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Alden-Conger wins season opener

Alden-Conger's Luke Morrison carries the ball during Tuesday's game against West Lutheran in Alden. - Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Alden-Conger’s Luke Morrison carries the ball during Tuesday’s game against West Lutheran in Alden. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

ALDEN — Despite a few missteps, the Knights still dominated in their season opener.

The Alden-Conger High School football team beat West Lutheran 52-36 Tuesday in Alden. The game was originally slated for Saturday, but was pushed back due to inclement weather over the weekend.

Senior Lucas VanEngelenburg was a strong offensive force for the Knights, with two touchdowns and over 100 yards in his first half appearance. After taking a hard hit to the head toward the end of the second quarter, VanEngelenburg sat out the second half. According to Alden-Conger’s head coach Chad Mattson, VanEngelenburg was feeling fine after the game and was taken out as a precaution.

Freshman Luke Morrison also contributed two touchdowns to the Knights’ tally. Sophomores Kaleb Bendickson and Dalton Bradley had a touchdown each, with Bradley’s having been scored on a kickoff return.

“All together we played well for our first time as a team,” said Mattson.

Mattson grew up in Alden, played football for the Knights in his high school years and coached Alden-Conger football from 2004 to 2009, before returning to the head coach position once again at the start of this season.

He said Alden-Conger’s offensive and defensive lines spent part of the first half working out some “kinks,” but felt his players worked through them to play a strong second half.

Defensively, he said the team worked on its coverage throughout the game.

On offense, Mattson said once the line broke down West Lutheran’s blitz, Alden-Conger took over the game and was essentially able to run the same running plays throughout the second half.

According to Mattson, one of the hurdles facing the Knights is how young the team is. The varsity roster has just three seniors, and the rest is mostly made up of freshmen and sophomores.

“We’re young. We have a lot of learning to do yet,” he said. “But the more we play together the better we’ll be.”

Next, the Knights will have their first away game at 7 p.m. Friday against Spring Grove.

Stats were unavailable as of press time, but Mattson said they will be available in time to run in Thursday’s edition of the Tribune.

About Colleen Harrison

Colleen Harrison is the photo editor at the Albert Lea Tribune. She does photography and writes general-assignment stories.

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