Tigers fall to Falcons (with video)

Published 1:27 am Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kyle Kriewall looks to pass during the second quarter Monday at Faribault. -- Andrew Dyrdal

FARIBAULT — The Albert Lea Tigers and Faribault Falcons exchanged big plays for most of the first half Monday, until Faribault’s Anthony Gustafson opened the floodgates for the Falcons.

With the teams knotted a 14-14, Gustafson — who Albert Lea head coach Clay Anderson called the fastest

player in the conference — broke a 58-yard touchdown run two minutes and 22 seconds before halftime, putting the Falcons (3-1) ahead for good, en route to a 42-21 win.

“(Faribault) won the line of scrimmage battle,” Anderson said. “They put pressure on the quarterback when they needed to and we didn’t match their physicality.”

The Tigers (1-3) scored first when quarterback Kyle Kriewall ran the ball down the Falcons’ sideline 79 yards to the Faribault three-yard line. Dillon Stolt plowed into the end zone on the next play, putting the Tigers up 7-0, early.

But that was the only lead they held.

The Falcons responded on the very next drive as they rushed for 37 yards on the first play. After two first downs, quarterback Jake Salaba connected with Jack Helgeson for a 21-yard touchdown pass, evening the score 7-7.

Explosive plays continued to be the theme in the second quarter, as Salba hit Riley Schultz on a 40-yard touchdown pass, and the Falcons extended the lead to 14-7 at 11:53 in the second quarter.

After the two teams exchanged punts, Albert Lea put a 12-play series together, as Kriewall connected with Aaron Klatt twice for 10 and 23 yards, Cameron Solie for 25 yards and finally Dalton Westerlund for five yards a touchdown — tying the game at 14-14 — before Gustafson put the Falcons up 21-14.

It didn’t take long for the Falcons to run away with the game in the second half, though.

Saul Garza extended Faribault’s lead to 28-14 on a two-yard run early in the second half, and Mat Becker intercepted Kriewall less than three minutes later and returned it 10 yards into the end zone to make it 35-14.

Aaron Klatt catches a pass from Kyle Kriewall during the second quarter Monday. -- Andrew Dyrdal

“We certainly made a lot of mistakes,” Anderson said. “We’re not very consistent. We do some things well and we don’t do some things well.”

The Falcons capped off a 28-0 run with 1:24 left in the third quarter, after Salba and Gustafson connected for 79 yards on two receptions and Schultz scored from six yards out to push the lead to 42-14.

Albert Lea has a short week to prepare for Rochester Century — a team they beat last season — who’s established themselves as one of the top teams in the Big Nine Conference.

“It’s a different year,” Anderson said of his matchup with the Panthers. “We’ll just prepare and hopefully play well.”

Faribault 42, Albert Lea 21

Tigers 7 7 0 7 — 21

Falcons 7 14 21 0 — 42

First quarter

AL — Stolt 1-yard run (kick good)

F — Helgeson 21-yard pass from Salaba (kick good)

Second quarter

F — Schultz 40-yard pass from Salaba (kick good)

AL — Westerlund 5-yard pass from Kriewall (kick good)

F — Gustafson 58-yard run (kick good)

Third quarter

F — Jandro 2-yard run (kick good)

F — Becker 9-yard interception return (kick good)

F — Schultz 5-yard run (kick good)

Fourth quarter

AL — Stolt 49-yard run (kick good)