Almont’s Landon Kruse looks to tackle Imlay City’s Cristian Rojas in their BWAC encounter last Friday night. Photo by Helfer Photography

Imlay City’s first win against Almont since 2008

TRI-CITY AREA — Imlay City surprised visiting Almont, 28-14, in a Blue Water Area Conference varsity football game last Friday night.

It marked the first time since the 2008 campaign Imlay City has defeated Almont.

“This was a huge win for us,” Imlay City Coach Brian Tresnak said. “We played much better football tonight with no turnovers and really cut down on our penalties,” he noted.

“I am proud of how far this group of young men have come. It’s a testament to their character that they were able to rebound after last week.”

Almont Coach James Leusby tipped his hat to his gridiron foes.

“All credit goes to Imlay City tonight,” Leusby acknowledged. “They earned one and we wish them well in the playoffs,” he noted.

“We will see who we line up with in the playoffs and get to work on Monday. We need to get healthy and have a great week of practice if we want to extend our season.”

With the decision, Imlay City concludes a 4-2 regular season run. All of those results have come versus BWAC foes. Almont finishes the regular season portion of their schedule at 2-2 overall and against league counterparts.

In Friday game, Imlay City jumped out to a 21-0 advantage after one quarter was over with.

Quarter two would see Almont bounce back with a 14-0 edge, closing the gap to 21-14 at the halftime break.

That was followed by a scoreless third quarter.

Imlay City then outscored Almont 7-0 the rest of the way, finishing off a 28-14 win.

The hosts produced their 28-point total aided by a Cristian Rojas 48-yard touchdown run (followed by a successful extra point kick courtesy of Wyatt Luther); a Rojas three-yard touchdown run (followed by an accurate extra point boot by Luther); a Jack Kaplan to Dakota Sandzik 56-yard touchdown pass (followed by a successful extra point kick courtesy of Luther); and a Kaplan 22-yard touchdown run (followed by an accurate extra point boot by Luther).

Almont generated their 14-point output thanks to a Mason Smith two-yard touchdown run (followed by a successful extra point kick courtesy of Brandon Hunsaker) and a Brock Conger one-yard touchdown run (followed by an accurate extra point boot by Hunsaker).

On the night, Jack Kaplan completed two of pass plays for 75 yards as Imlay City’s quarterback. He threw zero interceptions along the way.

His successful tosses went to Sandzik.

The Imlay City ground attack wound up with 227 yards on 35 totes.

Individually, Cristian Rojas (17 rushes for 111 yards) and Kaplan (60 yards on six totes) led the way. The remaining 12 Spartan rushes netted a combined 56-yard gain.

Luther (two solos and 11 assists) paced the Imlay City defense. Latham Perry (two solos and five assists), Jessie Webber and Chris Cezik (one solo and six assists each), Sandzik (five solos and one assist) and Dillan Landerschier (five assists) supported his performance.

For Almont, Brock Conger connected on six of 10 tosses for 102 yards as their quarterback. He threw no interceptions en route to those numbers.

Scott Pape (three catches for 35 yards), Charlie Koenig (one reception for 25 yards), Blake Bunch (one catch for 22 yards) and Mason Smith (one reception for 20 yards) hauled in his completions.

The Almont ground attack finished with 90 yards on 37 carries.

Individually, Smith (13 rushes for 54 yards), Bunch (29 yards on eight totes) and Emilio Lord (nine rushes for 20 yards) put up Almont’s best numbers. The remaining seven Raider rushes netted a combined 13-yard loss.

Corey Webster (four solos and six assists) and Nolan Panduren (one solo and eight assists) led the Almont defense Thety were backed by Landon Kruse (two solos and four assists), Trenton Kruse (one solo and five assists) and Lord (two solos and three assists).

Imlay City returns to action this Friday when it faces Cros-Lex (5-1) in the opening round of the Division 4 state playoffs. The road matchup lists a 7 p.m. starting time.

Almont, meanwhile, will aim to bounce back when they begin their Division 5 playoff run with a home game Friday against Ovid-Elsie (3-3). That battle is slated to get underway at 7 p.m.

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.