Rockford scored two touchdowns in the last four minutes to win the football game Friday night, Oct. 9, against the tough Muskegon Big Reds. The cold, wet evening started with the introduction from the U.S. Air Force that it was the featured game of 2009 in the Great American Rivalry Series. Top scholar athletes were also featured and were given $500 college scholarships. Taylor Huizenga earned this from Rockford. The Muskegon band played the National Anthem and the evening began.
In the first quarter, Muskegon got a first down on their first possession, even with the defensive plays by Rockford’s Taylor Huizenga and Ryan Darby. Darby seemed to be everywhere throughout the evening, making offensive and defensive plays. He was in on the punt returns as well. Rockford’s highlights of the first quarter were its two first downs. At the end of the first quarter there was no score.
In the second quarter, Muskegon’s quarterback broke through and ran for a touchdown to make it 6-0. Darby blocked their extra point. Muskegon seemed to be dominating the game, moving slowly up the field. However, just before half, Rockford hit a 43-yard field goal by Paul Mudgett to make the score Muskegon 6, Rockford 3 at halftime.
During halftime, Muskegon’s marching band played Beatles songs and three of their football players were involved. One was a trumpet player, one was a trombonist and the other directed a song or two.
The third quarter started as it began to rain again. The Big Reds kicked off to Rockford, who was stopped again. On Muskegon’s possession, the Big Reds ran the ball and got a first down. Their luck continued, despite the defensive plays by Rams Colin Remtema and Zach Haugen. Muskegon made it down the field, and their quarterback threw a 20-yard pass for a touchdown to make it Muskegon 13, Rockford 3.
Rockford was down by 10 with six minutes left in the third quarter. Muskegon kicked off and were off sides, so they had to kick again. Rockford’s Haugen returned the ball to the 37-yard line. Nick Smythe then got a few yards and Darby made a first down. However, on the next set of downs, Rockford had to give it back to Muskegon. Another first down by Muskegon then ensued, but Rockford made a little surge near the end of the third quarter with a pass to Darby near midfield.
The drive continued into the fourth quarter with a long run by Darby, who made it to the five-yard line. Muskegon intercepted, though, on the next play at the goal line. With nine minutes left in the game, it didn’t look good for Rockford as Muskegon got another first down. Again, Darby stepped up and played good defense. Muskegon took a time out, and this is where Rockford’s luck turned. Huizenga blocked Muskegon’s punt with five minutes to go, then went on to catch a touchdown pass to make the score Muskegon 13, Rockford 9. Rockford missed the extra point as it hit the upright.
Muskegon got the ball back and was sacked with 4:44 left to go. The Big Reds had to punt and were hit with a delay of game and penalized five yards. Darby made a long catch-and-run, but there was a flag—holding on Rockford. The ball was on the 45-yard line with 3:43 to go and the score still at 13-9. Darby ran up the middle and then Muskegon took a time out.
Rockford had a little trickery up their sleeve and Ram quarterback Masiewicz hid the ball behind his back and ran for a first down. After a few more running plays, the clock was down to 24 seconds in the game. Rockford threw a pass to Haugen for a touchdown. With the kick, Rockford made it 16-13.
Muskegon had a long run back to the 40-yard line with only three seconds left. On the next play, Muskegon was sacked to end the game. Rockford escaped undefeated to make their record 7-0. Muskegon fell to 4-3.