Falcons rush over Albert Lea

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The season came to an end for the Albert Lea football team Tuesday night with a 40-8 loss to Faribault in Faribault in the first round of the Section 1AAAA playoffs.

The No. 6 seed Tigers (2-7, 1-7) had the same troubles they had last time out against the No. 3 seed Falcons. Albert Lea and Faribault met three weeks earlier and the Tigers came away with a 41-14 loss. That game featured the Falcons giving the ball a lot to running back Alek Johnson, who had three touchdowns and much of what took place in the initial meeting took place again Tuesday at Bruce Smith Field.

Johnson scored the first two touchdowns of the game in the first quarter and had three total touchdowns and the Falcon offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage again against Albert Lea.

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“They moved the ball at will,” Tigers head coach Clay Anderson said. “They were scoring with their first offense. We knew going in the key was going to be, ‘Can we stop their offense?’”

Anderson changed the defense around and added extra bodies in the box in order curb the Falcon attack, but it was to little avail.

“They could move our tackles where ever they needed to go,” Anderson said. “It was a struggle all night, it was a struggle three weeks ago when we were there. They’re just a little bit bigger and stronger than Austin, but that made a huge difference.”

Faribault totaled 253 yards of offense with 176 of those yards coming on the ground. The Falcons (5-4, 3-4) moved the ball quickly and efficiently up the field against Albert Lea.

The Tigers gave up a big pass play on fourth-and-12 that set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Johnson to make the score 27-0 in the second quarter.

Albert Lea fumbled on the very next possession and the Falcons turned it into six points with a Jake Bass touchdown run to make the game 33-0 at half.

Faribault received the kick to start the second half and Anthony Gustafson ran it back 85 yards to put the game at 40-0.

The Tigers had difficulty keeping drives going as the team committed five turnovers in the game. Albert Lea rushed for 99 yards and passed for 58 yards.

Though the season is over Anderson was pleased with what the team was able to accomplish.

“We got two wins, we maybe should have had three wins it was that close,” Anderson said. “As thin as we were, we battled injuries, personnel issues and for us to get two wins this season — they have a lot to be proud of. We knew this was going to be a tough year.

The Tigers lost starting offensive lineman Mitch Webb in the very first game of the season, then lost starting running back Luke Grossman after playing Winona and were without senior wide receiver Logan Kortan for a game. The offensive and defensive line was often piecemeal because of injuries, but the good new for the team is that many of the pieces return next season as the team graduates 12 seniors.

“I think we have a lot of good players coming back,” Anderson said. “It’s what they do in the offseason between now and then and we’ll find out how good we’ll be next year.”

Faribault 40, Albert Lea 8

Albert Lea – 0 0 0 8 – 8

Faribault – 14 19 7 0 – 40

First Quarter

Faribault – Alek Johnson 8 run (kick good)

Faribault – Johnson 1 run (kick good)

Second Quarter

Faribault – Adam Hallet 4 run (kick failed)

Faribault – Johnson 8 run (kick good)

Faribault – Jake Bass 6 run (kick failed)

Third Quarter

Faribault – Anthony Gustafson 85 kick return (kick good)

Fourth Quarter

Albert Lea – Hector Rivera 2 run (Rivera run)

Total offense

Albert Lea – 157

Faribault – 253

Total rushing

Albert Lea – 99

Faribault – 176

Total passing

Albert Lea – 58

Faribault – 77