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Cats ready for some football

Eleven year-old Blake Baar tries to avoid the tackling wheels being rolled in front of him by members of the Wildcat varsity football team during a drill at the Cats' youth football camp Saturday at the Meyer Middle School field. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

New Wildcat head football coach David Crail liked what he saw from his team in its first week of practice, both on and off the field.

The Cats, along with every other high school football team in the state, hit the field for the first day of practice Tuesday, Aug. 1. Saturday, Aug. 5, the team hosted around 60 third through eighth graders at the Wildcat Youth Clinic, and later that night Crail and the team mingled with friends and fans at a Wildcat Football "Family Fun Fest."

Crail said the first week of practice for the Cats went well.

"We progressed a lot," he said. "We were swimming a little bit Tuesday and Wednesday but overall it was a good week."

It was hard to tell at Saturday afternoon's youth clinic at Meyer Middle School who was having more fun—the Wildcat players, who had practiced earlier that morning, or the 60 third through eighth graders they were teaching the game to.

"This is a fun day of football for everybody," Crail said as he watched his players and the youngsters interact. "After practicing this morning and now this and the fun fest tonight; they're all good things."

Crail takes over at River Falls after 10 years at Northwestern High School in Maple. He was an assistant for eight years before serving as head coach the last two, guiding the Tigers to a record of 15-6 and back-to-back Heart 'O North Conference championships.

The Wildcats will get to hit someone else for the first time this season when they travel to Osceola for a scrimmage with Osceola, Prescott and St. Croix Central this Friday, Aug. 11. They will open the 2017 season Friday, Aug. 18, at New Richmond before hosting Ellsworth in the home opener Friday, Aug. 25, at David Smith Stadium at Ramer Field. The Big Rivers Conference opener is Friday, Sept. 1, at Menomonie.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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