ALMONT — The Almont Raiders’ football team had every reason to celebrate its 36-8 win over Detroit Denby High School in Saturday’s MHSSA State semifinal game.
Unfortunately, the game was marred by unsportsmanlike behavior on the part of some players and fans during and after the game. Officials prematurely ended the contest with just over three minutes left on the clock. According to bystanders, there were heated exchanged between the two sides and police stepped in to prevent it from escalating.
While there are diverse views being expressed and reported locally and in Detroit-area media, Almont Schools Supt., Dr. William Kalmar, issued a statement Monday morning explaining and acknowledging the incident.
“We are saddened that the incredible accomplishments of the Almont Raiders football team, including making it to our first State Finals, have been overshadowed by the regrettable behavior of a handful of spectators at Saturday’s game,” said Kalmar. “We are fully investigating allegations that members of the Almont marching band taunted players from Denby High School while both groups attempted to exit the stadium after the game was called.
“If we find evidence indicating there was any taunting, those students will be disciplined appropriately. At this time we have no evidence of such behavior by members of our marching band, dance team, cheerleaders or student body.”
Kalmar added that there was no evidence of misconduct on the part of the Almont football team, its football coaches or staff.
That was also the opinion expressed by MHSSA game official, Brent Shoemate, who offered some details about the incident in a post-game report.
“Almont displayed exceptional sportsmanship and composure during the semifinal contest with Detroit Denby High School,” said Shoemate. “Almont never retaliated or complained while they were receiving illegal hits from the opposing team, such as blocks in the back and blind-side blocks. “Maintaining their composure, Almont greatly helped the officiating crew maintain as much control as could be maintained in what was a difficult game to manage and officiate. “Almont should be commended and praised for their role in this game, and maintaining focus and sportsmanship.”
While the players conducted themselves admirably, Kalmar said the school is cooperating with authorities in attempting to identify spectators who may have aggravated the post-game confrontation by taunting Denby players while law enforcement officers were attempting to diffuse the situation.
“If any spectators can be identified as breaking the law, we will refer them to the appropriate authorities for prosecution,” said Kalmar. “There is no circumstance in which it is appropriate for an adult spectator to interject themselves into a high school event.”

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.