**ARTICLE BY JOSH LONGSTRETH**
The Alma Panthers were able to grab their first win of the season last Friday night. Alma was able to get things rolling on offense and putting up 43 points on Bay City John Glenn. They knew they would need another game like that this week, as they welcomed in the Birch Run Panthers. Birch Run, like many others before them, dropped a tough one last week at the hands of the Frankenmuth Eagles. Birch Run was down big at the half, and there was just no climbing out of the hole that night.
It would be the blue and yellow Panthers coming out to do the scoring early in this one. Birch Run would put points on the board on an 84-yard touchdown pass. This would give the visiting Panthers a 6-0 lead after the PAT was no good. Alma would bounce right back. Cade Sutherland would break free for a 55-yard touchdown scamper that would give the home Panthers a 7-6 lead.
Sam Rosales would give his team some more momentum when he would punch it in from 3-yards out. Another Alex Reyes PAT would give the home team a 14-6 lead. Alma would lead heading into the half in quite possibly their best half of football on the year.
Birch Run wouldn’t dwell on this for long. They would gain the lead back on a 51-yard touchdown run. The two point conversion would be good and we found ourselves in a 14-14 ball game. The visiting Panthers would strike again in the 3rd. This time from just 3-yards out. Birch Run would have a lead of 21-14 heading into the 4th quarter.
It looked like this one would start to get away from Alma late, as Birch Run would grabbing some breathing room on a 2-yard touchdown plunge. This would give them a 28-14 lead. Alma would not give in. Shortly after Rosales would find Sutherland on a big touchdown pass. The 54-yard play would put Alma right back in it. This would make it a 28-21 game. Birch Run would then come right back on a big play of their own. They would find paydirt on a 47-yard touchdown run. The PAT would be no good, but it would be 34-21 to this point. Alma would just not go away. Rosales would hit Sutherland again. This time from 49-yards out. It would just be too little too late. Birch Run hangs on here, 34-28.
Sam Rosales had another big night for Alma. He would go 19/34 passing for 307 and 2 touchdowns, he would add a touchdown on the ground as well in this one. He found a couple good connections on the night. Cade Sutherland would catch 5 passes for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he added another on the ground. Delvon Pascoe-Ward Jr. found himself with 8 catches for 97 yards. He added 5 tackles and a sack on the defensive side. Birch Run would not be denied on the ground especially. They ran for 399 yards and came up with 106 through the air going over 500 yards of total offense.
Alma now moves to 1-3 overall and 1-2 in TVC play. The offense has been a welcome sign these past two games. We’ll see if the defense can get things going next week when they take on a Swan Valley team with a lot of momentum. Swan Valley comes in at 2-2 overall and 2-1 in TVC play after their win Friday night. Swan Valley will head on the road when they take on the Panthers next Friday night. Birch Run moves to 3-1 on the year, and 2-1 in conference play. They’ll now take on a hungry Garber team who rides a two game losing streak. They sit at 2-2 on the year, and 1-2 in the TVC. Birch Run will look to keep their offense hot as they welcome in the visiting Dukes next Friday night in a 7:00 tilt.