ALMONT — The Almont varsity football team kicked off their 2020 campaign with a 33-0 win against visiting Blue Water Area Conference rival Algonac last Friday night.

“It was great to be back on the field with the recent uncertainty,” Almont Coach James Leusby said. “The kids were excited and played well at times,” he noted.

“It was a different atmosphere with a limited crowd but the support from our fans was still much appreciated. We will get back to work on Monday and go from there.”

In Friday’s confrontation, Almont bolted out to a 14-0 advantage after one quarter was complete and widened the gap to 27-0 at the halftime break.

Michael Lulgjuraj, of Almont, avoids an Algonac tackle in Friday’s BWAC contest.


Quarter three would see Almont add six points to their total and Algonac manage none, increasing their cushion to 33-0.

Neither side would score again the rest of the way.

Almont produced their winning 33-point total aided by a Shane Vandenbossche fumble recovery in the endzone for a touchdown (followed by a successful extra point kick courtesy of Brandon Hunsaker); a Mason Smith 14-yard touchdown run (followed by an accurate extra point boot from Hunsaker); a Noah Houvener one-yard touchdown run; a Smith five-yard touchdown run (followed by a successful extra point kick courtesy of Hunsaker); and a 17-yard touchdown run by Emilio Lord.

On the night, Houvener completed one of four pass plays for 33 yards as Almont’s quarterback. He threw one interception along the way.

Landon Kruse supplied the lone Almont reception.

The Almont ground attack added 220 yards on 33 carries.

Individually, Smith (six rushes for 75 yards) and Lord (67 yards on five totes) led Almont. Michael Lulgjuraj (seven rushes for 30 yards) and Charlie Koenig (27 yards on nine totes) supported their performances. The remaining six Raider rushes netted a combined 31-yard gain.

Nolan Panduren (three solos and four assists) and Hunsaker (two solos and four assists) put up Almont’s best tackle outputs. They were backed by Blake Bunch (one solo and four assists), Hector Contreras and Kruse (two solos and two assists each) along with Haden LaCavera (one solo and three assists).

Almont also registered two takeaways. Vandenbossche (a fumble recovery and an interception) furnished those.

The team will look to add to their victory total this Friday when North Branch pays a visit. The Blue Water Area Conference game 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.