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Raiders in BWAC title picture


Almont runs past North Branch in game of unbeatens, 42-6


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Almont's Lucas Delaurier looks to pick up a first down during his team's BWAC football confrontation last Friday versus North Branch. The Raiders won 42-6. photo by Kevin Kissane.

September 19, 2018
ALMONT — Almont varsity football left little doubt that it belongs in the conversation when discussing possible Blue Water Area Conference title contenders, driving that point across emphatically with a 42-6 triumph against visiting league counterpart North Branch last Friday night.

With the decision, Almont raises its mark to 4-0 and 3-0. North Branch watches their record fall to to 3-1 and 2-1.

"We came out and played very disciplined against a team that hides the ball very well," Almont Coach James Leusby said. "The boys came out and played as though it was any other game even though we were playing another undefeated team," he noted.

"We had another great crowd that helped propel us as usual. We have another big game next week and are hoping to use this momentum to carry us through."

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In Friday's battle, Almont stormed out to a 22-0 advantage after one quarter was done.

Quarter two saw Almont collect six points as did North Branch, leaving the former up 28-6 at the halftime break.

The next 12-minute stretch saw Almont strike for 14 points and North Branch manage none, pushing their cushion to 42-6.

That would prove the eventual final score.

Almont generated their 42-point total aided by a Colton Kruse 43-yard touchdown run; a Josh Hellebuyck to Michael Lulgjuraj 61-yard touchdown pass (followed by a Jace Rinke PAT tote); a Hellebuyck to Rinke 55-yard touchdown pass (followed by a Jack Paupert PAT tote); a Paupert three-yard touchdown run; a Paupert 10-yard touchdown run (followed by a Kruse PAT tote); and a Corey Webster six-yard touchdown run.

For the night, Hellebuyck completed four of six pass plays for 158 yards as Almont's quarterback. He threw two interceptions along the way.

Lulgjuraj (two catches for 71 yards), Rinke (one reception for 55 yards) and Colby Schapman (one catch for 32 yards) had Almont's receptions.

Blake Kapron (10 assists), Rinke (two solos and seven assists), and Nolan Panduren (two solos and six assists) notched Almont's top tackle totals. Paupert (two solos and four assists) and Jacob Hausmann (three solos and two assists) and Meric Okoniewski (five assists) made their presence felt as well.

Schapman (an interception) provided the lone Almont takeaway.

Almont will look to continue their winning ways when they travel to Cros-Lex this Friday. The Blue Water Area Conference encounter lists a 7 p.m. starting time.

Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.
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