TRI-CITY AREA — From the first contest in September until the last in November, these competitors let their presence be known out on the field of battle.

Here is a look at who made the 2021 edition of The Tri-City Times All-Area football team and the numbers they generated along the way:

Kicking

Kaiden SaintOnge, Almont, placekicker.

SaintOnge connected on 27 of 32 extra point attempts this season.

It was his second year on Almont’s varsity.

The 6-3 and 165-pound senior completed the season as an All-Blue Water Area Conference honorable mention selection.

Brandon Hunsaker, Almont, punter.

Hunsaker punted the ball 23 times for 897 yards,

This was the fourth year for Hunsaker, a 6-1 and 210-pound senior, on Almont’s varsity.

Offense

Brock Conger, Almont, quarterback.

Conger completed 44 of 83 pass plays for 617 yards and nine touchdowns during the 2021 campaign. The 5-8 and 145-pound senior threw six interceptions en route to those numbers.

“He was a starter for us from the second game on his junior season,” Almont Coach James Leusby commented. “Brock helped us reach the playoffs back to back years,” he noted.

This was Conger’s second year on Almont’s varsity.

Matthew Measel, Almont, runningback.

Measel rushed the ball for a Tri-City Area best output of 698 yards on 82 totes, an average of 8.5 yards per carry, this season.

“He led our team in rushing this season,” Almont Coach James Leusby said. “Nine times his carries were taken the distance for touchdowns,” he noted.

He also caught 17 passes for 196 yards, an average of 11.5 yards per reception, with three touchdowns.

This was his first season on Almont’s varsity.

The 5-8 and 158-pound junior finished the year as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice and a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Division 6, Region 3 team.

Mason Smith, Almont, runningback

Smith wound up with 631 yards on 89 totes, an average of 7.1 yards per rush, with eight touchdowns during the 2021 campaign.

He also contributed seven receptions for 75 yards, an average of 10.7 yards per catch, to Almont’s cause.

“It will seem weird not having this young guy on the sidelines next season,” Almont Coach James Leusby said. “Mason has been with the team for four years,” he noted.

“He was moved up to varsity for homecoming his freshman year. His first time touching the ball he scored on a 42-yard run. It has been a pleasure watching Mason grow as a player and a young man.”

The 5-10 and 180-pound senior concluded the 2021 campaign as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team pick.

Blake Bunch, Almont, runningback.

Bunch rushed the ball 85 times for 630 yards, an average of 7.4 yards per carry, while collecting five touchdowns this season.

He also caught one pass for 22 yards.

“Blake did a great job running the ball for us,” Almont Coach James Leusby commented. “Even more importantly he did an awesome job blocking and opening up holes for the other ballcarriers,” he noted.

This was his second season on Almont’s varsity.

The 5-10 and 180-pound senior ended the season as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team selection.

Julian Rojas, Imlay City, runningback.

Rojas rushed the ball 56 times for 372 yards, an average of 6.6 yards per tote, and finished with four touchdowns via the ground game during the 2021 campaign.

He also hauled in 22 receptions for 283 yards, an average of 12.9 yards per catch, while registering one touchdown.

Rojas collected four total touchdowns along the way

“He was a versatile weapon for us on offense this season.” Imlay City Coach Brian Tresnak commented. “Julian was a shifty runner who was hard to bring down and possesses great hands a receiver,” he noted.

It was his third year on Imlay City’s varsity.

The 5-3 and 130-pound junior concluded the 2021 campaign as an All-Blue Water Area Conference honorable mention choice.

Carlos Uribe-Arce, Capac, wide receiver.

Uribe-Arce provided Capac with 33 catches for 457 yards, an average of 13.8 yards per reception, and contributed three touchdowns this season.

His output included a Capac single game record of nine catches during week number eight.

“Carlos is a very talented player,” Capac Coach Rob Novy said. “The program is counting on him on both sides of the ball next year,” he noted.

It was second year on Capac’s varsity.

The 5-7 and 145-pound senior concluded the 2021 campaign as an All-Greater Thumb Conference East honorable mention pick.

He also claimed his team’s Offensive Player of the Year Award at the Capac Football Awards Night.

Derek Mason, Capac, wide receiver.

Mason furnished 12 receptions for 233 yards, an average of 19.4 yards per catch, with six touchdowns during the 2021 campaign.

“He played the first part of the season with a broken hand,” Capac Coach Rob Novy commented. “Derek has unlimited potential and the program is excited to see what he will do next year,” he noted.

This was his first year on Capac’s varsity.

The 5-8 and 160-pound junior ended the season as an All-Greater Thumb Conference East honorable mention selection.

He also received his team’s Playmaker of the Year Award at the Capac Football Awards Night.

Haden Lacavera, Almont, tight end.

Lacavera wound up with 11 receptions for 140 yards, an average of 12.7 yards per catch, with two touchdowns this season.

“Haden was one of the keys to our offensive success this fall,” Almont Coach James Leusby commented. “His play there helped us run for 2,203 yards,” he noted.

This was the second season for Lacavera, a 6-3 and 190-pound senior, on Almont’s varsity.

Latham Perry, Imlay City, guard.

Perry proved an impact performer for Imlay City during the 2021 campaign.

“He is great power blocker who can dominate at the first level,” Imlay City Coach Brian Tresnak observed. “Latham is agile enough to get linebackers at the second level,” he noted.

“He was our most consistent linemen this year and will be a force next season.”

This was his second year on Imlay City’s varsity.

The 5-9 and 190-pound junior finished the 2021 campaign as an All-Blue Water Area Conference honorable mention pick.

He was also named the recipient of his team’s Lineman of the Year Award.

Brandon Hunsaker, Almont, guard.

Hunsaker’s presence up front enabled Almont to amass 2,203 rushing yards during the 2021 campaign.

“He was a dominant lineman for us,” Almont Coach James Leusby said. “When we had success running the ball it was usually with him leading the way,” he noted.

This was his second season on Almont’s varsity.

Gavin Peake, Almont tackle.

The Almont offense ran for 2,203 yards this season and Peake’s performance often sparked the Raiders to several good-sized gains, according to coach James Leusby.

“We ran for 30 touchdowns and passed for another nine. Gavin’s play helped make those numbers possible.”

This was his second year on Almont’s varsity.

The 6-1 and 222-pound senior completed the season as an All-Blue Water Area Conference honorable mention selection.

Hunter Hill, Imlay City, tackle.

Hill’s play on the offensive line was a definite asset for Imlay City during the 2021 campaign.

“He was our best offensive lineman by the end of the season,” Imlay City Coach Brian Tresnak commented. “Hunter has great feet and helps set the edge in pass sets,” he noted.

“He also does a great job sealing the back side when we run away from him.”

This was his second year on Imlay City’s varsity.

Defense

Dillan Landerschier, Imlay City, nose tackle.

The 6-1 and 280-pound senior provided Imlay City with eight solos, 27 assisted stops with two-and-a-half quarterback sacks this season.

“He was a perfect nose tackle for our scheme,” Imlay City Coach Brian Tresnak commented. “Dillan understands his role in the defense, sucks up blocks and plugs holes so the linebackers can make tackles,” he noted.

It was his second year on Imlay City’s varsity.

Xander Nolin, end.

Nolin collected 16 solos and 41 assisted tackles for Imlay City this season.

In addition to that, Nolin contributed five forced fumbles and two recoveries to Imlay City’s cause.

“He was fierce coming off the edge on pass rush,” Imlay City Coach Brian Tresnak stated. “Xander was also great setting the edge against the run,” he noted.

This was his third year on Imlay City’s varsity.

The 6-4 and 195-pound senior ended the season as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team selection.

Wyatt Hurley, Capac, end.

Hurley wound up with 27 total stops, including four tackles for a loss and two quarterback sacks, during the 2021 campaign.

“He had our play of the year when he forced a fumble and it was returned for a touchdown during our opener versus New Haven,” Capac Coach Rob Novy commented. “Wyatt got better every week and should be a very good player next year,” he noted.

This was his second year on Capac’s varsity . The 6-3 and 210-pound sophomore ended the year as an All-Greater Thumb Conference East honorable mention pick.

He also received his team’s Defensive Player of the Year Award at the Capac Football Awards Night.

Nate Gaedcke, Capac, line.

Gaedcke registered 28 tackles, three sacks and three tackles for a loss during the 2021 campaign.

“He kept battling for us all season,” Capac Coach Rob Novy said. “Nathan was often outsized by our opponent but did not let that stand in his way,” he noted.

It was his second year on Capac’s varsity.

The 5-10 and 165-pound senior ended the 2021 campaign as an All-Greater Thumb Conference honorable mention choice.

Brandon Hunsaker, Almont, linebacker.

Hunsaker supplied 25 solo and 72 assisted stops this season.

His totals included three quarterback sacks and eight tackles for a loss.

“Brandon is one of the hardest workers I have had the opportunity to coach,” Almont Coach James Leusby commented. “His dedication to the weight room is unmatched,” he noted.

“He was the leader of our defense. Brandon made all the calls on the field for his teammates to put them in the correct positions.”

It was his fourth year on Almont’s varsity.

The 6-1 and 210-pound senior completed the 2021 campaign as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team selection and a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Division 6, Region 3 team.

Lance Wolford, Imlay City. linebacker.

Wolford amassed 45 solo and 65 assisted tackles, including a pair of quarterback sacks, during the 2021 campaign.

In addition to that, Wolford contributed a pair of interceptions to Imlay City’s cause.

“He was a dominant tackler with an off the charts football IQ,” Imlay City Coach Brian Tresnak commented. “Lance made most of our defensive calls and plays sideline to sideline,” he noted.

“He was a vicious tackler with a nose for the football.”

This was his fourth year on Imlay City’s varsity.

The 5-10 and 195-pound senior wrapped up the 2021 campaign as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice.

He was also named the recipient of his team’s MVP Award at the Imlay City Football Awards Night.

Tyler Filinger, Almont, linebacker.

Filinger registered 21 solo and 65 assisted tackles this fall.

He also contributed two forced fumbles and one recovery to Almont’s cause.

“He is a very competitive person, works hard in the weight room and is a natural leader,” Almont Coach James Leusby said. “We asked him to move to linebacker this season so he could make plays sideline to sideline instead of making plays on one side of the ball as an outside linebacker,” he noted.

“We are looking forward forward to having him back for his senior season as a player that will play on both sides of the ball next fall. He will be the leader of the defense next year at inside linebacker.”

This was his second season on Almont’s varsity.

The 5-10 and 185-pound junior wrapped up the year as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team pick.

Ayden Ferqueron, Almont, linebacker.

Ferqueron notched 51 unassisted and 18 solo stops during the 2021 campaign.

He also contributed one interception to Almont’s cause.

“He is a sophomore we brought up this year to help us on the defensive side of the ball,” Almont Coach James Leusby said. “Ayden was dominating on the junior varsity level and we had to find a way to get him on the field for us on Friday nights,” he noted.

“He played multiple positions for us (defensive end, outside linebacker, safety and his natural spot of inside linebacker). Our plan is to have him join Tyler at inside linebacker and next season to anchor the middle of our defense.”

It was the first year for Ferqueron, a 6-0 and 183-pound sophomore, on Almont’s varsity.

Hunter Tyson, Capac, linebacker.

Tyson provided Capac with 39 tackles this fall.

He also contributed a fumble return for a touchdown to Capac’s cause.

“Hunter lined up anywhere we asked him to this season,” Capac Coach Rob Novy said. “Whether he was playing linebacker, quarterback or offensive line we could count on him to come through for us,’ he noted.

This was his fourth year on Capac’s squad.

Tyson ended the 2021 campaign as an All-Greater Thumb Conference East honorable mention pick.

Blake Bunch, Almont, linebacker.

Bunch provided Almont with 10 solos and 29 assisted tackles during the 2021 campaign.

His numbers included four tackles for a loss, two quarterback sacks and he registered a safety.

“He was a very consistent good player,” Almont Coach James Leusby said. “Blake was solid on defense,” he noted.

“He came to practice everyday with a positive attitude and was ready to work.”

This was his second year on Almont’s varsity.

The 5-10 and 180-pound senior wrapped up the 2021 campaign as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team selection.

Mason, Smith, Almont, back.

Smith wound up with 21 solo tackles, 38 assisted stops and registered one forced fumble during the 2021 campaign.

“He was an impact performer during his four-year career on both sides of the football and this year was another example of that,” Almont Coach James Leusby commented. “Mason will definitely be missed when next season rolls around,” he noted.

The 5-10 and 180-pound senior wrapped up the 2021 campaign as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team and a member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Division 6 All-Region 3 team and All-State lineup.

Zach Langmesser, Capac, back.

Langmesser collected 47 tackles this fall.

In addition to that, Langmesser contributed two interceptions to Capac’s cause.

“Zach was our best tackler this season,” Capac Coach Rob Novy stated. “It will be good having him back another year,” he noted.

It was his second year on Capac’s varsity.

The 5-10 and 165-pound junior finished the year as an All-Greater Thumb Conference second team pick.

Matthew Measel, back.

Measel registered 19 unassisted and 10 assisted stops this fall.

“Matthew had a great first year for us,” Almont Coach James Leusby said. “Whether it was running or catching the ball on offense or playing defense he got the job done for us,” he noted.

The 5-8 and 158-pound junior completed the season as an All-Blue Water Area Conference first team choice and Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Division 6 All-Region 3 pick.

Trenton Kruse, Almont, safety.

Kruse furnished 26 total tackles, including two for a loss, from his safety position during the 2021 campaign.

“He played only five games due to a leg injury,” Almont Coach James Leusby said. “Trenton was the voice of our secondary and was a leader out on the field.” he noted.

“Even after the injury he still came to practice every day to coach.

It was the second year for Kruse. a 5-8 and 140-pound junior on Almont’s varsity.

Jared Fahley, Capac, back.

Fahley managed nine tackles and three interceptions this fall.

“He had a good senior season for us,” Capac Coach Rob Novy said. “Jared was able to put up those numbers before sustaining an injury during week number five,” he noted.

It was his fourth year on Capac’s varsity.

The 5-11 and 140-pound senior wrapped up the season as an All-Greater Thumb Conference East honorable mention selection.

Second team- Hunter Tyson, Capac, quarterback; Jacob Burgess, Imlay City, quarterback; Cristian Rojas, Imlay City, halfback/linebacker/defensive back; Luke McIntosh, Almont, guard; Will Kalmar, Almont, tackle; Wyatt Hurley, Capac, end; Connor Nascivera, Almont, split end; Jorge Navarro, Capac, offensive line/defensive end; James Meadows, Capac, center/defensive line; Scott Shevnock, Imlay City, center; Kade Vanderploeg, Imlay City, tight end; Julian Rojas, Imlay City, linebacker/defensive end; Latham Perry, Imlay City, defensive tackle; Isaiah Bankston, Imlay City, defensive tackle; Joe Abromovitch, Almont, defensive tackle; Josh Mroz, Almont, defensive tackle; Antonio Nedelkovski, Almont, defensive end; Danny Newsom, Imlay City, cornerback; Bryce Ferman, Almont, linebacker; Brady Vanderploeg, Imlay City, linebacker/defensive end; Travis Dupont, Imlay City, defensive back; and Jack Rinke, Almont, defensive back.

Coach of the Year- For directing Almont to a 6-5 overall mark, a spot in a Division 6, Region 3 district championship game and a 5-2 Blue Water Area Conference standing (good for a three-way tie for second with Armada and North Branch), Raider Coach James Leusby earns Tri-City Times All-Area Coach of the Year accolades.

Kevin Kissane

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.