Imlay draws Cros-Lex, Almont to play Ovid-Elsie

TRI-CITY AREA — There will be a pair of Tri-City football squads competing, Imlay City and Almont, when the 2020 high school playoffs get underway a couple days from now.

Here is a look at their opening round assignments, when and where the battles will be contested and what it will take for those schools to continue their respective postseason paths:

Imlay City will begin what they hope is a successful playoff run when it travels to Cros-Lex this Friday for a Division 4 opening round clash. That meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m.

It is the first postseason appearance for Imlay City since the 2001 campaign.

Cros-Lex, the Blue Water Area Conference runnerup, enters the battle fresh off a 56-6 road win against league counterpart Yale.

Prior to that, Cros-Lex prevailed in four out of five BWAC contests. That stretch included a 52-12 win against Imlay City at home; a 36-0 road victory over Richmond; a 27-20 road loss to North Branch; a 62-6 road triumph against Algonac; and a 40-7 win over Armada at home.

Imlay City, the BWAC’s third place team, heads in to the contest coming off a 28-14 win against league rival Almont at home.

Before that, Imlay City won three of five BWAC clashes. That run featured a 52-12 road loss to Cros-Lex; a 34-14 road win at Algonac; a 15-14 victory over Armada at home; a 28-13 triumph against Yale at home; and a 47-0 setback to North Branch at home.

Tresnak looked ahead to the upcoming playoff game.

“Overall we have got better each week since our first matchup with Cros-Lex.” Tresnak said. “We were only trailing 14-12 at halftime that week and had a few personnel issues in the second half that contributed to our loss,” he noted.

“I think with our personnel squared away, the benefit of a full scouting report and a good week in practice we can compete much better than we did in the second half of the first matchup.”

Jack Kaplan (quarterback), Cristian Rojas (halfback) and Dakota Sandzik (halfback/wide receiver) will comprise Imlay City’s backfield.
Andrew Alden (guard), Bryce Stoutenberg (tackle) plus Chris Cezik and Isaac Schmitz (ends) are likely starters on Imlay City’s offensive line.

The remaining starting spots on that side of the ball are up for grabs.

Dillan Landerschier, Cezik and Alden are probable starters on Imlay City’s defensive line.

Wyatt Luther (linebacker) and Sandzik (defensive back) have the inside track as defensive starters as well.

The remaining defensive starting assignments are up for grabs.

The survivor of this Friday’s clash will meet the winner of a battle between Yale (0-6) and North Branch (6-0) the following Friday or Saturday.

Almont, meanwhile, will start their 2020 playoff run this Friday when it entertains Ovid-Elsie in a Division 5 opening round matchup. That clash is slated to get underway at 7 p.m.

It will mark Almont’s 11th straight playoff appearance.

Ovid Elsie, the fourth place team in the Mid-Michigan Activities Conference, heads into the contest coming off a 47-14 road victory over league foe Byron.

Prior to that, Ovid-Elsie emerged victorious in two out of four contests. That stretch included a 43-21 loss at Montrose; a 19-0 win against Lakeville at home; a 34-20 victory over Chesaning at home; and a 14-13 loss to Mt. Morris at home.

Almont, the BWAC’s fourth place team, will be aiming to bounce back following a 28-14 loss to league counterpart Imlay City.

Before that, Almont took two out of three BWAC confrontations. That run featured a 33-0 win against Algonac at home; a 28-0 loss to North Branch; and a 28-25 overtime victory versus Richmond.

Almont Coach James Leusby knows his ballclub must step it up some or their postseason run could prove a short one.

“We are running with five or six starters out and will have to call on some of our younger players to fulfill the roles needed,” Leusby commented. “We are lucky that we were able to get many of them varsity reps last week versus Imlay City,” he noted.

“We will have to have a great week of practice and will need to play much more physical from here on out if we want to keep our season going. That will be my message to the players this week in practice, we must finish every play.”
Leusby will select his starting offensive group from a list of players including Brock Conger (quarterback), Blake Bunch (runningback), Mason Smith (running back), Emilio Lord (running back), Charlie Koenig (running back), Morgan Miodowski (center), Eli Bankston (guard), Brandon Hunsaker (guard), Shane Vandenbossche (guard), Haden LaCavera (tackle) and Scott Pape (tight end).

On the opposite side of the football, Nolan Panduren (line), Elijah Moussiaux (line), Joseph Ferqueron (line), Hunsaker (line), Trenton Kruse (defensive back), Landon Kruse (defensive back), Bunch (defensive back), Bryce Ferman (linebacker), Tyler Filinger (linebacker) and Lord (linebacker) are the potential starting candidates.

The winner of this Friday’s battle will collide with the survivor of a contest between Bridgeport (1-5) and Frankenmuth (6-0) the following Friday or Saturday.

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.