ALMONT — When the high school football playoffs get underway in a few days from now, perennial powerhouse Almont will still be playing.
It will mark the 14th straight season Almont (rated ninth statewide) has earned a spot in the field.
The Division 6 school is scheduled to play Clintondale in a Region 4, District 1 opening round battle Saturday at Richmond High School. That matchup lists a 1 p.m. starting time.
The site had be shifted due to the condition of Almont’s home field which sustained significant damage from hosting junior varsity and varsity contests against West Branch Ogemaw Heights under less than ideal weather conditions last Friday night.
“We can’t control the weather and unfortunately our field isn’t playable this week,” Almont Coach James Leusby commented. “Hopefully the field conditions will improve so we may host a round two game should we make it that far,” he noted.
“We know our fans will make it out to Richmond to show their support.”
Clintondale, the fourth place team in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division, enters the upcoming battle fresh off a 29-14 road defeat to non-league foe Richmond.
Prior to that, Clintondale won four of eight games. That stretch included a 22-0 loss to visiting non-league counterpart Grosse Pointe North; a 58-15 road win versus non-league adversary New Haven; a 21-0 setback to visiting conference foe Madison Heights Lamphere; a 38-36 victory over visiting league rival St. Clair; an 18-6 road triumph against conference adversary St. Clair Shores South Lake; a 43-22 road loss to league foe Marysville; a 35-6 setback to visiting conference counterpart Marine City; and a 38-0 win against non-league adversary Madison Heights Madison.
Almont, the Blue Water Area Conference champion, is coming off a 21-7 loss at home to non-league foe West Branch Ogemaw Heights.
Before that, Almont had prevailed in all eight of their gridiron clashes. That run included a 39-0 win against visiting non-conference counterpart Marysville; a 49-0 road victory over league adversary Algonac; a 58-0 triumph against visiting conference rival Imlay City; a 29-22 road win over league foe North Branch; a 13-12 victory against visiting conference counterpart Armada; a 30-20 triumph over visiting conference adversary Cros-Lex; a 42-7 road win against league rival Richmond; and a 47-19 road victory over conference foe
Leusby acknowledged he does not expect an easy assignment.
“We know they are athletic and run a spread style of offense,” Leusby commented. “They are also very physical on defense,” he noted.
“We need to play our game and be mistake free if we are to move on.”
Leusby lists Chase Davedowski (quarterback), Brent Corneau (tight end), Cole Walton (split end), Matthew Bacholzky (runningback), Chase Battani (running back), Jacob Fuller (running back), Isaiah Bankston (line), Dylan Taylor (line), Gavin Szymanski (line), Noah Campbell (line) and Luke Winkler (running back) as his probable offensive starters.
On the opposite side of the football, Leusby will go with Corneau (line), Lucas Mantini (defensive back), Bacholzky (defensive back), Cohen Ferqueron (linebacker), Ayden Ferqueron (linebacker), Battani (linebacker), Fuller (linebacker), Josh Figurski (line), Gordon Stolecki (line), Liam Szymanski (line) and Winkler (defensive back) as his likely defensive starting group.
The winner of Friday’s game will square off against the winner of a contest between Clawson (7-2) and top-ranked Warren Michigan Collegiate (9-0).
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.