Tigers’ comeback falls short

Published 12:36 am Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Albert Lea Tigers football team scored the first and final three touchdowns Friday at No. 10 Rochester Century, but what happened in between was just enough to for the Panthers to beat the Tigers 40-28.

“I was really proud of our kids,” Albert Lea head coach Clay Anderson said. “We wanted to play 100 percent and we did that. They played hard the whole game.”

The Tigers — who upset the Panthers last season at home — scored on the game’s opening drive. Dillon Stolt plowed into the end zone from two yards out, giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead.

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But the Panthers responded and proved why they’re the ranked No. 10 in class 5A by scoring 40 unanswered points, and holding the Tigers scoreless until the fourth quarter.

“Century is a very good football team,” Anderson said. “They’ve got speed and size, and that was the difference in the game.”

The Tigers scored again in the fourth quarter, as Kyle Kriewall rushed for three yards and a touchdown.

Dalton Westerlund forced a fumble on a Panthers punt attempt, and recovered it in the end zone to make the score 40-21, and again on a 64-yard run by Makael Lunning minutes later to draw within 12 points.

The Tigers were held scoreless in the game’s final six minutes.

“It’s nice that we hung in their and never quit,” Anderson said.

Lunning, a sophomore, replaced Ethan Abben who left with a hamstring injury late in the third quarter.

With his first significant playing time of the season, Lunning rushed five times for 102 yards in the game’s final 16 minutes.

“He’s got speed and is going to be a great player for us,” Anderson said of Lunning. “It was nice for him to display that.”

Kriewall finished 6-for-14 passing for 53 yards and two interceptions. He also had two carries for no yards and a rushing touchdown.

Lunning led the Tigers in rushing with 5 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Cory Hansen had eight carries for 43 yards, Abben had 23 yards on 10 carries and Stolt had four carries for five yards and a touchdown.

Aaron Klatt had five receptions for 58 yards and Abben had one reception for negative yardage.

Derek Thostenson led the Tigers’ defense with 16 tackles. Klatt had a sack and seven tackles, while Bryce Deboer, playing in his second game after missing the first three with a concussion, chipped in seven tackles, as well.

Chris Stahl had an interception.

The Tigers host No. 2 Mankato West Friday for homecoming.

Rochester Century 40, Albert Lea 28

Tigers 7 0 0 21 — 28

Panthers 14 13 13 0 — 40