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August 17 • 09:32 AM
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Second half ruins Spartans opener


North Branch overcomes halftime deficit to run away with game, 52-22, Imlay scoreless in final two quarters



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September 03, 2008
IMLAY CITY — A 32-0 second half advantage propelled visiting North Branch to a 52-22 road win against Imlay City in a non-league varsity football matchup last Thursday night.

It was the season-opener for both combatants.

"We scored a touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half," Imlay City Coach John Forti said. "That gave us the lead and the momentum heading in to the halftime break," he noted.

"We got the ball first to begin the second half and had a chance to add to our lead, but we came up with a couple of penalties on our drive. We then snapped the ball over our punter's head and that set them up in good field position. It was all downhill from there."

In Thursday's matchup, North Branch opened up a 14-6 advantage after one quarter was complete.

The next 12-minute stretch, though, would belong to Imlay City.

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Cruz Medrano, of Imlay City, runs away from a pair of North Branch defenders during last week’s season-opener game. North Branch won by a 52-22 count. photo by Randy Jorgensen.

It was there Imlay City tallied 16 points, while allowing North Branch six.

That staked Imlay City to a 22-20 edge at the halftime break.

When the action resumed, North Branch bounced back with a 13-0 third quarter edge.

That left North Branch holding a 33-22 cushion at the 36-minute mark.

North Branch then outscored Imlay City 19-0 from that point on, closing out a 52-22 win.

Imlay City generated their 22-point output aided by a Darren Saunders four-yard touchdown run; a Saunders two-yard touchdown run (followed by a Saunders to Joe Christunas PAT pass); and a Saunders to Adam Van Dyk one-yard touchdown pass (followed by a Cruz Medrano PAT tote). Those tallies came 1:12 before the opening quarter was to end; with 4:45 showing on the second quarter clock; and with one second remaining until halftime.

Saunders (12 of 32 for 123 yards, with one interception) and Aaron Thompson (two of three for 26 yards) shared the quarterback assignment for Imlay City.

Their successful tosses were distributed to seven different targets. Their ranks consisted of Van Dyk (five catches for 51 yards), Christunas (four receptions for 33 yards), D.J. Salet (one catch for 22 yards), Jeff Titus (one reception for 21 yards), Medrano (one catch for nine yards), Alex Maldonado (one reception for eight yards) and Brad Kramek (one catch for five yards).

The Imlay City ground attack finished with 130 yards on 33 totes.

Individually, Medrano led Imlay City with 45 yards. It took him nine rushes to amass that output. Saunders (44 yards on 10 totes) and David Sears five rushes for 27 yards) supported his performance. The remaining nine Spartan totes netted a combined 14-yard gain.

From a defensive standpoint, Kramek paced Imlay City with six solos and five assisted stops. He was backed by Salet (three solos and three assists) and Nick Nivison (three solos and two assists).

The Imlay City defense also collected one takeaway. Van Dyk furnished that, intercepting an opposing pass play.

Imlay City will look to bounce back this Friday when it ventures to Armada for a Blue Water Area Conference clash. That encounter is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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