Healthy Almonte enjoyed banner season for Falls football team
Indians' running back named All-Suburban
The primary reason that Menomonee Falls NOW All-Suburban senior running back Christian Almonte was finally able to unlock the full potential that he teased in two previous injury-scarred seasons was that he was able to stay healthy for a full campaign this fall.
"I broke a bone my sophomore year, and in my junior year I sprained an ankle right at the start of the season," the 5-6, 170-pound dynamo said. "This year I was able to stay 100 percent all the way through. I also hit the weight room and got about 10 pounds bigger and stronger without losing any of my speed."
And speed is what Almonte has been all about ever since he made his initial splash on varsity two years ago. Able to blow by people and cut back on a dime, Almonte scored 19 touchdowns this season and rushed for 1,383 yards with an average of 6.6 yards a carry as the Indians earned a 7-3 record.
His speed is well-known as he not only qualified for the WIAA state track meet last spring, he thrived, making the finals of the 100-meter dash.
"Track definitely helped with my confidence this fall," he said. "That was a great experience (at the state meet in La Crosse)."
Solid senior class
The unanimous All-Greater Metro Conference as well as WFCA All-Region selection, Almonte then proved to be one of the anchors of a veteran offense for the Indians football team this season. He was a co-captain along with two-year starting quarterback Adam Vechart. Veteran linemen like Cody Marienthal, Jackie DeWalt and all-region tight end Dan Dahlke also helped out.
"We had really good senior leadership this season with Adam being a (co)-captain," said Almonte. "Having four or five really good guys back on offense really helped make us successful."
The Falls offense would finish the campaign averaging just a shade under 30 points a game.
Almonte said his own personal experience also helped him improve this fall.
"I've learned a lot over the last three years," he said. "I know now that I have to be more patient and follow where the blocks lead me. Being good at this is far more of a team effort than just what you can do yourself."
His coach John Baker recognized that trait.
"He's one of the most explosive, dynamic backs I have been around," Baker said. "He is a special talent and had an outstanding senior year."
Almonte said the team was disappointed with the finish of the season as Falls went into the final game of the regular season with a chance at a Greater Metro Conference title but fell short of Marquette. The Indians then lost their first-round state playoff game to Fond du Lac.
Still, there were good moments, Almonte said, including the wild, 34-31 overtime win over Brookfield Central early in the season (he had two TDs in that contest) and then the gritty 29-21 decision over Brookfield East which preceded the Marquette tilt.
Started playing in third grade
"The best part of the season though was just being with the team, being with the guys one more time," he said. "We've been playing together for so long that we're very close. We started with flag football in the third grade and we've been together ever since."
Almonte knows his size will limit his opportunities for big-time college football but he would still like to play at the next level as he plans on majoring in criminal justice. Division II and Division III schools are sending him letters, including UW-Oshkosh, where former Falls NOW Player of the Year and running back Cole Myhra is finishing up a spectacular career.
"I got a chance to watch him when I was in eighth grade (during the Indians state finals run of 2009)," Almonte said. "That was fun to see."
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