Grizzlies win opener

Published 2:32 am Monday, May 10, 2010

The Albert Lea Grizzlies made their debut in Albert Lea Saturday and christened their new home with a 14-0 victory of the South Central Hawgs at the junior varsity football field at the Hammer Field Complex.

The Grizzlies, a semipro nine-man team that plays in the Southern Plains Football League, moved to Albert Lea this season after spending several seasons in Owatonna and their defense stole the show.

Albert Lea limited the Hawgs to 131 total yards and Tony Tolbers threw two touchdown passes to help lead the Grizzlies to a season-opening victory.

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For several players the game served as a homecoming, including Tolbers, Jake McClaskey and Jason Kuipers, all of whom played for Albert Lea in high school.

“It brought back memories,” said Kuipers, who last played on the JV field as a sophomore. “I’m glad to be in Albert Lea.”

McClaskey and Kuipers each caught touchdown passes.

McClaskey caught five passes for 76 yards and the offense rolled up 240 yards. Tolbers completed 11 of 27 passes for 149 yards.

The defense, however, kept South Central at bay with a pair of stands near the goal line. The Hawgs threatened late in the fourth quarter but the Grizzlies came up with four consecutive stops to preserve the shutout.

“Walking into this game, and I don’t want to sell them short, I was more concerned about our defense than our offense,” said Albert Lea head coach Steven Piper. “Our offense has been very, very powerful against our defense.”

Albert Lea grabbed an 8-0 lead when McClaskey caught a 15-yard touchdown pass and Kuipers ran in the two-point conversion.

The Grizzlies added to their lead in the third quarter when Kuipers caught an 8-yard pass to give Albert Lea a 14-0 lead.

The Grizzlies will play the remainder of their home games at Brookside and their next home game will be May 22 against Dakota Doom at 6 p.m.

Albert Lea 14, South Central 0

South Central 0 0 0 0 —  0

Albert Lea 8 0 6 0 — 14

First Quarter

AL—Jake McClaskey 15 pass from Tolbers (Kuipers run)

Third Quarter

AL—Kuipers 8 pass from Tolbers (kick failed)


First Downs 8 11

Total Net Yards 131 240

Rushes-yards 29-105 27-91

Passing 26 149

Punt Returns 3-58 1-0

Kickoff Returns 1-9 2-34

Interceptions Ret. 2-16 2-19

Comp-Att-Int 7-21-2 1 1-27-2

Sacked-Yards Lost 3-28 2-18

Punts 3-30.3 4-24.3

Fumbles-Lost 5-3 2-2

Penalties-Yards 8-70 6-45


RUSHING—South Central, James Dallager 15-108, Tate Anderson 8-(minus 1), Jerry Heidelberg 6-(minus 2). Albert Lea, George Gerdes 12-55, Tolbers 4-18, Kuipers 5-9, McClaskey 4-7, Paul Mathem 2-2.

PASSING—South Central, Dallager 7-21-2-54. Albert Lea, Tolbers 11-27-2-167.

RECEIVING—South Central, Jamie Sargent 3-26, Alex Fisher 2-16, Perry Hanson 1-11, Jesse Anderson 1-1. Albert Lea, McClaskey 5-76, Kuipers 3-35, Dustin Peterson 2-57, Hector Rivera 1-(minus 1).