Football: Thunder thrive in air, on ground, beat Albany 37-22

Thunder linemen including Mitch Robinson (front) and Cory Jopp clear a path for fullback Jeff Mueller, who scored from the three-yard line. (Photo by Heather Lunning)


The Zimmerman Thunder ran off 30 straight points with a potent combo of passing and power running, and defeated the Albany Huskies 37-22 on Friday evening.

Cam Korlath fired three touchdown passes and fullback Jeff Mueller rumbled for 148 yards on the ground in the season opener in Albany.

“We had a shaky start, but we were more phyiscal than they were, and had more depth, and we wore them down,” said Thunder coach Tom Kish. “From the second quarter on, we were able to push them around.”

Albany dazed the Z-Men with two big plays in the first quarter as Scott Litchy dashed 50 and 60 yards for touchdowns.

Collin Ashley snags a pass. (Photo by Heather Lunning)


“Litchy made our guys look silly on those two runs, especially the second touchdown,” said Kish. “But he had to play both ways and you could see he was getting tired in the second half.”

The Thunder defense hunkered down and allowed only 214 total yards in the game, 110 on those two plays. Litchy finished with 138 yards in 19 carries.

Albany led 16-13 after the first quarter as Korlath passed to Trey Gabrielson (19 yards) and Collin Ashley (55 yards) for scores. Gabrielson made a nice catch over the defensive back in the end zone, while Ashley took a 10-yard square out, juked past a couple defenders and sped away.

The Thunder pushed ahead in the second quarter on Mueller’s touchdown runs of three and 41 yards, and Alex McGregor’s 29-yard field, taking a 30-16 halftime lead.

“Jeff has added 20 pounds of pure muscle since last year, and he’s 205 pounds and really cut,” said Kish. “Our line was doing a real nice job opening holes. He was really dishing it out.”

Another TD pass, this one to Cody Thompson from 42 yards, made it 37-16 in the third. That was a long toss and Thompson shook off a cornerback at the 10.

The Thunder rushed for 310 yards and passed for 134. They also had two big punt returns, 49 yards by Ashley and 26 yards by Gabrielson.

Thunder lineman Mitch Robinson made 10 tackles and Mueller at linebacker made nine.

The Thunder will host Milaca next Friday.

Zimmerman 37, Albany 22

Zimmerman ….. 13   17    7   0 — 37
Albany ………… 16    0    0   6 — 22

Alb—Scott Litchy 50 run (Blake Meyer run)
Zim—Trey Gabrielson 19 pass from Cam Korlath (Alex McGregor kick)
Alb—Litchy 60 run (Michael Schlangen pass from Meyer)
Zim—Collin Ashley 55 pass from Korlath (kick failed)
Zim—Jeff Mueller 3 run (McGregor kick)
Zim—Mueller 41 run (McGregor kick)
Zim—McGregor 29 field goal
Zim—Cody Thompson 42 pass from Korlath (McGregor kick)
Alb—Andrew Salzi 2 run (run fail)

Albany leaders
Rushing — Litchy 19-138, Matt Schwinghammer 3-24
Passing — Meyer 1-7-3-0

Zimmerman leaders
Rushing — Cam Korlath 16-59, Collin Ashley 6-42, Austin Tretbar 2-49, Andrew Nixon 1-3, Jeff Mueller 18-148, Noah Lunning 4-9
Passing — Cam Korlath 5-14-134-1
Receiving — Ashley 2-65, Cody Thompson 1-42, Trey Gabrielson 1-19, Lunning 1-8
Tackle leaders (solo-assist) — Mitch Robinson 4-6, Mueller 6-3, Korlath 5-1, Jeremy Sloneker 3-3, Elli Muellenach 3-3, Cory Jopp 2-3 (1 sack), Travis Bray 4-0, Tretbr 3-1, Lunning 2-2
Fumble recoveries — Cody Thompson 2