Packers- Tigers, Part II
Published 12:00 am Monday, October 23, 2000
The Albert Lea Tigers football team has been outscored by its opponents at more than a 10-to-1 rate this season.
Monday, October 23, 2000
The Albert Lea Tigers football team has been outscored by its opponents at more than a 10-to-1 rate this season. The team has scored just three touchdowns all year and is coming off an emotional 7-0 loss to Winona – the final home game for Albert Lea’s seniors. Austin High (3-5) also beat the Tigers 21-7 two weeks ago.
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Those are precisely the reasons Austin High coach Steve Knox is concerned about having to face the Tigers (0-8) in a Section 1AAAA first round playoff game Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Wescott Field.
"Any time you play against a close rival it’ll be a tough game," Knox said. "We need to play our brand of football and not worry about Albert Lea."
The Packers’ brand of football over the last half of the season has been a combination of a devastating offensive line opening up holes for three solid running backs and the emerging presence of a dominating defensive line.
Though Austin lost its regular season finale to Class 5A power Rochester John Marshall, the Packers’ defense stopped the run in the first half and put pressure on JM quarterback Ryan Steele. Packer defensive end Dave Lorenzen twice looped around a JM offensive tackle and hit Steele cleanly from the blindside, forcing fumbles each time.
"We gave (John Marshall) pretty good field position and that’s hurt us a few times throughout the season," Lorenzen said. "We’re confident with what we have in front of us in the playoffs, though."
When Albert Lea and Austin met during the regular season, Albert Lea’s lone score came on a 55-yard run by quarterback Nick Cunningham on a fourth down-and-2 situation.
Lorenzen said stopping big plays like that will be the key to a successful playoff run for the Packers.
"We have to run the ball well on offense and have strong pass coverage on defense," he said.
The winner of Tuesday’s game advances to the Section 1AAAA semifinals, where it will play second-seeded Northfield at Northfield on Saturday night at 7 p.m.