Offense struggles as KoMets beat Tigers on Homecoming

Published 10:42 pm Friday, September 24, 2021

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Albert Lea capped off its homecoming week with the tall task of taking on No. 8-ranked Kasson-Mantorville Friday night in a Section 1AAAA matchup. 

Despite winning the turnover battle in the second half, the Tigers early offensive struggles were too much to overcome, as they fell to the KoMets 42-14.

The Tigers came out to a rocky start in their first possessions of the quarter. In five possessions in the quarter, the Tigers were forced into a three-and-out punt three times, lost a fumble and threw an interception. The Komets capitalized on all of those Tiger miscues and scored with  five touchdowns to take a 35-0 lead less than three minutes into the second quarter.

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After another fumble on the ensuing kickoff, the Tigers once again found themselves in a precarious position, giving up a KoMet touchdown a few plays later.

Albert Lea picked up their first first down of the game on the next drive using nice runs from both junior Derrick McMillian and senior Cole Janssen. After two first downs on the drive, the momentum stalled out with two sacks and another tackle in the backfield.

Kasson-Mantorville ran the clock to halftime on its next possession, taking a 42-0 lead to the locker rooms.

The Tigers caught some steam in the opening possession of the second half, recovering a fumble near midfield. A steady dose of McMillian and Janssen led the Tigers inside the five-yard line before senior Mason Drescher pounded the rock in to give the Tigers their first score of the game.

Down 42-7, the Tigers forced another fumble on the next KoMet possession, taking over near the red zone.

Two plays later Janssen rushed in from 15 yards out to close the gap to 42-14 with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Albert Lea forced and recovered yet another fumble on the next drive, but this time the magic had run out and the Tigers turned the ball over on downs at the KoMets 33-yard line.

Both teams would get another two possessions through the rest of the game, but none resulted in any significant gains.

Junior Dakota Jahnke finished the game 3-for-12 passing with 23 yards and two interceptions. McMillan was the leading rusher with 107 yards on 21 carries. Janssen had 39 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries. Junior Max Edwin had one catch for 19 yards. Defensively, the Tigers were led by junior Brycin Kirsch with 5.5 tackles, including 1.5 for loss. Edwin had one sack.

The Tigers fall to 0-4 this season and will play again Friday when they travel to Winona to take on the 2-2 Winhawks.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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