IMLAY CITY — The Imlay City varsity football team kicked off their 2009 season with a 35-7 road loss to non-league rival North Branch last Friday night.
"Our kids played hard for all four quarters," Imlay City Coach John Forti said. "We had a few penalties and turnovers that hurt us," he emphasized.
"We need to be more consistent."
In Friday's matchup, North Branch jumped out to a 15-0 advantage after one quarter was complete.
Nick Nivison, of Imlay City, heads for a first down during his team’s game with North Branch Friday. photo by Randy Jorgensen.
Quarter number two saw Imlay City collect seven points, while North Branch generated six.
That made it 21-7, North Branch, at the halftime break.
When the action resumed, North Branch struck with an 8-0 third quarter advantage.
That left North Branch holding a 29-7 cushion at the 36-minute mark.
North Branch then outscored Imlay City 6-0 the rest of the way, closing out a 35-7 win.
An Aaron Thompson to Nick Nivison 20-yard touchdown pass (followed by a successful extra-point kick courtesy of Jorge Valdovinos) accounted for Imlay City's seven points that evening.
On the night, Thompson finished 12 of 28 for 114 yards as Imlay City's quarterback. He threw one interception en route to those numbers.
Nivison was the other Imlay City player who opted to air out the football. He completed one of three attempts for 12 yards.
Imlay City had five players notch receptions. Their ranks consisted of Nivison (six catches for 60 yards), Eric Harbin (three receptions for six yards), John Loveless (two catches for six yards), Jeff Titus (one reception for 42 yards) and Chaz Hill (one catch for 12 yards).
The Imlay City ground attack was held in check throughout the evening. The Spartans managed 49 yards on 22 totes.
Individually, Nivison (five rushes for 32 yards) and Loveless (31 yards on 10 totes) put up Imlay City's best numbers. The remaining seven Spartan rushes netted a combined 14-yard loss.
A.J. Caldwell paced the Imlay City defense with 10 solos and five assisted stops. P.J. Crow (five solos and five assisted tackles), Nivison (five solos and one assisted stop), Hill (four solos) along with Kyle Maliszewski and Titus (three solos apiece) supported his performance.
Imlay City returns to action this Thursday when it hosts Armada. The Blue Water Area Conference meeting lists a 7 p.m. starting time.