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Albany in first home playoff game in five years

Caleb Lay/Daily Star

RUN HARD -- Albany quarterback Jackson Fazio hands the ball to running back Kamryn Mayers against Loranger.

After the Hornets' second-straight season with at least eight regular-season wins, Albany hosts its first home playoff game since Blane Westmoreland became the head coach.

"The chips fell into place for us to get a home playoff game," Westmoreland said. "We've worked hard to get the program to this point, but just getting a home playoff game isn't enough. We need to win it."

Winning the game will require big performances from senior running backs Brad Lewis and Kamryn Mayers. Lewis ran for 133 yards on 29 carries and was difficult for Loranger to bring down. In the last two games of the regular season, Mayers ran for a combined 401 yards on 25 carries and Lewis ran for 262 yards on 39 carries.

The two have combined to lead Albany's run-heavy, wing-T offense all season. Westmoreland said the two have combined for almost 3,500 yards on the ground this season alone. Mayers has over 1,400 yards on the season in just nine games, and Lewis is just under 2,000 yards on the season.

"Both have been outstanding for us this season," Westmoreland said of his two lead backs. "I think they're both All-State-level players. It'll be difficult them and their production next season."

The only issue coming into the first playoff game for the rushing attack is fumbles. Albany held onto the ball, running 64 plays to Loranger's 26 last week, but fumbling away possession kept the Hornets from finishing drives with points on the board.

Westmoreland said his coaching staff is addressing the issue in practice this week by putting in drills focused on reiterating the fundamentals and broke out the weighted footballs to make players focus on how they carry the ball during practice.

Albany's postseason opponent, Crowley, is 6-4, but all four losses were by seven points or less. This makes Crowley a more dangerous 6-4 team than most. Westmoreland also said the offense Crowley runs is familiar.

"It's like watching LSU under Les Miles," Westmoreland said. "The round the double tight [end] I-formation and have a vertical passing attack."

Westmoreland said the thing he wants his team to focus on is the little things though.

"We can't have turnovers or penalties," Westmoreland said. "If we do that we should have a chance to win this game in the fourth quarter.

"Now that it's the postseason, every team is 0-0, and we have a one-week season to prove we should move on."