Saturday was Senior Day for 14 Alma College football student athletes playing in their last home game of their careers and the afternoon ended up in disappointment as Kalamazoo knocked off the Scots 17-13 at Bahlke Field. Alma now has a overall record of 1-8 and are 1-4 in the league, while the Hornets improved to 4-5 in 2012 and 1-4 in the MIAA.
Each team punted on their first possessionsof the game and on their second drive, Kalamazoo drove down to the Alma 11-yard line before stalling. The Hornets' K Travis Braun's 28-yard field goal was blocked by Alma's DB Austin McClelland (Oakland, Mich./Rochester Adams) and the game remained scoreless.
The Scots then drove 84 yards on nine plays and took a 7-0 lead when Jr. QB Jarrett Leister (St. Louis, Mich./Mt. Pleasant) connected with So. WR Tyler Watters (Williamston, Mich./Williamston) on a 28-yard scoring strike with 23 seconds left in the first quarter.
After another Hornets punt, Alma went 13 plays for 63 yards and increased their lead to 10-0 when Sr. K Jack Pryde (Royal Oak, Mich./Royal Oak) booted a 34-yard field goal with 4:41 remaining in the half. Kalamazoo began the following drive on their own 47-yard line after a Alma personal penalty foul gave them 15 extra yards on the kickoff return.
Another personal foul enabled the Hornets to get inside Alma's 20 and eventually K William Marx kicked a 30-yard field goal, making the score 10-3 and it would remain that way going into halftime.
Alma punted on the first possession of the third quarter and the Hornets were quick to score with their first drive. Kalamazoo RB Dan Grost ran for a 41-yard touchdown to cap a four-play, 57-yard drive to tie the score at 10-10.
On the Scots' first play of the next drive, Jr. WR Joey Jerisk (Burton, Mich./Bentley) had the ball stripped by Kzoo DE Jake Larioza. It was scooped up by DE Alan Mencer, who scampered 15 yards for a score and 17-10 Hornets lead just four minutes into the second half.
The Scots responded quickly as they drove 33 yards on five plays on their next drive and Pryde cut the deficit to 17-13 with a 32-yard field goal with 8:59 left in the third quarter. After a hectic first six minutes of the half, little did anyone know that the scoring was done for the day.
Kalamazoo took the ball on their following drive and marched to the Alma 13-yard line but Marx missed a field goal wide right with 4:23 left in the quarter. Two punts by Alma and one by Kalamazoo marked the end of the frame and the teams entered the fourth quarter.
The Hornets did drive to the Alma seven-yard line on the first drive of the final frame but a bad snap on a field goal attempt resulted in holder Josh Wise throwing the ball into the end zone. The ball was intercepted by Alma Sr. DB Luke Kanine (Alma, Mich./Alma), ending the threat. Alma then drove to midfield, but Leister was intercepted by Kzoo DB Brandon Casto at the Hornets' 27-yard line, thwarting Alma's drive. The Scots would have two more drives in the quarter but were unable to mount a threat and Kalamazoo hung on for the four-point victory.
Offensively for the Scots, Leister finished the day with 14 completions on 30 attempts for 209 yards with the one touchdown and one interception. Watters finished with a team-high 70 yards on three catches, while Sr. WR Michael Lenneman (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea) finished with four receptions for 54 yards. On the ground, Jerisk paced the Scots with 37 yards on nine attempts.
On defense, Alma did some very good things on Saturday afternoon, including recording five sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Kanine and Jr. LB Clayton Every (Manchester, Mich./Manchester) each had nine tackles, while So. DB Adam Nelson (St. Clair Shores, Mich./U of D Jesuit) finished with eight. Fr. LB John Chadwick (Grand Rapids, Mich./Canton) and Jr. DL Frank Furnari (DeWitt, Mich./DeWitt) each had 1.5 sacks against the Hornets.
The Scots will conclude their 2012 season next Saturday afternoon at Trine University. Kickoff in Angola, Ind. is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.