Grizzlies host Wildcats

Published 8:47 am Friday, July 8, 2011

Albert Lea Grizzlies running back, Jason Kuipers, carries the ball against the South Central Hawgs earlier this season at the Southwest Middle School field. -- Andrew Dyrdal/Albert Lea Tribune

The Albert Lea Grizzlies football team is a win away from a spot in the Southern Plains Football League title game.

The No. 2-seeded Grizzlies (7-1) host the No. 3 Buffalo Ridge Wildcats (5-3) at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Southwest Middle School field. The Grizzlies beat the Wildcats 28-26 on April 30 during the first week of the season in Lake Benton and 22-14 on May 28 at home. This time there’s more at stake.

The winner of Saturday’s game earns a berth into the league’s championship game against the winner of the South No. 1 Central Hawgs (7-1) and the No. 4 North Iowa Bucks (2-6).

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Saturday’s game should be a defensive battle as the Wildcats held the Grizzlies to two of its three lowest point totals this season.

The last two Grizzlies-Wildcats games have come down to the final play. In the season-opener, the Wildcats attempted to win the game late with a quarterback sneak from the two-yard-line, but the Grizzlies’ Mikey Salinas stripped the ball and Albert Lea recovered it to secure the win. In the two team’s second matchup, the Wildcats overcame a 22-point deficit to pull within a touchdown in the fourth quarter but didn’t convert a late onside kick.