Rockford rugby advances to state championship game

Junior winger Jeff Baldwin scores in the Birmingham game.

Rockford had two teams qualify for state rugby playoffs at Kenowa Hills this past Saturday, May 19.

The Rams’ Division III team played first against Downriver Sharks. Rockford controlled the match from the start and finished with a 41-7 victory. Howell was their next opponent. The young Rams kept the game close for the first half, but came up short 31-12.

The Division III team ended the season with a 5-3 record. The experience gained by these players will translate to a continued strong Rockford rugby program for years to come.

Junior prop Andy Rupert scores a try with a crash ball against Dexter.

Rockford’s Division I team’s first round was set against Birmingham. Just like the Division III team, the Rams controlled the game from the start and ended with a 32-0 win with six different players scoring tries.

The undefeated Dexter Devils was the next opponent for the Rams. It was a tough first half that ended with the Rams behind 7-0. Thanks to their fans recharging the ruggers at half, they dominated. The entire second half was played at Dexter’s end of the field. Scoring the first try was junior prop Andy Rupert with a crash ball off of a ruck. After several close chances being called back for several reasons, senior flyhalf Brady Gent took a quick tap off of a Dexter penalty and took the ball wide on a tired defense, scoring the go ahead try in the corner of the try zone. That was capped off by a tough conversion kick by senior winger Hunter Feringa. The Rams continued to attack and ended the match with a 12-7 victory.

This sets up a rematch with West Ottawa for the state championship at West Ottawa High School on Saturday, May 26 at 3 p.m. The Rams’ Division I team record is 6-1; the only loss is to West Ottawa.

This year’s Rockford rugby football team is made of Trevor Alferink, Jeff Baldwin, Drew Boatright, Chandler Borg, Cameron Borg, Devon Buckner, Corey Cole, Torrin Colunga, Jason Deibel, Colin Donahue, William Ferguson, Hunter Feringa, Mark Fischer, Brady Gent, Zach Kamps, Mathias Mappes-Pearson, Reid Martin, Anthony Martinez, Austin Mckee, Colton Odem, Aaron Ortiz, Corey Ortiz, Joshua Parker, Joshua Parker, Zach Perry, Aaron Plambeck, Austin Postma, Jordan Richardson, Nick Riggs, Dylan Rodriguez, Arnolds Ruperts, Andy Ruperts, Drew Schwandt, Jacob Sendzik, Matthew Shalda, Ryan Siekman, Joshua Sisson, Erik Smoes, Jason Springvloed, Noah Taylor, Grant Tennihill, Jared Tennihill, Adam Trapp, Zachary Truskowski, Jordan Vermeer, Devon Ward, Jacob Wilson, and Nick Zeboor.

The Rockford rugby team would appreciate the Ram fans that can make the trip to the state championship game at West Ottawa High School and help bring back another rugby state championship to Rockford! Fans can meet at the junior parking lot at Rockford High School between 12:30 and 1 p.m.

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