Tigers fall against Trojans

Published 11:18 pm Friday, September 4, 2015

Albert Lea's Tristan Johnston looks to contain Worthington's Robert Lovan Friday at Jim Gustafson Field. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Albert Lea’s Tristan Johnston looks to contain Worthington’s Robert Lovan Friday at Jim Gustafson Field. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Two safeties, a blocked punt that set up a touchdown and a late interception sank the Albert Lea football team.

The Tigers forced four first-half turnovers to build a 13-2 halftime lead, but Worthington scored 15 unanswered second-half points to edge Albert Lea 17-13 Friday at Jim Gustafson Field.

“We played a solid first half, but that was just it,” said Tigers coach Kevin Armbrust. “We certainly didn’t play well in the second half. We made some mistakes we shouldn’t be making at this point, but that’s football. They made some mistakes, too.”

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Albert Lea rallied after Worthington took its first second-half lead with 5:21 left in the fourth quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, Jesse Hernandez’s return set the Tigers up at midfield. The drive stayed alive with a 4th-and-2 conversion on a carry by quarterback Jake Kilby to the Trojans’ 22-yard line. Albert Lea broke into the red zone on a 5-yard carry by Hernandez, which was followed by a 5-yard carry by Kilby.

However, an interception by Worthington with 41.7 seconds left in regulation sealed the Tigers’ loss.

Albert Lea produced 221 yards of total offense.

“Our offense moved the ball and scored some points, but we’ve still got a long ways to go,” Armbrust said.

Kilby rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Both touchdowns were within two minutes of each other in the second quarter. Kilby’s first scoring run was set up by a 25-yard pass to Dylan Lestrud. Hernandez set up Kilby’s second touchdown run with an interception on the Trojans’ 25-yard line.

Albert Lea received the ball to start the second half but went backward. The Tigers faced a 4th-and-32 from their own 5-yard line. Worthington blocked the punt, recovered at the 8-yard line and scored moments later.

“I thought we came out really flat in the second half,” said Albert Lea’s Trent Johnston. “Our momentum just stopped. We need to work on that.”

Trent Johnston was one of eight Tigers with three or more tackles. Trent Johnston’s brother, Tristan Johnston, led the team with 10 1/2 tackles. Emmitt Stevens added 7 1/2 tackles and a fumble recovery.

Both teams were limited to two touchdowns.

“I thought we were clicking on defense,” Trent Johnston said. “We were going hard every play.”

Despite the loss, Albert Lea held an opponent to fewer than 20 points for the first time since 2013.

“Our defense was outstanding,” Armbrust said. “We couldn’t ask more from them.”

Next, the Tigers will host Jordan (0-3, 0-3 South Central) at 7 p.m. Friday. Jordan lost its opener 68-0 at Marshall, its second game 42-26 at Fairmont and its home opener 37-17 Friday against Belle Plaine.