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Lapeer County Lions win a thriller


Capping impressive preseason with third straight win, hand Flint Fury a 15-12 loss


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Imlay City’s Brad Jackman, playing for the Lapeer County Lions, looks to pick up a first down during last Saturday’s encounter versus the Flint Fury. The Lapeer County Lions outlasted the Flint Fury, 15-12, in overtime. photo by Kevin Kissane.

June 25, 2008
TRI-CITY AREA — Matt Butterfield (North Branch) connected on a 25-yard field goal attempt with 8:31 remaining during overtime, lifting the Lapeer County Lions to a 15-12 victory over the visiting Flint Fury in a North American Football League preseason confrontation last Saturday night.

Almont High School is where the action unfolded.

The outcome enabled the Lapeer County Lions to close out their inaugural preseason slate as owners of a spotless 3-0 mark.

"I don't know what it is but it seems our games always go down to the wire," Lapeer County Lions Coach Dan Pilgrim said. "Fortun-ately, we have found a way to pull it out each time," he noted.

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In Saturday's confrontation, the Lapeer County Lions struck first.

That happened when Justin Sortor (Imlay City) hit David Grapentin (Imlay City) with a 12-yard touchdown pass with 7:05 showing on the first quarter clock.

Butterfield followed it up with a successful extra-point kick, giving the Lapeer County Lions a 7-0 advantage at the time.

The remainder of the first quarter was scoreless.

The Lapeer County Lions then widened the gap to 9-0 when the Flint Fury snapped the ball over their punter's head and out of the endzone 1:05 in to the second quarter.

That would prove the last points either side collected during the half number one.

When the action resumed, the Lapeer County Lions padded its cushion some.

Aided by a Butterfield 24-yard field goal attempt, which cleared the crossbar by a fraction of inch, the Lapeer County Lions went ahead 12-0. There was now 5:39 remaining during quarter number three.

It looked as though the Lapeer County Lions would coast to yet another victory, or so they must have thought anyway.

Instead, the Flint Fury bounced back with a Theo Zamora to Cullen Davis 44-yard touchdown pass and a seven-yard touchdown collaboration involving the same pair. Those tallies came with and 8:08 left and 1:54 remaining during quarter number four, respectively.

That set the stage for overtime.

It was there the Lapeer County Lions put an end to things on a 25-yard field goal by Butterfield with 8:31 to play, assuring themselves of an unbeaten preseason run.

On the evening, Sortor handled the bulk of the Lapeer County Lions quarterback responsibilities. He finished five for 11 for 50 yards.

Grapentin proved the most productive Lapeer County Lions receiver, collecting five catches for 47 yards.

Cody Halasz (Cass City) notched the highest Lapeer County Lions rushing output. He wound up with 90 yards.

Angel Pizzaro (Imlay City) put up the Lapeer County Lions top special team numbers. Pizzaro returned four kicks for 72 yards.

Jeff Tody ((Davison) led the Lapeer County Lions's defense with four solos and seven assisted stops. Genesee's Robert Burchell managed one solo and seven assisted stops and Capac's Justin Gavlinski followed, furnishing two solos and five assisted tackles. Lapeer West's Kenny Yelle (two solos, three assists and one interception) and Rochester's Rob Purgatori (two fumble recoveries for 46 yards) made their presence felt as well.

The Lapeer Lions are off until Saturday, July 12 when they square off versus the Flint Fury in their regular season opener. That contest, also at Almont High School, lists a 7 p.m. starting time.

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