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Gallery: Falcons top Tigers on Homecoming

Albert Lea's Jake Kilby takes off on a quarterback keeper Friday against Faribault on Homecoming at Jim Gustafson Field. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Albert Lea’s Jake Kilby takes off on a quarterback keeper Friday against Faribault on Homecoming at Jim Gustafson Field. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

A pair of fumbles led to a two-score halftime deficit that snowballed in the second half.

The Albert Lea football team gave Faribault a short field twice in the first quarter by turning the ball over at its own 32- and 40-yard lines. The Falcons capitalized on both miscues with rushing touchdowns by Joe Hoisington.

The Tigers weren’t able to bounce back from the early deficit in a 37-0 loss Friday on Homecoming at Jim Gustafson field.

“They had the field position and the momentum,” said Albert Lea coach Kevin Armbrust. “I thought our defense played strong in the first half and strong overall for the most part. We just shot ourselves in the foot with those turnovers.”

Albert Lea’s best opportunity to climb back into the game happened with 1:40 left in the second quarter. The Tigers kept a drive alive by converting a fourth-and-two in their own territory with a bruising run between the tackles by Tim Christianson. If that drive would’ve produced points, Albert Lea would’ve been in good shape because the Tigers recieved the ball back to start the second half.

However, the drive didn’t go as planned, and neither did the second half. Faribault tacked on 15 points in the third quarter and seven more in the fourth.

Defensively,Trent Johnson led the Tigers with eight tackles, while Dustin Mattson and Emmitt Stevens had six tackles each.

“Holding them to 15 points in the first half — I thought that was awesome,” Stevens said. “We just needed to execute better in the second half and be more prepared.”

Despite giving up 37 points, Friday was the first time in five years that Albert Lea held Faribault to fewer than 40 points.

Stevens led Albert Lea’s receiving corps. with three catches for 43 yards. Quarterback Jake Kilby was 4-of-7 for 51 yards.

Kilby also had the most rushing yards with 41 on 20 carries. Christianson led the team in yards per rush with seven carries for 30 yards.

Armbrust said the scoreboard didn’t reflect the effort his team showed.

“I’m proud of the way our guys played. I thought the effort was there,” he said. “Overall, our preparation wasn’t, but that doesn’t take anything away from these guys who were playing hard.”

A group of 19 seniors played their last Homecoming football game.

“These seniors, it’s their last homecoming and we’re super proud of them,” he said. “They’re going to continue to battle for us, and that’s the type of character they have and the type of guys they are.”

Albert Lea fell to 0-6, while Faribault improved to 4-2 with its third straight win.

The Tigers will close out the season by playing two of the bottom four teams in the Big Nine Conference standings: Mankato East and Red Wing.

Next, Albert Lea will play at Mankato East (2-4) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Cougars are coming off a 14-2 win Friday at Winona.

In the regular-season finale, the Tigers will host Red Wing at 7 p.m. Oct. 15. The Wingers’ only win was a 21-7 home victory against Winona on Sept. 5.

“We’ll go to practice and keep working hard,” Stevens said. “That’s what we do.”

Statistics are in the Scoreboard: Oct. 3 post.