ALMONT — Almont saw to it they would prevail, rolling to an impressive 61-20 road win at North Branch’s expense in a Blue Water Area Conference varsity football battle last Friday night.
With the outcome, Almont improves to 4-0 and 3-0. North Branch slips to 3-1 and 2-1.
“I am very proud of the way our guys came out and executed our game plan on both sides of the ball,” Almont Coach James Leusby said. “We played with a lot of emotion tonight,” he noted.
“This was a good win against a good team.”
In Friday’s battle, Almont jumped out to a 14-7 advantage after one quarter was over with.
Quarter two would see Almont seize command. It was there the Raiders amassed 26 points and allowed none, good for a 40-7 advantage at the halftime break.
When play resumed, Almont continued to distance themselves from their opposition.
Bolstered by a 21-13 third quarter edge, Almont forged a commanding 61-20 cushion with 36 minutes gone.
That was followed by a scoreless fourth quarter of play as Almont left the field with a win to celebrate.
Almont generated their winning 61-point output aided by a Jack Paupert 17-yard touchdown run (followed by a successful extra point kick courtesy of Brandon Hunsaker); a Jacob Castillo 32-yard touchdown run (followed by an accurate extra point boot from Hunsaker); a Mason Smith 50-yard touchdown run (followed by a successful extra point kick courtesy of Hunsaker); a Smith 37-yard touchdown run; a Smith eight-yard touchdown run; a Josh Hellebuyck to Paupert four-yard touchdown pass (followed by an accurate extra point boot from Hunsaker); a Hellebuyck to Paupert 82-yard touchdown pass (followed by a successful extra point kick courtesy of Hunsaker); a Smith 76-yard touchdown run (followed by an accurate extra point boot from Hunsaker); and a Castillo 18-yard touchdown run (followed by a successful extra point kick courtesy of of Hunsaker).
For the evening, Hellebuyck completed six of eight pass plays for 196 yards as Almont’s quarterback. He threw no interceptions along the way.
His successful tosses were distributed to two targets. Their ranks consisted of Colby Schapman (four catches for 110 yards) and Paupert (two receptions for 86 yards).
The Almont ground attack chewed up 379 yards of territory on 30 totes.
Smith (11 rushes for 172 yards), Paupert (101 yards on 10 totes) and Castillo (eight rushes for 101 yards) proved Almont’s most productive ballcarriers. The remaining Raider tote netted a five-yard gain.
Nolan Panduren (three solos and six assists), Meric Okoniewski (two solos and seven assists), Blake Kapron (three solos and four assists) and Jacob Hausmann (two solos and five assists) notched the top Almont tackle outputs. Michael Rinke (one solo and five assists) made his presence felt as well.
Hausmann (an interception) furnished the lone Almont takeaway.
Almont will look to keep their perfect record intact this Friday when they entertain Blue Water Area Conference counterpart Cros-Lex. That matchup lists a 7 p.m. starting time.
Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.