Grizzlies stun Shock 32-14 in Cleveland on Saturday

Published 8:15 am Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Albert Lea Grizzlies welcomed the Minnesota River Valley Shock into the Southern Prairie Football League as the Grizzlies won 32-14 at the Shock’s home opener in Cleveland on Saturday.

The Grizzlies got on the board midway through the first quarter on a 39-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tony Tolbers to wide receiver Jason Kuipers. The extra point attempt went wide left after holder Paul Ciochetto managed to pull down a high snap.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Shock kick returner managed to weave his way through the Grizzlies defenders and return the kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. Anthony Ingram got a hand on the extra point try keeping the score tied 6-6.

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In the second quarter, the Grizzlies went on to score two more touchdowns while its defense held the Shock to several three-and-outs.

First, Tolbers hooked up with tight end George Gerdes on a swing pass. Gerdes ran through and over the Shock defenders to score. The extra point was blocked. Grizzlies led 12-6.

The Shock responded by tightening up their pass coverage. After driving down the field with Mikey Salinas carrying the ball on back-to-back plays, Tolbers ran in the third Grizzlies touchdown of the day just before the end of the second quarter.

A two-point conversion from Tolbers to Trent Leesch finished the first half. The Grizzlies had a 14-point lead.

In the middle of the third, quarterback Paul Ciochetto hooked up with Kuipers on a deep ball to the corner of the endzone.

The acrobatic catch was ruled a touchdown, once again the extra point was missed, but the Grizzlies led 26-6.

The fourth quarter started with a desperation heave from the Shock quarterback to a wide receiver who managed to pick the ball out of the air after a near interception by a Grizzly defender.

The Shock converted the tw0-point conversion leaving the score 26-14.

Ciochetto threw for one more touchdown after marching down the field utilizing a wide variety of receivers.

Ciochetto hit Levi Fossen on the two-yard line and Fossen was tackled into the end zone for the Grizzlies final score.

The two-point conversion failed leaving the score 32-14.

The Shock answered back by driving the ball down the field trying to get one more score as time was running out.

Grizzlies’ Steven Salinas intercepted a pass in the end zone to end the game as time ran out leaving the Grizzlies with a 32-14 win.

Defensive coordinator for the Grizzlies Paul Mathern said, “Our defense did an outstanding job today. Every game they have come out firing on all cylinders.”

Mathern said a lot of the Grizzlies had big plays which resulted in the Shock having multiple third-and-longs which they could not convert.

“I couldn’t be happier with the play of our defense,” Mathern said. “If you take away the six-point touchdown on the kickoff return, our defense effectively held the Shock to eight points.”