The Alma College Football team traveled to Angola, Indiana on Saturday afternoon and concluded their 2012 season with a 35-27 loss to host Trine University. The Scots finished the year with an overall record of 1-9 and 1-6 in the MIAA, while the Thunder ended their campaign with a mark of 7-3 and 5-1.
The visiting Scots played hard and had a chance to the very end against a very solid Thunder squad. The game, played in unusually warm November weather, was close throughout and Alma threw the entire playbook at Trine in a game that they had nothing to lose.
Alma had the ball first and punted and that was followed by a quick three and out for Trine. After the Scots' second drive stalled after three plays, they faced a fourth and one from their own 35-yard line. A fake punt attempt failed as a pass from So. RB Tyler Bennett (New Lothrop, Mich./New Lothrop) to Jr. DB Brandon Wegenke (DeWitt, Mich./DeWitt) fell incomplete.
The Thunder could not capitalize on the field position as Sr. DB Luke Kanine (Alma, Mich./Alma) intercepted QB Ryan Hargraves at the Scots' two-yard line to end a threat. Following another Alma punt, Trine got on the board by driving 40 yards on six plays and scored on a Michael Inge seven-yard run for a 7-0 lead.
Trine took a 14-0 lead on a Inge one-yard plunge that culminated a 23-yard drive that was facilitated by an interception by Alma Jr. QB Jarrett Leister (St. Louis, Mich./Mt. Pleasant). Alma made the score 14-7 midway through the second quarter when Fr. RB Shannon Geren (Edon, Ohio/Edon) capped a nine-play, 65-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run.
On the ensuing kickoff, Alma recovered an onside pooch kick at the Trine 42-yard line looking to score again. However, on the first play from scrimmage, Jr. WR Garrett Cook (Genesee, Mich./Genesee) was intercepted on a reverse pass at the Thunder four-yard line. After a return that gave Trine the ball at their own 43, the home team drove to the Scots' 31-yard line but could not convert a fourth down attempt.
The Scots then drove 69 yards on 14 plays and tied the game at 14-14 with just 11 seconds remaining in the half when Leister connected with Sr. TE Matt Lewan (Royal Oak, Mich./Royal Oak) on a one-yard score. The teams would enter halftime all knotted up at 14-14 a piece.
Trine went ahead 21-14 when Hargraves ran 10 yards for a score to cap a 63-yard, 11-play drive with 3:24 left in the third quarter. On Alma's next drive, Sr. RB Aaron Hahn (St. Louis, Mich./St. Louis) fumbled on the first play, giving the Thunder the ball on the 30-yard line. Five plays later, RB Austin Shoemaker ran seven yards for a touchdown and a 28-14 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Alma made the score 28-21 when they took their next drive and scored on a one-yard run by Geren, his second touchdown of the day. The drive went 75 yards on five plays and was highlighted by a 44-yard completion from Leister to So. WR Tyler Watters (Williamston, Mich./Williamston). The Thunder responded with their own 70 yard drive and went ahead 35-21 when Hargraves hit WR Gage Corner on a 17-yard TD with 10:09 left in the game.
Alma's defense held at that point, but the offense had three unsuccessful possessions in the fourth quarter. But, there was no quit in the Scots as they took the ball with 1:25 remaining at their own 49-yard line. Seven plays later, Leister hit Jr. RB Ricky Roth (Washington, Mich./Romeo) for a 19-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left in the game. A blocked extra point put the score at 35-27.
The Scots recovered the ensuing onside kick and had the ball at their own 46. After a completion to the Trine 43-yard line, Leister heaved a pass towards the end zone but was intercepted on the eight-yard line as time elapsed, sealing the win for Trine.
Offensively, Leister finished the day with 23 completions on 40 attempts for 254 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The leading receiver was Watters with five catches for 84 yards, while on the ground, Jr. WR Joey Jerisk (Burton, Mich./Bentley) had 42 yards on seven carries. Overall, Trine had 19 first downs to Alma's 18, but the Scots outgained the Thunder by a margin of 370 to 312.
On the defensive side of the ball, So. DB Adam Nelson (St. Clair Shores, Mich./U of D Jesuit) led the team with 10 total tackles, while Fr. LB Gavin Smith (Westphalia, Mich./Pewamo-Westphalia) was next with eight, including one for loss. Fr. LB Terry Calagon (Jackson, Mich./East Jackson) had a quarterback sack and Sr. DL Brett Mageli (St. John's, Mich./St. John's) added 1.5 tackles for loss and a half sack.