by TONY ANDERSON
The Rockford Rams traveled to Jenison on Friday, Sept. 18, to play the upstart Wildcats. The Rams came in averaging 36 points a game, with the other three victories coming with wide margins of victory. The Wildcats came into the contest with a upset victory over Grandville, and feeling chippy.
Jenison won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Rockford took possession on the 20-yard line after a touchback. The Rams stumbled and, after three plays, were forced to punt. The Wildcats returned the punt to the 37 and then had 10 yards tacked on by a penalty.
Jenison seemed to have a drive going, but the Ram defense stepped up even after a very questionable face mask penalty, and forced a field goal. Rockford returned the kick to the 31-yard line, but was forced to punt after three plays.
The Wildcats took over on the 22-yard line, and once again seemed to have a drive mounting. However, the Rams’ defense rose up and forced a punt, which didn’t go very far, and the Rams took over on the 44-yard line. The first quarter came to an end with Jenison ahead by 3.
The second quarter opened with the Rams seeing second down and six yards to go. One play after picking it up, Rockford fumbled the ball. The Wildcats took over on the 36-yard line. After a six-yard pick-up on first down, the wheels seemed to fall off, and after three straight penalties, the Wildcats went from second down and four to second down and 36.
The Wildcats—though making some plays and picking up a chunk of yards—were forced to punt. Rockford took over on the 44-yard line, but stumbled once more and were forced to punt after three runs, netting two yards.
Jenison took over on the 12-yard line after a first down. The Rams defense forced them to punt, and the Rams took over on the 43-yard line. Zach Haugen grabbed a pass from Taylor Masiewicz, and then Joey Johnson scampered 28 yards for a touchdown, with Paul Mudgett adding the point after. The Rams’ drive of 43 yards in four plays took 47 seconds.
The Wildcats took over on the 20-yard line after a touchback. Mudgett’s kick landed on the track 10 yards behind the end zone. The Ram defense then got two tackles for a loss and seemed to have a the Wildcats back on their heels, but a defensive encroachment and a run play that saw a handful of missed tackles left Jenison with a fourth and four.
The Rams took over on the 30-yard line. With 38.8 seconds left, Ryan Darby picked up the first down and Masiewcz spiked the ball with 7.5 seconds left in the game. But the Rams were unable to hook up and saw the first half come to a close at Rockford Rams 7, Jenison Wildcats 3.
The second half saw the Wildcats start from the 20-yard line. The Wildcats also saw a Ram defense force them into a three and out. Rockford took the ball 41 and stumbled a bit, and Mudgett attempted a 52-yard field goal—the kick was just wide left. Jenison took the ball from the 20-yard line and seemed to be mounting a drive when Haugen grabbed the Jenison pass near the goal line and returned it to the 23-yard line. The Rams were unable to capitalize and were forced to punt. The punt was fumbled off the hands of the Wildcat receiver into the end zone, giving them the ball on the 20-yard line. The third quarter came to an end at Rockford 7, Jenison 3.
The fourth quarter saw a penalty push the Wildcats back and forced to punt, giving the ball to Rockford on the 17-yard line. The Rams came out and drove down the field. Matt Karamol grabbed a huge pass play and Darby scampered the final 18 yards. The point after was no good.
Jenison took the ball from the 20-yard line and picked up some yards, but the Ram defense forced Jenison into a fourth down with four to go. The Ram defense stood up to the challenge, giving the ball back to the offense on the 44-yard line. The offense was unable to pick up a first down and had to punt. The punt took the ball all the way to the nine-yard line. Karamol grabbed a batted ball and rumbled into the end zone for a touch down, with Mudgett adding the point after.
Jenison took the ball from the 20-yard line after a touchback. The Rockford defense forced a fourth and one, and the Wildcats managed to pick it up. However, the time ran out, sealing the Ram victory at Rockford 20, Jenison 3. Masiewicz was 8-13 for 86 yards and 17 yards on the ground. Darby led the Ram ball carriers with 64 yards, and Karamol led the receivers with 36 yards. The defense was led by Brett Egnatuk with 13 tackles, eight solo.
The Rams will host the Grand Haven Buccaneers on Friday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. The Bucs, also undefeated in conference play, will bring in their tough defense.