Friday night was a time to celebrate. On Saturday, they got back to work.
The Algonac High School football team won its second consecutive district championship Friday, with a 20-16 victory over Almont at Algonac High School.
It was a banner moment for the program after struggling for years.
“It really feels special,” Algonac coach Scott Barnhart said. “It’s a tribute to our kids and the families here. It’s easy to see the support. It’s a special place to be right now.
“We had some big plays tonight and we showed we can be explosive offensively, which is great. But we have to hold onto the football.”
The biggest play of them all was Algonac quarterback Brendan Piper scoring on a 15-yard run with just over a minute to play in the game. It was one of three scores for Piper, who stepped up big after surrendering two interceptions.
The Muskrats lost four turnovers overall against Almont and that nearly cost them the game. Without those costly mistakes, they probably wouldn’t have had to come from behind at the end.
“We know we can’t make those mistakes,” coach Barnhart said. “They eventually catch up to you. If we want to continue playing, we have to clean up those mistakes.”
Now the Muskrats (10-1) will turn their attention to Ida (10-1), which advanced by defeating Southfield Bradford Academy. The teams will meet at 7 p.m. Friday in Algonac.
“It’s awesome for us to be here,” Piper said after throwing for 139 yards and rushing for 152 yards and three scores. “We really couldn’t have written a better story. It was a close game in our house against a tough team. It was awesome.
“We have been playing together since we were eight years old. We have always struggled in Algonac. For this to be happening, this is how it’s supposed to be. The close wins have made us tighter as a family. Sometimes teams don’t have that. But being in situations like these really betters us.”
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter @Joseph_Hayes11.