Raiders pull away from Tigers late

Published 12:19 am Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Makael Lunning scored on a 76-yard touchdown run, and the Tigers trailed just 14-6 in the fourth quarter, but the Northfield Raiders scored twice in the final nine minutes Tuesday to end Albert Lea’s football season 28-6 in the opening round of the Section 1AAAA tournament in Northfield.

Tigers coach Max Jeffrey said he was proud off the team’s offensive line, which allowed Lunning and Bany Chan to run freely at times, and that the entire team played great.

“The line did a wonderful job of run-blocking, grinding out first downs and moving the line of scrimmage,” Jeffrey said.

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The Tigers held the Raiders to a touchdown in the first half and trailed 7-0 at the break. The Raiders extended its lead to 14-0 early in the third before Lunning broke through to pull the Tigers within a score.

Albert Lea had a chance to pull closer in the third quarter, but costly mistakes and a missed field goal kept them from scoring, according to Jeffrey.

Those who didn’t watch the game live or listen to it on the radio may think it was another blowout loss for the Tigers. Jeffrey said that wasn’t the case.

“The score says 28-6 but the game was a lot closer than that,” Jeffrey said.

Jeffrey said the team needs to get stronger during the offseason and hopes his players go out for more sports.

“There’s nothing like competition,” Jeffrey said. “That will make you a better football player and athlete overall.”