled 244 and five scores in 18 trips that leveled Cumberland 48-20.
Also crashing the 200-yard barrier was Bloomer’s Zach Ruf with 203 in a 28-14 win over Spooner.
Among the longest plays, Coy Bowe returned a kickoff 85 yards for Cadott; Crawford toured Pug Lund Field for 77 and Brett Kostka took a 75-yard pitch from Johnson.
Look for more this week.