June 27 • 04:48 AM

Almont's 15-game win streak ends

September 10, 2008
ALMONT — Richmond snapped a 15-game Blue Water Area Conference winning streak by Almont's varsity football team, eking out a 14-13 road victory last Friday night.

With the result, Richmond raises its mark to 1-1 overall and 1-0 as far as league clashes are concerned. Almont slips to 1-1 this season, including a 0-1 BWAC showing thus far.

"It didn't come down to the final kick," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman stated. "We never should have been in that situation in the first place," he emphasized.

"With all respect to Richmond we did not play our best game. It came down to execution as well as the fundamentals of blocking and tackling."

In Friday's matchup, Almont visited the endzone first. That happened when Garett Savage took a handoff from Neal Zott and dashed 75 yards for a touchdown with 7:15 showing on the first quarter clock.

Almont quarterback Neal Zott heads for a first down in Friday’s BWAC game with Richmond. photo by Kevin Kissane.
Ben McNally then added an accurate extra-point boot, giving Almont a 7-0 lead.

That scoreboard count would hold up for quite awhile.

Then, with 5:49 showing on the second quarter clock, Richmond pulled to within a point when Ryan Bird hit paydirt on a tote from three yards out.

Bird followed it up with an accurate extra-point boot, making a 7-7 ballgame.

That would be the last time either side scored during the opening half of play.

When the action resumed, Richmond grabbed a 14-7 advantage on a Mark Salankiewicz one-yard touchdown tote and a successful extra-point kick courtesy of Bird. It came with 10:28 showing on the fourth quarter clock.

The contest would remain a close one the rest of the way.

Then, with 20 seconds showing on the clock, Richmond decided to forego a punt despite having the ball fourth-and-six at their own 35-yard line.

It was there Almont's defense rose to the occasion and held Richmond to no gain.

The defending Blue Water Area Conference champions, who hadn't lost a league game since Cros-Lex accomplished the feat back during the 2006 campaign, weren't about to quit. They still had 14 seconds to acquire the equalizer.

On the next play, Zott took the snap from center. He rolled left, seeking out an open target.

It was there he lofted a pass to the left corner of the endzone as several Richmond defenders converged quickly. Somehow, Savage found his way between them and came down with a touchdown reception.

He was promptly swarmed by a host of Almont teammates. The Raiders had pulled to within 14-13 with four seconds remaining.

It looked as if the game was headed to overtime. Or so it seemed anyway.

Instead, McNally (who was a spotless nine for nine on extra-point kicks up until then) uncharacteristically pulled his attempt.

The Richmond lead remained at 14-13.

Richmond then ran out the clock, putting an end to Almont's impressive regular season BWAC win streak.

On the evening, Zott completed one of four pass plays for 35 yards as Almont's quarterback. He threw one interception en route to those numbers.

Savage had the lone Almont reception.

The Almont ground attack managed 235 yards on 38 carries.

Individually, Almont was led by Savage. He rushed the ball 12 times for 103 yards. Steve McClure (61 yards on 11 totes), Zott (eight rushes for 56 yards) and Addam Wierbicki (15 yards on seven totes) supported his performance.

Tom Chilcote and Ben Strouse paced Almont's defense. They were credited with 10 solo stops apiece. Zott and McClure added five and four solo tackles, respectively, to the Raiders' cause.

Almont will look to bounce back this Friday when they go to Yale for a Blue Water Area Conference meeting. That contest lists a 7 p.m. starting time.

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