March 22 • 02:21 AM

Almont holds off Imlay City, 35-29

Spartans score 23 in the fourth to put a scare into the Raiders on homecoming

Almont’s Garrett Savage runs for the first down markers as Imlay City’s Kevin Shene pursues during Friday’s Blue Water Area Conference football clash. photo by Kevin Kissane.

October 07, 2009
TRI-CITY AREA — Almont withstood a 23-7 fourth quarter rally to escape with a 35-29 homecoming win against visiting Imlay City in a Blue Water Area Conference varsity football nailbiter last Friday night.

With the final, Almont moves to 4-2 and 3-2. Imlay City slips to 0-6 and 0-5.

"We have said all season long that we need to take these games one game at a time and see what happens," Almont Coach Jeremy Ferman said. "We can't afford to slip up anymore," he noted.

"We want to end up the regular season on a strong note and hopefully make it into the playoffs. We have a lot of work in front of us. The kids are working hard in helping us achieve that goal."

Imlay City Coach John Forti, who has been under scrutiny this week after a public meeting where parents requested administration to make a coaching change, took solace knowing that his ballclub gave it all they had over the 48-minute contest.

"I was extremely proud of our kids for playing the way they did," Forti said. "They played with a lot of heart and they never gave up," he noted.

"We also had to overcome a lot of adversity. We had a few calls that did not go our way and we overcame that and played pretty well. I think if we had some more time on the clock we would have won. We need to build on this and carry it in to next week."

In Friday's matchup, Almont took a 7-0 lead after one quarter was complete.

Quarter number two saw Almont put up seven points, while holding Imlay City to none.

That staked Almont to a 14-0 lead at the halftime break.

When the action resumed, Almont picked up where it left off.

Aided by a 14-6 third quarter advantage, Almont increased their lead to 28-6 at the 36-minute mark.

It appeared as if Almont was well on their way to a lopsided win.

However, Imlay City had other ideas.

Instead, Imlay City began the fourth quarter with a 23-7 run encompassing a 9:08 span.

When that stretch of football drew to a close, Imlay City had trimmed their once imposing deficit to 35-29 with 2:52 remaining.

The next two minutes-plus of action would prove a scoreless one, leaving Almont with a hard fought 35-29 win to their credit when the final second ticked off the clock.

Almont generated their 35-point output aided by a Garrett Savage six-yard touchdown run (followed by a successful extra point kick courtesy of Ben McNally); an Addam Wierbicki 26-yard touchdown run (followed by an accurate extra point boot from McNally); a Savage 13-yard touchdown run (followed by a successful extra point kick courtesy of McNally); a Savage 65-yard touchdown run (followed by an accurate extra-point boot from McNally); and a Wierbicki one-yard touchdown run (followed by a successful extra-point kick courtesy of McNally). Those scores came with 14 seconds showing on the first quarter clock; 7:53 before halftime; with 9:09 showing on the third quarter clock; 1:35 before the third quarter was to end; and with 9:30 showing on the fourth quarter clock.

Imlay City produced their 29-point total thanks to an Aaron Thompson to Nick Nivison five-yard touchdown pass; a Thompson to Hill 12-yard touchdown pass (followed by a PAT tote by Nick Nivison); a Thompson to Nivison 47-yard touchdown pass (followed by a PAT pass from Nivison to Kyle Maliszewsk); and a Thompson to Nivison eight-yard touchdown pass (followed by a successful extra-point kick courtesy of Thompson). Their tallies happened 1:55 before the third quarter was to end; with 8:13 showing on the fourth quarter clock; 4:22 before the fourth quarter was to end; and with 2:58 showing on the fourth quarter clock.

For the night, Tom Nowicki wound up one for two for 13 yards as Almont's quarterback. Nowicki threw no interceptions along the way.

Wierbicki hauled in the lone Almont reception that night.

The Almont ground attack managed 389 yards on 47 totes.

Individually, Savage (18 rushes for 188 yards) and Wierbicki (124 yards on 18 totes) led Almont. They were backed by Erik O'Connor (three rushes for 50 yards) and Travis Zelkowski (25 yards on five totes). The remaining three Raider rushes netted a combined two-yard gain.

Josh Kunath and Jake Ferrell paced the Almont defense. They supplied eight and five solos, respectively. Jordan Stanek and O'Connor added four solos each to the Raiders' cause.

In defeat, Thompson completed 21 of 40 pass plays for 218 yards as Imlay City's quarterback. He threw no interceptions along the way.

Five different Imlay City players made catches that evening. Their ranks consisted of Nivison (seven receptions for 68 yards), Hill (five catches for 62 yards), Jeff Titus (four receptions for 39 yards), John Loveless (four catches for 21 yards) and Eric Harbin (one reception for 28 yards).

The Imlay City ground attack added 79 yards on 25 totes.

Individually, Loveless (14 rushes for 97 yards) put up Imlay City's best numbers. The remaining 11 Spartan totes netted a combined 18-yard loss.

Kevin Shene (seven solos and two assists) and Jordan McNary seven solos and one assist) put up Imlay City's best defensive numbers. A.J. Caldwell (seven solos) and Loveless (three solos and three assists) supported their performances.

The Imlay City defense also registered three takeaways. McNary, Caldwell and Nivison (a fumble recovery each) furnished those.

Almont returns to action this Friday when it goes to Armada, while Imlay City travels to Algonac. Both of the aforementioned Blue Water Area Conference contests are scheduled for 7 p.m.

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