May 21 • 03:00 AM

Debut victory, 20-13

Lapeer County Lions open regularseason with win versus Flint Fury

Imlay City’s Brad Jackman picks up some yards for the Lapeer County Lions in Saturday’s game. photo by Kevin Kissane.
July 16, 2008
TRI-CITY AREA — The Lapeer County Lions jumped out to a 20-0 advantage at the halftime break and wound up settling for a 20-13 win at the expense of the visiting Flint Fury in a North American Football League encounter last Saturday night at Almont High School.

It was the season-opener for both combatants.

"We got out to a big lead at the half and things were looking good for us," Lapeer County Lions Coach Dan Pilgrim said. "Then we lost our focus, Flint fought back and suddenly we were in a battle," he noted.

"We were able to pull it out. However, we must do a better job of finishing off a game once we get in that position again. It will be a point of emphasis in practice this week."

In Saturday's encounter, the Lapeer County Lions and the Flint Fury concluded the initial quarter with zero points each.

The second quarter, though, would see the Lapeer County Lions tally 20 points while holding their opponent's scoreless.

That productive 15-minute stretch saw the Lapeer County Lions collect a Chance Garner (Flint) to Terry Mitchell (Port Huron High) 51-yard touchdown pass (followed by an accurate extra-point boot courtesy of North Branch's Matt Butterfield) with 8:23 to play until halftime; Cody Halasz (Cass City) cut loose for a 61-yard touchdown run (followed by a successful extra-point kick courtesy of Imlay City's Tom Schutz) with 6:29 showing on the second quarter clock; and Garner hit Brad Jackman (Imlay City) with a 31-yard touchdown pass 17 seconds before halftime.

The Lapeer County Lions looked to have the contest well in hand, or so they must have thought.

When the action resumed, the Flint Fury fought back with a three-yard touchdown tote by quarterback Theeo Zamora. The extra-point kick which followed was blocked, keeping the scoreboard count at 20-6 with 1:42 showing on the third quarter clock.

The Flint Fury's comeback bid would continue during quarter number four.

It was there the visitors took advantage of a seven-yard touchdown run by Antonio Forte and an accurate extra-point boot from Mike Raab.

That made it 20-13, Lapeer County Lions, with 10:08 remaining.

The outcome would remain up for grabs the rest of the way.

With time winding down, the Flint Fury looked as though they were on the verge of evening the scoreboard count. They had moved the ball inside the Lapeer County 10-yard line, where a first-and-goal arose.

It was there the Lapeer County Lions' defense stiffened, refusing to allow the opposition any more yards.

Three snaps later, the Flint Fury were three yards further away from attaining their goal of a touchdown.

The Flint Fury broke their huddle intent on acquiring the equalizer, while the Lapeer County Lions were just as determined to stop them.

The offensive snap went to Zamora, who rolled out trying to spot an open receiver. Seeing that none was available, he tucked the ball to his jersey and scrambled in hopes of making it to the endzone.

However, a host of Lapeer County Lions forced him out of bounds at the 12-yard line, thus squashing the Flint Fury's hopes of acquiring the equalizer.

The Lapeer County Lions then ran out the last 59 seconds on the clock, assuring the first-year team of a 20-13 win.

For the evening, Garner completed six passes as the winning Lapeer County Lions' quarterback. Mitchell (five receptions for 138 yards) and Jackman (one catch for 31 yards) were the targets he connected with.

The Lapeer County Lions also amassed 182 rushing yards on 23 totes.

Individually, Halasz led the Lapeer County Lions with 162 yards. It took him 17 rushes to generate that output. The remaining six totes netted a combined 20-yard gain.

From a defensive standpoint, Kenny Yelle (Lapeer) led the way with 11 solos and three assisted stops. Rochester's Rob Purgatori (five solos, featuring a sack, and two assists), Capac's Justin Gavlinski (four solos and three assists), Imlay City's Angel Pizzaro and Davison's Jeff Tody (six solos apiece) made their presence felt as well.

The hosts also collected four takeways en route to the favorable outcome. Flint's Elijah Marshall (two interceptions and one fumble recovery) and Pizzaro (an interception) furnished those.

The Lapeer County Lions return to action this Saturday when they hit the highways for a clash against the Tri-City Thunder. That matchup, in Ontario, lists a 7 p.m. starting time.

Castle Creek
Milnes Ford
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