EGF Senior High falls to Albany
ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Faced with conditions generally unseen even in Central Minnesota, it was no secret what Albany would try to do Saturday night. Even in the best of fall weather, the Huskies prefer to ram the ball down their opponents' throats. ...
ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Faced with conditions generally unseen even in Central Minnesota, it was no secret what Albany would try to do Saturday night.
Even in the best of fall weather, the Huskies prefer to ram the ball down their opponents' throats.
So, throw in a little snow, steady, bitter wind and below-freezing temperatures, and the Albany game plan seemed even more appropriate.
It was executed well at St. Cloud State's Husky Stadium. The undefeated and No. 1-ranked Huskies ran to a 43-8 win over East Grand Forks Senior High in the Minnesota Class AAA state football playoff quarterfinals.
"I'm happy," said shivering Albany senior two-way lineman Andrew Diedrich, who led a unit that dominated play Saturday. "I'm in a good mood. I'd rather be in a good mood and cold than in a bad mood and cold."
Albany (12-0) advances to the state semifinals. The Huskies play second-ranked Rochester Lourdes (12-0) at 3:15 p.m. Friday at the Metrodome.
The Huskies get the opportunity by stifling an East Grand Forks team that ran 43 plays all evening, rushing 31 times for 52 yards and passing for 89. Albany, meanwhile, piled up 321 yards on 63 plays, including 281 on the ground. It helped the Huskies take a 22-0 lead after the first quarter.
"We knew going in that they'd be a good football team and with the conditions as such, we wanted to get a lead on them right away," Albany coach Mike Kleinschmidt said. "When you have the lead, it's a lot easier to play in inclement weather than it is playing from behind."
It's why, Kleinschmidt said, Albany chose to play with the wind at its back instead of taking the ball right away when it won the coin toss.
The Huskies forced the Green Wave (8-4) to go three and out, then mounted a nine-play, 58-yard drive for their first score. All of them were running plays, generally between the tackles.
"I think Albany is an awfully good team," East Grand Forks coach Scott Oliver said. "I think our inability to move the ball into the wind was a definite factor. We turned the ball over in four-down territory (on the Albany 37-yard line) and we had that punt blocked and that cost us.
"You've got to give them a lot of credit for what they did in that first quarter."
Diedrich blocked the punt, which was recovered at the Green Wave 11. Luke Evans snuck it in on the first play of scrimmage to put Albany up 22-0 after a two-point conversion pass with 1:19 to play in the first quarter.
Brandon Hiltner also had a 24-yard interception return that he ran to the Albany 39. Eight running plays and 61 yards later, Albany had a 14-0 lead after Hiltner's two-point conversion run.
"I thought in the second quarter, we played a little better and in the second half, overall we played well," Oliver said. "I thought (the Huskies) were very physical in the first half and I have to tell you, no one's done that to us all year. That said, I thought we responded well. Our physical play is what has gotten us here."
Senior High's lone score came on a Tanner Dahlen 1-yard run in the second quarter.