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Monday, October 24, 2011

Huskies to battle Cathedral in playoff opener

The Albany football squad will face a familiar foe when it faces former conference mate St. Cloud Cathedral Tuesday in St. Cloud.

The Huskies garnered the No. 6 seed following last Wednesday's 48-46 loss to New London-Spicer. That pits them against the No. 3 Crusaders.

The Huskies finished the regular season with a 5-3 mark. They were tied with Litchfield in QRF rankings (a new formula to determine section seedings based on strength of schedule, record, and other factors). But Litchfield, despite having a 4-4 season record, was awarded the No. 5 seed because it had a better record (1-0) against section teams than Albany (1-1).

The Crusaders have been relying on a stingy defense to win ball games. They have allowed just 12.4 points per game. Their offense is producing just 18.1 points per game.

The Huskies are averaging 36.1 points per game and allowing 22.6.

Albany has also suffered several key injuries throughout the season. Two of their top players — Tony Harlander and Scott Litchy — have been banged up all fall. Both appear to be close to healthy as playoffs open, which should bode well for the Huskies.

The rest of the section match ups looks like this:
No. 1 Zimmerman (7-1) vs. No. 8 Melrose (3-5)
No. 2 New London-Spicer (6-2) vs. No. 7 Annandale (3-5)
No. 3 St. Cloud Cathedral (6-2) vs. No. 6 Albany (5-3)
No. 4 Foley (6-2) vs. No. 5 Litchfield (4-4)

A win Tuesday night would pit the Huskies against the New London-Spicer/Annandale winner on Saturday at the high seed at 7 p.m.

The Section Finals will be Nov. 4 at 8 p.m.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Huskies celebrate homecoming with big game against Melrose

The Huskies (4-1) will take on Melrose tonight in West Central Conference action that will also cap off their homecoming week.

The Huskies are coming off a convincing 41-7 win over Sauk Centre last Friday and are currently in third place in the WCC North, trailing both New London-Spicer and Montevideo. It was Montevideo who clipped the Huskies in the shootout on Sept. 23 in which they came back form a 21-0 deficit to take a mounting lead only to lose it late in a 56-49 loss.

The Huskies are averaging 39 points per game on offense and allowing an average of 21, which is skewed by Montevideo's big output. Montevideo, meanwhile, is also averaging 39 points per game but is allowing 26. New London-Spicer leads the conference in defense when it comes to points per game, allowing just 17. But they're offense averages just 23. Minnewaska, even though they are 0-4, are allowing just 20 points per game and have played the conference tight, losing to the Huskies 28-21 and to Montevideo 28-14.

The Huskies, as usual,  have relied heavily on their running game, but last week burned Sauk Centre on two long passes by quarterback Tony Harlander for two scores.

Tonight's opponent, Melrose, has averaged just 14 points per game on offense and is 0-2 in conference play and 1-4 overall. The have lost four straight after dropping last Friday's game to New London-Spicer 34-6.

The Huskies will look to get out to an early lead against the Dutchmen tonight to put pressure on Montevideo and New London-Spicer. Both those teams should win their games tonight (NL-S vs. Sauk Centre and Monte is playing a non-conference game against YME).

But Albany still has a shot at a co-conference title. If New London-Spicer beats Monteivdeo next Friday and Albany can beat New London-Spicer on Oct. 19, all three would have one loss in conference play.

It will be fun to see how it all shakes out.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Second-half surge leads Huskies over Benson 26-9

Scott Litchy barrels through for some yards early in Friday's win over Benson. Yards were tough to come by in the first half, but the Huskies scored 20 unanswered points in the second half for the win.

What a difference two halves make.

After being outplayed in the first half and trailing 9-6 against Benson Friday, the Albany Huskies came out strong in the second half to score 20 unanswered points on their way to a 26-9 victory.

The Huskies scored first after taking advantage of a Benson fumble on Benson’s 27-yard line in the firts quarter. Senior captain Ben Eli recovered the fumble and it was fellow senior Nick Nueman who scampered in from seven yards out for the first score.
The extra point attempt failed and the Huskies clung to a 6-0 lead.

But Benson took over for the rest of the half. Junior quarterback Matt Ahrndt connected on a 41-yard pass to Albany’s 9-yard line, but the Braves had to settle for a field goal after a botched snap drove them back from the 1-yard line to the 12.

With the score 6-3, Albany couldn’t muster any offense as their running game struggled to gain ground against a much bigger Benson defense.

Ahrndt and the Braves drove down the field again, but this time it was Austin Petron who came up with a key block on a fourth down play to thwart the threat. Albany's defense came up with several key stops throughout the game that helped them stay in the game.

Midway through the second quarter the Huskies had switched up their offensive game plan and moved starting quarterback Scott Litchy to halfback and Blake Meyer to quarterback. But Meyer’s first attempt was picked off and returned to Albany’s 43. This gave Ahrndt one more chance to take the lead before the half and he connected with Logan Connelly on 4th and 12 from the 26-yard line for a touchdown with just 39 seconds to go in the half.
A pass from Scott Litchy was just out of the reach of Dylan Shay early in Friday's game. When it was all said and done all 289 yards for the Huskies were gained on the ground.

The TD gave Benson a 9-6 lead heading into the locker room. Not only did they have the lead, they had the momentum. They had outgained the Huskies 181 yards to 51. Most of Benson’s yards came through the air while all 51 of Albany's was on the ground.

But things changed in the second half. The Huskies scored three touchdowns and held the potent Benson offense at bay. Most importantly, they were finally able to create some holes to allow the running game to flourish.

Senior tailback Travis Sand broke through on a 46-yard TD run with 3:23 left in the third quarter. A Scott Litchy extra point made it 12-9.
Travis Sand gave the Huskies the lead with this 46-yard TD run with 3:23 to go in the third quarter.


On Benson’s next possession, the biggest play of the night ensued. Albany began blitzing in the second half and it paid off. When Ben Eli and Jesse Womack converged on Ahrndt, they made contact with him as he released the ball. Senior lineman Austin Petron was their for the pick and he returned it 40 yards for the score.

Austin Petron needed a drink after running the 40-yard dash Friday. Petron had the biggest play of the game when he picked off a Matt Ahrndt pass and returned it 40 yards for a TD.

The Albany sideline erupted as the senior scampered toward the goal line. And as the Huskies’ spirits rose, Benson’s deflated.

After that it was all Albany as they coasted to the win, capped by a 8-yard TD run by Litchy.

The 26-9 win gives Albany a 1-0 mark on the season. Despite a slow first half, the Huskies gained 289 yards, all on the ground, and 237 in the second half. Litchy led the way with 96 yards on 18 carries. Sand gained 86 yards on eight carries and Kyle VanOverbeke, who also had a great defensive deflection to thwart a Benson drive, gained 44 yards on five carries.

Benson, meanwhile, finished with 304 yards, most of them through the air. Ahrndt completed 21-of-38 passes for 258 yards a TD and an interception.

Both teams had 13 first downs and Benson committed six penalties to Albany’s three.

But in the end, it was the score that mattered, and despite a slow start, the Huskies’ second-half surge catapulted them to solid season-opening victory.



Be sure to check out this week's Enterprise for more on Friday's big win including reaction from coaches and players. More than 200 photos of the game will be posted on the photo gallery on the Enterprise website next week. Check it out at www.albanyenterprise.com.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcome to the Huskie Sports Blog

Hello and welcome to the Huskie Sports Blog where Enterprise sports reporters will be posting game highlights, photos and information about your favorite Huskie teams.

This is the place to get up to date results on games and matches. It is also the place to get your football fix. Following Friday night's games, we will post the game story and photos on the Huskie Sports Blog.

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