by TONY ANDERSON
The Rockford Rams hosted the Holt Rams on Saturday, Nov. 14, for the regional football championship. The game was a rematch of week two, which was dominated by Rockford. Playing a team two times in one season and getting a victory is an extremely hard thing to do, and Rockford was asked to do it three times in three weeks.
Holt won the coin toss and deferred to the second half.
Rockford took the opening kick to the 39-yard line. The Rams of Rockford found themselves unable to get a first down and had to punt.
Holt took possession on the 29-yard line and picked two first downs before finding themselves in a fourth-down-and-long. The punt team came in from the sidelines, but they faked the punt and picked up the first down. Shortly after, Holt scored a touchdown, but the point after was no good.
Rockford started their next possession on the 38-yard line. Then the Rockford quarterback was intercepted on the third play.
Holt started at midfield and scored on the first play—a 50-yard pass play. Holt was flagged with an off-sides on the kickoff. The next kick ended up in the end zone after the 5-yard penalty.
Rockford returned the kick to the 36-yard line. They seemed to find a rhythm and picked up a couple first downs before finding themselves in a third-and-six. Holt seemed to have them stopped, but used the face mask to make the tackle, which was surprisingly only a 5-yard penalty. This left Rockford in third-and-one.
Rockford picked up the first down. Trying to continue the drive, Rockford quarterback Taylor Masiewicz was sacked for a 6-yard loss. Following the sack, Masiewicz’s throw was intercepted, and Holt returned it to the Rockford 49-yard line.
Holt picked up two first downs—one helped by a questionable pass interference penalty. The first quarter came to an end with the score at Rockford 0, Holt 13.
The second quarter opened with Holt in a third-and-15 on the 23-yard line. But the second quarter was the Rockford defense’s quarter, forcing Holt into a 34-yard field attempt, which was no good. Rockford took over on the 20-yard line.
Rockford’s offense was forced to punt after three plays, and Holt took over on the 44-yard line.
After two straight false-start penalties and a sack by the Rockford defense, the Holt Rams were on the 31-yard line with a fourth-and-23, and had to punt. Rockford could find the rhythm and was forced to punt after three plays. Holt took over on the 20-yard line, but the Rockford defense again forced a three-and-out punt. Rockford took over on the 34-yard line, but still could not find their rhythm, and after three plays had to punt.
Holt started on the 20-yard line once again, and the Rockford defense stood tall and forced a three-and-out, and the Holt punt went only to their 33-yard line.
Though in great field position, Rockford could not capitalize. With 24.8 left, Paul Mudgett kicked a 46-yard field goal.
Holt took the ball on the 20-yard line with seconds left in the half. They knelt down and went to the locker room. The score at halftime stood at Rockford 3, Holt 13.
Holt took the second-half kickoff at the 20-yard line. After Holt picked up one first down, the Rockford defense tightened up and forced Holt to punt.
The Rockford offense started the possession on the 20-yard line and, though very much dominated by the run game, the passing game picked up three key first downs. Rockford reached the 18-yard line before they brought in Mudgett in for a 36-yard field goal.
Holt started on the 20-yard line once again, and found a fired-up Rockford defense that forced a three-and-out punt.
Rockford started on the 46-yard line and went to the run game. They seemed to have momentum, but then a Holt player was hurt and lying on the sideline, so play was stopped for several minutes. After play was resumed, Rockford was hit with a false-start penalty, and that was the end of the third quarter. The score was Rockford 6, Holt 13.
As the fourth quarter opened, the Rockford Rams had a third-and-13. However, the Rockford quarterback was sacked, forcing them to punt.
Holt started on the 20-yard line and marched down the field, picking up five first downs and ending in a touchdown.
Rockford started on the 24-yard line and mixed run and pass plays, picking up two first downs before Masiewicz found Zach Haugen on a 29-yard touchdown pass.
Holt started on the 20-yard line, with 2:40 left in the game and the Rockford defense forced Holt into a fourth-and-one. Holt went for it and got it by the nose of the ball, and one play later the Holt ball carrier scrambled 70 yards for a touchdown.
Rockford took possession on the 20-yard line with 1:16 left in the game. The Rams went to the air and Masiewicz found Matt Karamol on a huge pass play, but one play later Masiewicz was picked off in the end zone. With 47.2 left, the Holt Rams had to kneel down three times to seal the game, upsetting Rockford, 27-13.
The Rams of Rockford were just unable to pull off another fourth-quarter comeback. As the players huddled around the block R in the middle of the field for the final time of the season, the emotion was obvious in the faces of the players.
One underclassman looked at a senior and simply said, “Sorry.” The senior just looked at him with tears in his eyes and said, “You have no reason to apologize. Just do me a favor. Just remember how you feel right now—remember for next year.” The young men quietly walked to the end zone and as a unit watched Holt receive the regional championship. The season began in August on a sloppy field in Davison, but came to end in November in Rockford, just two games short of the goal.
The Holt Rams will now face the undefeated Shamrocks of Detroit Catholic Central in the state semifinals.