Tigers getting closer to first victory

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 24, 2006

By Albert Lea Tribune

The wall that is standing between the Albert Lea football team and its first win of the year is starting to crumble. The Tigers nearly knocked off Rochester John Marshall Friday night taking an 8-7 lead in the fourth quarter before coming up just short, 13-8.

&8220;This team continues to fight hard we just have to take that last step,&8221; Albert Lea head coach Clay Anderson said.

After a scoreless first half JM (2-2) grabbed the 7-0 lead in the third with a long pass play, but the Tigers would respond.

Tiger quarterback Corey Dieser would march his team down the field with help from Matt Morris and the running game to take the lead on a 20-yard pitch and catch from Dieser to Matt Hobbie. The Tigers converted the two-point try on a fake field goal to go up 8-7.

Dieser had a tremendous night throwing the ball completing 8 of 19 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown with Hobbie snagging four catches for 91 yards and Ben Waalkins getting three for 61.

&8220;That field was the worst one in the state with all the mud,&8221; Anderson said, &8220;but sometimes that helps the passing game because the receivers know where they are going and the defense has to react.&8221;

The Tigers&8217; lead did not last long as JM marched back down the field and scored the winning touchdown.

&8220;It was tough going from way up here to way down there emotionally after they scored, but the kids never gave up and that is the trademark of this team,&8221; Anderson said.

Dieser would drive the team down to the 11 yard line on the next possession where the Tigers had a fourth and 1. However, a false start pushed the Tigers back five yards and the next play saw an incomplete pass end the comeback attempt.

The Albert Lea defense played very well in the tough conditions led by linebackers Taylor Ignaszewski and Anthony Tippett. Ignaszewski was coming off a 21 tackle performance last week and was in a majority of the plays against Rochester. JM managed 147 yards rushing but 62 of that came in the fourth.

Albert Lea racked up 257 yards of total offense including 109 on the ground.

&8220;We blocked well on both lines led by R.J. Polley who was pancaking a lot of people and letting our runners work,&8221; Anderson said. &8220;Defensively, we were able to handle their line and let our linebackers make plays.&8221;

Morris led the Tigers&8217; rushing attack with 68 yards on 23 carries.

Tippett came up with the biggest play for the Tigers in the first half after an Albert Lea fake punt backfired the Rockets moved the ball down to the 3. Albert Lea would hold at the goal line for two plays and on the third JM fumbled into the end zone where it was recovered by Tippett.

The Tigers would drive the ball inside the the 20 but could not punch it in.

Albert Lea (0-4) is on the road again this week when it takes on a Mankato West team that beat Rochester Mayo 37-29 Friday. The Scarlets possess one of the most talented players in the conference in QB Dan Hobson.

&8220;The biggest key for us will be to pound the ball on the ground,&8221; Anderson said.

John Marshall 13, Albert Lea 8

Albert Lea

0

0

0

8 &045; 8

JM

0

0

7

6 &045; 13

Fourth Quarter

AL &045; Matt Hobbie 20 pass from Corey Dieser (Logan Ferrie run)

Individual Statistics

Rushing &045; Matt Morris 23-68, Michael Culhane 9-31, Corey Dieser 2-11, Tim Frazier 1- (-4), Logan Ferrie 1-3

Passing &045; Corey Dieser 8 of 19 148 yards, 1 TD 2 INT

Receiving &045; Matt Hobbie 4-91, Ben Waalkins 3-61, Morris 1- (-4)