Friday night football previews

Published 8:31 am Thursday, October 8, 2009

Albert Lea (1-4, 1-3 Big Nine) at No. 1 Mankato West (5-0, 4-0 Big Nine)

Key stats: Luke Grossman 30 rushes for 157 yards, three touchdowns; West got its first shutout of the year last week. West has given up one touchdown in the last 14 quarters.

Last year: Mankato West 47, Albert Lea 12

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Last week: Albert Lea 26, Century 21; Mankato West 27, Austin 0

The Tigers are coming off one of the biggest victories in school history after a 26-21 win over then-ranked No. 7 Century in Albert Lea. The Tiger offensive and defensive lines played their best game of the season and will try to replicate that against defending state champion Mankato West.

Scarlets sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson is considered among the best in the conference, along with Century’s Jared Malone, who the Tigers faced last week. Nelson started last year against Albert Lea as a freshman and threw for 218 yards and four touchdowns. Of course, that was with the Richter brothers at the receiver spots, but the Scarlets are still loaded with talent.

Lake Mills (3-3, 3-1 Class 1A, District 2) at West Fork (0-4, 0-6 Class 1A, District 2)

Key stats: West Fork has scored 44 points this season; Jake Brekken has rushed for 482 yards and seven touchdowns in the last two games

Last year: West Fork 42, Lake Mills 21

Last week: Lake Mills 42, West Hancock 18; St. Ansgar 41, West Fork 0

The Bulldogs are in good position for a spot in the playoffs for the first time in two years and facing West Fork looks like it could be another victory for Lake Mills.

Not only is Brekken getting it done on offense, he also is the area leader in tackles with 82 this season.

Glenville-Emmons (2-3, 2-3 SEC) at Spring Grove (2-3, 2-3 SEC)

Key stats: Wolverines rolled up more than 400 yards of total offense for the third time this season; Thofson ran for 198 yards. Lions have given up 36 points to Lanesboro, 46 to Mabel-Canton, but held Houston to 21.

Last year: Spring Grove 52, Glenville-Emmons 0

Last week: Houston 48, Glenville-Emmons 26; Spring Grove 49, LeRoy-Ostrander 8

Both teams have victories against Lyle/Pacelli and LeRoy-Ostrander and they’ll find out who is the better squad Friday. Spring Grove appears to be susceptible to giving up a lot of points, which should be good news for the Wolverines, a team that has averaged 26 points a game.

NRHEG (4-1, 3-1 Gopher Valley AA) at Minnesota Valley Lutheran (2-3, 2-2 Gopher Valley AA)

Key stats: MVL’s two losses came against the class of the Gopher Valley AA and its offense put up six points combined; NRHEG crushed Maple River with Danny Wagner and David Lindell rushing for more than 100 yards; Lindell got 62 on a touchdown run and Wagner 72 on another touchdown run.

Last year: NRHEG 36, MVL 0

Last week: NRHEG 45, Maple River 14; Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop 12, MVL 0

This game likely won’t be another 36-0 NRHEG blowout victory based on how MVL has faced top competition in the conference. Playing G-F-W to a 12-0 game bodes well for the Chargers. Last week’s 45-15 drubbing of Maple River got the Panther offense going, which is good considering it scored just 30 points in the previous two games combined.

USC (4-1, 3-1 Gopher Valley AA) at Maple River (0-5, 0-4 Gopher Valley AA)

Key stats: Riley Swearingen is second among area players with 735 yards passing, but also in the top 10 for rushing yards.

Last year: Maple River 14, USC 13

Last week: USC 20, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 19; NRHEG 45, Maple River 14

The Rebels will still be riding high from last week’s upset of sixth-ranked W-E-M and get to face rival Maple River, which is probably a good thing for USC so they’ll avoid any possibility of a letdown. Revenge will be on the minds of the Rebels as well after the Eagles beat them 14-13 on a failed two-point conversion. Coincidentally, USC beat the Buccaneers last week on a failed two-point conversion. USC, W-E-M, NRHEG, and G-F-W are all tied for the lead in the conference at 3-1. NRHEG has yet to face G-F-W and the Rebels have yet to face NRHEG.

Northwood-Kensett (4-2, 3-1 Class A, District 3) vs. AGWSR, Ackley (2-4, 2-2 Class A, District 3)

Key stats: Viking defense has not allowed more than 21 points against an opponent this season

Last year: Northwood-Kensett 40, AGWSR 6

Last week: Northwood-Kensett 14, Tripoli 7; AGWSR-Ackley 24, Riceville 0

The Vikings avoided a scare from Tripoli last week and will try to keep their standing in the district. Northwood-Kensett faces NU High next Thursday in a game that could give them a share of the district title. NU High knocked off Newman last week in an upset victory.