Sterling Heights Stevenson senior running back Nick Wingfield looks for daylight during a 23-20 oct. 25 win over Warren Mott. Wingfield scored three touchdowns in the game.

Sterling Heights Stevenson senior running back Nick Wingfield looks for daylight during a 23-20 oct. 25 win over Warren Mott. Wingfield scored three touchdowns in the game.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


Stevenson football outlasts Warren Mott, likely headed to playoffs

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Online Only | Published October 25, 2019

 Warren Mott junior quarterback James Chaney looks to make a play in a 23-20 Oct. 25 loss to Sterling Heights Stevenson.

Warren Mott junior quarterback James Chaney looks to make a play in a 23-20 Oct. 25 loss to Sterling Heights Stevenson.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

STERLING HEIGHTS — “If the game comes down to a game-winning kick, there’s not another kicker in America I’d want taking the kick than you.”

Those were the thoughts of Sterling Heights Stevenson football coach Justin Newcomb toward senior kicker Zach Imms as part of Newcomb’s pregame speech.

Imms didn’t let his coach or his teammates down, nailing the game-winning kick from 38 yards out with 44.8 seconds left in the Titans' 23-20 win over Warren Mott Oct. 25 at home.

The win moves Stevenson to 5-4, which likely will send the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Imms’ kick was set up by a 66-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Biagio Madonna to sophomore running back Jordan Ramsey.

“I knew I had to make that kick. I wanted to do it for my teammates and everybody who supports this program,” Imms said. “We’ve been wanting to make the playoffs for a long time and it’s finally here.”

In Michigan, all six-win teams automatically earn a trip to the playoffs. Five-win teams can advance, too, based on their strength of schedule and if there aren’t enough six-win teams to fill out the field.

In the most recent playoff points listing, the Titans were the highest ranked four-win team. Playoff matchups will be released Sunday. For a listing of matchups featuring local teams, come back to candgnews.com/sports Oct. 27.

“Making the playoffs has been a goal we set at the start of the season,” said Newcomb, in his second year leading the program. “Our seniors led the way. The guys never gave up, even when we fell to 3-4. We knew the playoffs started after Week 7, and we’ve played really hard since then.”

Mott (6-3) led 20-14 at halftime, but was held scoreless in the second half and missed two field goals in the third quarter. Marauders coach Tom Milanov, who’s team heads to the playoffs for the ninth straight season, said he’s proud of how his team fought with essentially nothing to play for.

Newcomb said he and his staff believed the Titans defense could stiffen in the second half. He said the big plays the Marauders got in the first half came as a result of busted coverages.

“We just fought so hard. We wanted this win so bad,” Stevenson senior defensive lineman Sal Madonna said. “We had some bad years recently — 1-8, 2-7. We knew we’d eventually turn things around. This is so special.”

Stevenson senior running back Nick Wingfield ran for 119 yards and three touchdowns, including a 5-yard score to tie the game at 20-20 with 6:55 left in regulation.

Mott junior quarterback James Chaney hit junior wide receiver KJ Allen for two first-half touchdowns. Allen finished with 115 yards receiving and the two scores. Marauders senior running back Curtis Hamilton finished with 54 yards and a touchdown.

“(Stevenson) is a scrappy team. When they got down, they could have folded, but they fought and were able to get a big win,” Milanov said. 

“This has been a long time coming for this program,” Newcomb said.