Almont’s state title hopes stay alive


ALMONT — Fourth-rated Almont saw to it that their postseason path would continue, earning a 35-8 win against unrated Clintondale in a Division 6, Region 4, District 1 opening round playoff contest last Saturday afternoon.

Richmond High School is where the game was contested.

With the decision, Almont improves to 9-1 this season. Clintondale finishes at 4-6.

Almont’s Luke Winkler looks to fend off a host of Clintondale defenders after a long gain during his team’s win Saturday.

“The boys handled the situation of not playing at home with class which is what I expected,” Almont Coach James Leusby commented. “We must thank Richmond for allowing us to use their field and our fans for traveling to support us,” he noted.

“We played well enough to win, but were definitely not happy with our overall performance. We will need a great week of practice, probably our best week, if we hope to take down the number one team in D6 (Warren Michigan Collegiate) on Friday.”

In Saturday’s contest, Almont took a 7-0 edge after one quarter was complete and widened the gap to 20-0 at halftime.

When the action resumed, Almont picked up where it left off. Aided by a 15-0 third quarter edge, Almont increased their cushion to 35-0 with 36 minutes gone.

Clintondale then put together an 8-0 final quarter rally, only to drop a 35-8 verdict.

Almont produced their winning 35-point total aided by a Luke Winkler 51-yard touchdown run (followed by a successful extra point kick courtesy of Sean O’Neil); a Chase Davedowski 10-yard touchdown run (followed by an accurate extra point boot from O’Neil); a Matthew Bacholzky 30-yard touchdown run); a Chase Battani five-yard touchdown run (followed by a PAT tote by Battani); and a Battani 61-yard touchdown run (followed by a successful extra point kick courtesy of O’Neil).

For the night, Davedowski completed one of two pass plays for 16 yards as Almont’s quarterback. He threw zero interceptions en route to those numbers.

His successful toss went to Winkler.

The Almont ground attack managed 270 yards on 36 totes.

Battani (four rushes for 78 yards), Bacholzky (53 yards on seven totes) and Winkler (four rushes for 50 yards) supplied Almont’s best outputs. The remaining 21 Raider rushes netted a combined 89-yard gain.

Ayden Ferqueron (one solo and six assists) and Winkler (two solos and three assists) provided the highest Almont tackle totals. They were backed by Battani (three solos and one assist), Lucas Mantini (one solo and three assists) and Cohen Ferqueron (four assists).

The Almont defense also registered a pair of takeaways. Nathan Bruce and Cayden Durall (a fumble recovery each) furnished that.

Almont returns to action this Friday when they host top-ranked Warren Michigan Collegiate (10-0) in a Division 6, Region 4, District 1 championship clash. That matchup 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.