Rockford comes from behind in Battle of the Rams
by TIM COOPER
On Thursday, September 2, the Rockford Rams made the one-hour trip down I-96 to play the Holt Rams. Rockford would fall behind early to one of the better teams in the Lansing area, trailing 14-0 before the first quarter ended. Rockford’s defense would be tested all night as their offense would struggle to come from behind.
“I wasn’t really in the best of moods when that happened, but it was early,” said coach Ralph Munger. “We had a lot of time left on the clock. The bottom line is, you have to keep slugging it out. You have to get back into the game.”
With 5:18 remaining in the first quarter, Rockford’s offense began to rise to the task. Using a potent ground attack, Rockford completed a 53 yard drive on the first play of the second quarter when Zach Schmuck dove into the end zone for Rockford’s first points of the night.
Rockford held Holt to three points in the second quarter, giving Holt a 17-7 lead, after a 37 yard field goal from Holt’s Evan Fischer. Using a smash mouth style of football, Coach Munger’s Rams again cut into the Holt lead when Connor Darby crashed through the line for six yards and a touchdown with 32 seconds remaining in the half, bringing Rockford within three.
A Holt fumble with time running out gave Rockford’s Steve Mette the chance to complete the comeback. Mette’s kick was good, barely crossing the uprights after being tipped by Holt’s defensive line. With the score tied at 17, Holt again pulled ahead with their opening drive when Curtis Nick crossed into the end zone for his third touchdown of the night early in the second half. After trading possessions with Holt, the big Rockford line smashed their way down field, allowing Mette to tie the score after a Nate Sanders touchdown with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
Rockford’s defense then created three turnovers, allowing the offense to wear Holt’s defense down. The final turnover came with 1:07 remaining in the game, when Shain Showers picked off a pass from backup quarterback Jake Bozzo. Six plays later, Munger’s Rams found themselves at the Holt 2 yard line with 6.3 seconds remaining. Coach Munger would turn the game over to the foot of Steve Mette, whose kick sailed through the uprights from 20 yards, giving Rockford their first lead of the night, and the victory.
Following the game, Coach Munger said, “We had to look deep to find a way to match up with them defensively, until our offense decided to play. We executed enough things well to pull this one out. I can’t stress enough that Holt is a quality program.”
The Rams were led offensively by Zach Schmuch, who gained 159 yards on 17 carries, and had one touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, captain Brett Egnatuk led all tacklers, with a total of 15, followed by Tyler Pratt, who had 11.
Rockford returns to Ted Carlson Memorial stadium on Friday, September 10 to face the Jenison Wildcats.