May 22 • 05:03 AM

Tri-City football teams gear up for start of '07

Almont opens at home, Imlay City, Capac and Dryden hit road

Almont quarterback Steve Brohl looks to give the ball to a runningback during Monday’s practice session. Brohl and the rest of the Raiders start their 2007 season Friday with a home contest against Lakeville. photo by Kevin Kissane.

August 22, 2007
TRI-CITY AREA — The start of another high school football season kicks off just a few days from now.

Here is a look at how the Tri-City squads fared a year ago, who they have coming back and their outlook for the 2007 campaign:

In Almont, Jeremy Ferman is back for season number four as outright head coach.

A year ago, Almont fashioned an 8-2 overall mark. That featured a 6-1 Blue Water Area Conference showing, good enough to gain a share of first place along with Cros-Lex.

Almont's successful 2007 run included a trip to the Division 5, Region 4, District 2 playoffs where the team dropped an 18-0 road verdict to Madison Heights Madison.

In that contest, Madison Heights Madison put up all of their points during the fourth quarter.

Ferman welcomes back 20 prior lettermen on this year's roster of 26 players.

Steve Brohl (quarterback), Eric Mann (fullback), Mark Mersino (halfback), Steven Mack (halfback and linebacker), Brian Thomas (tight end and defensive end), Andrew Grant (offensive tackle), Chris Creger (offensive guard), Chris Lansky (center), Ethan Coucke (offensive guard and linebacker), Joe Tiseo (offensive tackle and defensive tackle), Paul Parzynski (split end and safety), Jeff Simian (defensive tackle), Gabe Farrugia (defensive end), Ben Strouse (defensive end), Josh Walker (cornerback), Mike Owen (linebacker), Steve McClure (linebacker) are Almont's key returnees.

As far as the battle for the Blue Water Area Conference title is concerned, Ferman lists Cros-Lex and Almont as the favorites to battle it out for the league title. He also believes Yale could have a say as to which team brings home a top league finish.

"We return a lot of experience from last year's team," Ferman said. "That should be our strongest asset this season," he noted.

"We won't be able to sneak up on anyone. This year we are one of the hunted and not the hunters."

Almont opens their 2007 season this Friday when it hosts Lakeville. The non-league encounter is slated for 6:55 p.m.

At Imlay City, John Forti (who was an assistant coach at Capac a year ago) starts his first year in charge of the Spartans' program.

He assumes the coaching reins from Pat Brown, who stepped down from the position at the completion of the 2006 campaign.

Forti inherits a ballclub that went 4-5 a year ago. That included a 4-3 Blue Water Area Conference mark, leaving the Spartans tied with Richmond for third place.

He returns four previous letterwinners on this year's roster of 27 players.

Mason Duke (linebacker/tight end), Ryan Baker (linebacker/offensive guard), Chris Walters (defensive end/offensive line) and Mike Guerrero (defensive back/split end) are Imlay City's top returnees.

Forti pegs Almont as the favorite for the Blue Water Area Conference championship. He also lists Cros-Lex and Richmond as teams he thinks could be in the thick of the title race when all is said and done.

"We are not a big team as far as physical size is concerned," Forti said. "Our plan is to overcome that with our athleticism," he noted.

"We intend to go out and be competitive each contest. That is our goal."

Imlay City gets their 2007 campaign underway this Friday when it travels to North Branch. The non-conference matchup lists a 7 p.m. starting time.

In Capac, Tom Manney (last year's junior varsity assistant coach) starts his debut campaign as the Chiefs' head coach.

He takes over the assignment from Bill Nestle, who resigned at the end of the 2006 campaign.

A year ago, Capac managed a 2-7 overall mark. That featured a 1-6 Blue Water Area Conference showing, good enough for a share of seventh place with Yale.

Manney welcomes back 12 previous letterwinners on this year's roster of 30 players.

Alex Wegner (center/defensive line), Crhsi Bruce (runningback/defensive back), Ruben Nino (offensive line/linebacker), Kevin Bollaert (split end/defensive back), Anthony Theel (offensive line/defensive end), Joe Harvey (runningback/defensive end), Tino Siewert (receiver/defensive end), Bill Ogden (offensive line/defensive line), Travis York (kicker/linebacker), Dan Patton (offensive line/defensive line), Mike Walker (runningback/defensive back) and Jon Botwin (quarterback/defensive back) are Capac's top returnees.

As far as the battle for the Blue Water Conference championship is concerned, Manney lists Almont as the probable frontrunner. He also projects Cros-Lex as a team who could prove a title threats.

"We have a solid group of returnees," Manney said. "Depth, though, will be an issue," he noted.

"We need someone from the supporting cast to step up. If we can get that to happen we should have a good season."

Capac starts their 2007 campaign this Friday when it travels to Atherton for a non-league encounter. That battle is slated to get underway at 6:55 p.m.

At Dryden, Brian Tresnak is back for season number four in charge of the Cardinals' program.

A year ago, Dryden wound up with a 2-7 record. That included a 1-6 North Central Thumb League mark, good enough for seventh place.

He returns 10 previous letterwinners on this year's roster of 36 players, some of which will see action at the junior varsity level.

Travis Litkovitz (defendive tackle/offensive guard), Allen Clark (linebacker/fullback), Eric Tietz (linebacker/halfback), Wes Jonik (linebacker/halfback), Evan Crean (defensive tackle/offensive guard), Chad Butler (cornerback/quarterback/halfback) and Matt Lynch (safety, tight end) are Dryden's top returnees.

Tresnak pegs Memphis and Kingston as the teams with the best shot of capturing the North Central Thumb League title.

"We will be competitive this season," Tresnak said. "That is as long as we stay healthy," he noted.

"This is the best group of athletes I have ever had here. We will win if they stay focused and do what needs to be done."

Dryden kicks off their 2007 season this Friday when it travels to Dearborn Star International Academy. The non-league contest lists a 5 p.m. starting time.

Sports Editor, Kevin Kissane has been covering sports for the Tri-City Times for over 20 years and is one of the most recognizable personalities in the area. Kevin when not covering anything from little league baseball to football, or softball to basketball, can be found on the links playing his favorite sport, golf.
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