Tigers’ season wraps up

Published 12:48 am Sunday, October 28, 2012

FARIBAULT – The No. 6 seeded Albert Lea lost 43-14 to No. 1 seeded Faribault in Section AAAA semi-finals on Saturday night.

The night didn’t get off on the right foot for the Tigers when they lost Makael Lunning to a reoccurring ankle injury in the first quarter.

“He’s one of those young men that will play through pain and tonight the pain was too much to play through after getting twisted up in a tackle,” Tigers head coach Max Jeffrey said.

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Lunning spent the remaining three quarters balanced on crutches watching from the sidelines.

“It was potentially his last football game and then it was,” Jeffrey said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that there had to be some serious emotion running through him because he couldn’t step back on the field and help his team compete.”

The Tigers were down 14-0 after a rough first half with injury and several incomplete passes, but in the final seven minutes of the third quarter, found themselves onto the scoreboard.

Ethan Abben scored the Tigers’ first touchdown, a 7-yard run which was followed by a good two-point conversion. By that point, the Falcons had another touchdown so the Tigers trailed 21-8.

“Ethan played a nice game,” Jeffrey said. “He makes plays even when guys come unblocked.”

Jeffrey said the Tigers’ blocking scheme changed after the first half to allow Derek Burkard more time to find his target and throw more complete passes. It seemed to work as more and more balls landed in the hands of Cody Scherff, one even becoming a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but the Falcons’ star player Riley Jandro, had already packed up the game for Faribault by scoring four touchdowns.

“He’s a tough football player, a good runner and he really hurt us tonight,” Jeffrey said. “I’m guessing he had more than 200 yards rushing. You can’t run the ball the way he does without the offensive line.”

Even though the Tigers were disappointed in their final game of the season, they are happy to have made it as far as they did.

“We told the guys, half of the teams in Minnesota were finished on Tuesday and we weren’t one of them,” Jeffrey said. “That was a positive step. But, playing a team like Faribault has been a tough challenge for us for many, many years now. Someday, we’re going to beat those guys.”