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Imlay City upsets Almont, 27-21, in conference rivalry


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Imlay City’s Joe Christunas tries to chase down a pass attempt as Almont’s Steven Cassidy pursues during last Friday night’s BWAC football confrontation. Imlay City won by a 27-21 scoreboard count. photo by Randy Jorgensen.

October 08, 2008
TRI-CITY AREA — The Imlay City varsity football team did what few thought was possible, securing an unexpected 27-21 victory over visiting Almont in a Blue Water Area Conference battle last Friday night.

With the decision, Imlay City goes to 1-5 and 1-4. Almont slips to 4-2 and 3-2.

"We came out ready to play," Imlay City Coach John Forti said. "We played all four quarters fired up and it showed," he emphasized.

"This was a game nobody gave us a chance in, but our kids always believed they could come through. Tonight we went out and proved what they thought was possible."

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On the opposite sideline, Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman was left wondering what went wrong in a game many believed would be a blowout in his team's favor going in.

"We made way too many penalties (seven for 55 yards) and they didn't have any," Ferman said. "It wasn't the only reason we lost, but it was definitely a key contributor," he emphasized.

"Give Imlay City credit. They came out and took the win from us."

In Friday's battle, Imlay City grabbed an 8-7 edge after one quarter was complete.

Quarter number two saw Almont put up seven points, while allowing Imlay City six.

That knotted the scoreboard count at 14 points per side at the midway mark.

When the action resumed, Imlay City bounced back with a 7-0 third quarter edge.

That staked Imlay City to a 21-14 advantage at the 36-minute mark.

Almont then outscored Imlay City 7-6 from that point on, only to fall by a 27-21 count when the final second ticked off the clock.

Imlay City amassed their winning 27-point total aided by an Alex Maldonado 49-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown (followed by a PAT pass from Darren Saunders to Joe Christunas); an Aaron Thompson to Christunas nine-yard touchdown pass; a Thompson to Maldonado 18-yard touchdown pass (followed by a successful extra-point kick courtesy of D.J. Salet); and a Thompson to Salet 84-yard touchdown pass.

Almont countered with an Addam Wierbicki three-yard touchdown run (followed by an accurate extra-point boot from Ben McNally); a Neal Zott to Pat Russell 33-yard touchdown pass (followed by a successful extra-point kick courtesy of McNally); and a Zott to Russell 44-yard touchdown pass (followed by a successful extra-point boot from McNally).

On the evening, Thompson completed 10 of 26 pass plays for 219 yards as Imlay City's quarterback. He threw one interception along the way.

Saunders was the other Imlay City player who opted to air out the football. He wound up one of two for three yards.

Their successful tosses went to six different targets. Christunas (three catches for 26 yards), Salet (two receptions for 103 yards), Adam Van Dyk and Maldonado (two catches for 28 yards apiece), Nick Nivison (one reception for 25 yards) and Saunders (one catch for nine yards).

The Imlay City ground attack managed 54 yards on 19 totes.

Individually, Maldonado (three rushes for 46 yards) and Christunas (11 yards on one tote) put up Imlay City's best credentials. The remaining 15 Spartan rushes netted a combined three-yard loss.

Mason Day (five solos and five assists) and Dane Walker (four solos and six assists) paced Imlay City's defense. They were backed by Saunders (three solos and five assists), Maldonado (seven solos), Josh Timmer (four solos and two assists) and Van Dyk (four solos and one assist).

The Imlay City defense also claimed two takeaways. Nivison (an interception) and Maldonado (a fumble recovery) furnished those.

For the evening, Zott completed 12 of 24 pass plays for 219 yards as Almont's quarterback. He threw one interception en route to those numbers.

Mike Grundner was the other Almont player who opted to air out the football. He finished one for one for seven yards.

Their completions were distributed to four different targets. Russell (seven catches for 143 yards), Wierbicki (four receptions for 61 yards), Steve McClure (one catch for 15 yards) and Zott (one reception for seven yards) formed that group.

The Almont ground attack wound up with 176 yards on 40 totes. Wierbicki (14 rushes for 83 yards), Zott (53 yards on 13 totes), McClure (10 rushes for 31 yards put up Almont's best numbers. The remaining three Raider totes netted a combined nine-yard gain.

Ben Strouse paced Almont's defense with eight solo stops.

The Almont defense also notched a pair of takeaways. Jake McCarthy (an interception) and Strouse (a fumble recovery) provided those.

Imlay City returns to action this Friday when it hosts Blue Water Area Conference foe Algonac, while Almont entertains league counterpart Armada. Those battles, both homecoming clashes, are scheduled for 7 p.m.

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08 - 19 - 17
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