Tom Jones: Albert Lea Homecoming games through the years

Published 11:16 pm Friday, September 27, 2019

Sports Memories by Tom Jones

Tom Jones


As a graduate of Albert Lea High School, one of my favorite times of the school year is Homecoming week. It is fun to see my two eighth graders get excited for all the activities that are planned for this coming week. In this column, I decided to look at some of the homecomings of years past.

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According to a column written by late Tribune writer Ed Shannon, the tradition of Homecoming began when Albert Lea played Mankato on Oct. 27, 1926, with the game ending up in a 14-14 tie. The two teams would play Homecoming games for four years, with the 1927 game being played in Mankato.

The crowning of a queen along with a Homecoming dance started Nov. 11, 1932, with Gladys Lundberg Reese being crowned as home football prom queen. The crowning was sponsored by the Albert Lea Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Albert Lea did not start the tradition of having a Homecoming king until Ty Christensen was crowned in 1982.



The Tigers defeated Rochester 20-13 in front of 1,200 fans. Chuck Easter had a run of 22 yards and caught a 14-yard pass from Al Knudson for two of the Tigers’ touchdowns, with Andy Sanders adding the third on a one-yard run. The Tigers were coached by Gordy LeBeau.



The Tigers defeated Winona 21-7. All of the scoring was done in the first half. After Winona fumbled on the opening play, Jim Thompson ran 30 yards for the first touchdown of the game. Ron Dahlen added an 80-yard kickoff return for the second score with Dick Oliphant’s 16-yard pass to Thompson finishing off the scoring for the Tigers. They were coached by Jim Gustafson.



A determined Austin Packers team stopped the Albert Lea Tigers 23-14 to end their win streak at 27 games in front of 7,000 fans at Hammer Stadium. Rod Tovar’s eight-yard run and a 75-yard touchdown pass from Dan Fuhrman to Mark Hultgren were the lone scores for the Tigers.



The Tigers, under coach Bob Deyak, defeated Winona 28-21. Touchdown runs by Darris Porter for 42 yards, Mike Stanek for 92 yards, Tim Olinger for one yard and Bruce Atz for two yards led the Tigers to victory.



Tenth-ranked Owatonna came to town and spoiled the Tigers’ Homecoming with a 28-6 victory. Tim Slegh’s three-yard pass to Shane Arett in the second half was the lone score for the Tigers, who were coached by Dennis Baldus.

I hope you have liked this look back at the tradition of Homecoming in Albert Lea. I look forward to seeing a large crowd for this Friday’s game with Kasson-Mantorville at the beautiful Jim Gustafson Field.