Loranger at Albany football Nicholas Pregeant

Albany High's quarterback Nicholas Pregeant (15) fights for extra yards.

Some of the things that helped Albany get to playoffs didn't show up in the Hornets' game Friday night.

Some others were uncharacteristic, and the end result was a 41-8 loss to North Webster in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs.

"It was just a tough night all in all," Albany coach Mike Janis said. "Special teams had some issues, and then field conditions were pretty bad, which I thought would favor us in the run game.

"They made big plays when they needed big plays. That was the big difference."

No. 8 North Webster (7-4)  got the scoring started with a punt return for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.

The Knights broke the game open with a 22-point second quarter to lead 28-0 at halftime. The burst was keyed by a long touchdown pass on fourth-and-12 and a long touchdown run, on which Janis said the No. 25 Hornets (6-5) missed some tackles.

"I thought we were playing good defensively," Janis said. "We just had a couple of missed opportunities for us, and they took advantage of it in big situations."

Janis said another layer to North Webster's success came from its ability to slow the Albany run game, which is a staple of the team's offense.

"We struggled," Janis said. "I thought the field conditions really limited our running game to more north-south runs. Lateral run's really going to be an issue because putting your foot in the ground and making that cut to get up field is going to be difficult. The did a really good job of playing gap control on defense. It seemed like no matter what we ran, that they had somebody there to stop it."

"They're an 8 seed for a reason. They're a good football team. I thought we had some things that we could have done better tonight, but it just seems like in these playoff games, when you get down a little bit, people start to press a little ... when you're out there and your pressing, you're just kind of over-trying (and) you maybe put yourself in a position that you're not supposed to be in. You're not true to playing assignment football ..."

North Webster added another touchdown in the third quarter to lead 35-0 and pushed the lead to 41-0 in the fourth quarter.

"You can't fault the kids for being out there and putting forth that effort, because they're just out there trying to win," Janis said. "Our guys played hard all night, regardless of the score."

Justin Parrish scored the Hornets' lone touchdown late in the game, and Casey Thompson ran the 2-point conversion in up the middle.

"It's a difficult way to go out for our seniors," Janis said. "I thought they deserved better than that. They played hard all year. You can't ask more from them from an effort standpoint. It's a great group of kids."

Janis is hopeful that getting a full offseason in with the team's returning players will pay off next season.

"I think we've got got a great group of kids coming back next year," Janis said. "We've still got some big linemen in those positions. We return some young, talented freshmen and sophomores. I think we've got some kids who are eager to get on the field and some that we've seen develop here along the way late in the season that are going to do really good things for us."

"Trying to develop that passing game offensively is really going to be critical to the success we have next season."

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