Gallery: Grizzlies throttle the Shock in the rain

Published 9:13 pm Saturday, June 1, 2013

Albert Lea defensive lineman Brandon Hernandez forces a fumble Saturday during the Grizzlies' 52-0 win over the Minnesota River Valley Shock. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Albert Lea defensive lineman Brandon Hernandez forces a fumble Saturday during the Grizzlies’ 52-0 win over the Minnesota River Valley Shock from Le Center. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Rain didn’t faze the Albert Lea Grizzlies Saturday, as they shut out the Minnesota River Valley Shock of the Southern Plains Football League 52-0.

“It felt good. Football for us is about nine guys doing their job on every single play,” Albert Lea head coach Stephen Piper said. “We’ve got the talent to do it, we just need to have all nine guys firing at the same time.”

The Grizzlies did just that from the opening kickoff. Albert Lea built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. In the second, the Grizzlies piled on 24 more points.

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Albert Lea’s defense stepped up by scoring on a fumble recovery in the second quarter. Defensive tackle Anthony Ingram grabbed the loose ball and rumbled 52 yards to paydirt. Ingram had a memorable game. Shortly thereafter, he proposed to Kelly Christenson.

“She said yes!” Ingram said. “I had it all planned out.”

Back to football, the Grizzlies coasted in the second half with a continuous clock. Albert Lea excelled on the ground and through the air.

Jason Kuipers — a former Albert Lea High School football standout and a four-year Grizzlies veteran — passed the rushing century mark, earned over 10 yards per carry and scored a rushing touchdown. George Gerdes also scored a rushing touchdown.

“We’ve got a beast of a line,” Kuipers said. “They like to move people, and it’s nice to see. Each guy did his assignment.”

Kuipers and Gerdes also caught one touchdown pass each, as did Al Eustice and Eric Grabowski. Quarterback Tony Tolbers didn’t throw the ball often, but when he did, he was effective. Tolbers threw for four scores, giving him more than twice as many touchdown passes than incompletions.

The Grizzlies’ defense was led by Trevor Haugh and J.D. Seiler. Haugh led Albert Lea with eight tackles, while Seiler earned five.

“Our defense is always a powerhouse,” Piper said. “These guys, they’re always hungry. They work on stripping the ball.”

The game was played on the peninsula north of the Freeborn County Humane Society.

Next, Albert Lea will play the Panic, a team based in Nicollet, Iowa. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Grizzlies have won their last two games and are 2-2 on the season. The Panic will look to rebound after a 46-43 loss to the Tri-State Buffaloes Saturday. The Panic is 4-1.

Grizzlies  14   24   6   8  —  52
Shock        0     0    0   0  —  0