by TONY ANDERSON
The Rockford Rams traveled to Grandville on Friday, Oct. 23, with the hopes of finishing the regular season undefeated.
The Bulldogs won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. The Rams started on their 20-yard line. Rockford started off with their potent ground game, but after picking up one first down were forced to punt.
The punt into a stiff wind traveled to the Grandville 33-yard line. The Bulldogs picked up a first down before scoring on a 52-yard touchdown run.
Rockford’s second possession started on the 20-yard line, and though picking up two first downs, they were forced into a 47-yard field goal attempt by Paul Mudgett. The kick—again into a stiff breeze—was no good.
Grandville started on their 20-yard line, and seemed to have a drive mounted, picking up three first downs, one of which was aided by a very questionable defensive holding penalty. But the Rams forced a fumble that was recovered by Ben Braden.
Rockford started on the 42-yard line, and mixed run and pass plays, picking up three first downs before the end of first quarter, with the score Grandville 7 and Rockford 0.
The second quarter opened with the Rams having first and 10 on the Bulldog 21-yard line. On the second play of the second quarter, Taylor Masiewicz contacted with Joey Johnson for a 20-yard touchdown pass, with Mudgett adding the point after.
The Bulldogs started on the 20-yard line and picked up one first down before scoring on a 67-yard touchdown run.
Rockford started their next possession on the 33-yard line. The Rams drove down the field, though forced into a fourth-down play. A fourth-and-one was picked up by Nick Smythe soon after Tyler Pratt rumbled 5 yards for a Rockford touchdown, and Mudgett added the point after.
Grandville once again started on their 20-yard line and the Rams forced a punt, but were called offside, giving the Bulldogs a fresh set of downs. The Rockford defense stood tall and once again forced a punt after three plays.
Rockford took possession on the 41-yard line and went to the air, picking up two first downs. During the drive, the Rockford quarterback was sacked on third-and-10, bringing up a fourth-and-17. Having faith, the Rockford coaching staff went for it, and Ryan Darby grabbed a Masiewicz pass for 34 yards and a score. Mudgett added the point after.
Grandville took the kick to the 25-yard line, but with 12.7 seconds left in the half, the Bulldogs ran the ball once and let time expire. Halftime score was Rockford 21, Grandville 14.
The second-half kick was returned by the Bulldogs to the 42-yard line, but the Rams forced a three-and-out and a punt.
The Rams started on the 16-yard line. The drive saw a fumble recovered by Rockford and then a sack on third down, and Rockford was forced to punt.
The punt—still into a stiff breeze—didn’t travel very far, giving the Bulldogs great field position on the Rockford 27-yard line. Grandville, though, only managed to get close and was forced by the Rams to kick a 30-yard field goal.
Rockford’s next possession started on the 20-yard line and the Rams again went to the ground attack, picking up five first downs before Darby sprinted the final two yards for a Rockford touchdown. Mudgett added the point after.
Grandville started on the 20-yard line and went no where as the third quarter came to a close. The score was Rockford 28, Grandville 17.
The fourth quarter opened with Grandville facing a fourth-and-20 deep in their end of the field. The punt didn’t go to far, giving Rockford the ball on the Bulldog 25-yard line. Even after being forced into a fourth-and-two, the Rams’ Nick Smythe scrambled 18 yards for a Rockford touchdown with Mudgett adding the point after.
Grandville started on the 27-yard line and Rockford’s defense forced them into a fourth-and-five. It seemed they had picked it up, but were flagged for an illegal formation and were not able to pick up the fourth-and-10, giving Rockford the ball on downs.
Rockford started on the 40-yard line and sent in some of the younger players. Mark LaPrairie ran the Ram offense, mixing run and pass plays and even picking up a fourth-and-four by hitting Tyler Villarreal, giving Rockford a first down. Kollin VanDenHeuvel finished the drive by dashing into the end zone for a Rockford touchdown.
Grandville started on the 20-yard line, and after picking up a first down, the Ram defense forced a punt. With 1:11 left in the game, Rockford rushed three times, picking a first down and sealing the game. The final score was Rockford 42, Grandville 17.
On Friday night, Oct. 30, the Rams will host the Falcons of East Kentwood in the first round of the playoffs. The contest is a rematch, with the Rams having pulled out a fourth-quarter comeback and a one-point victory.