Rockford shares OK Red football championship with Grand Haven
by TIM COOPER
The ninth and final week of the regular season found the Rams traveling to Hudsonville to take on the Eagles. Rockford’s offense, led by Brady Gent’s two touchdowns, defeated the Eagles
27-7, earning them a share of the OK Red conference crown. The first of Gent’s touchdowns came with 4:29 remaining in the first quarter, giving the Rams a 7-0 lead.
For the remainder of the first half, Rockford’s offense struggled to move the ball. Hudsonville was also aided by numerous Ram penalties.
“I thought it was Flag Day, with all the penalties,” Coach Ralph Munger said.
Rockford’s second touchdown came in the final seconds of the second half, when quarterback Mark LaPrairie found receiver Neil VanderLaan with a 12-yard pass, a play that Munger called a turning point in the game.
“LaPrairie was really on tonight,” commented Munger. “We’ve come a long way as a team with a junior quarterback. We lost two senior running backs to injuries, but we found replacements in a junior and a sophomore.”
LaPrairie finished the night 15-of-25, gaining 228 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and one interception.
Zach Schmuck scored midway through the third quarter. A missed extra point attempt made the score 20-0. Gent’s second touchdown came via a pass from LaPrairie, extending the lead to 27-7.
Hudsonville’s lone touchdown came with 8:27 left in the game when Zac Van Ess plunged through the Rockford line for a 10-yard score.
Coach Munger was pleased with the way his team closed out the regular season. “Our guys did certain things well enough to get the job done. We’ve got a lot of weapons, and are feeling pretty good about that.”
The Rams are also feeling pretty good about making their 16th straight playoff appearance.
The Rams found out on Sunday, Oct. 24, that their first-round playoff opponent will be the Traverse City West Titans, a team that Rockford knocked out of the playoffs in 2008, defeating them 46-26. The game will be held on Friday night, Oct. 29, at home in Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium.