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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.