by RANDY GREGORY
It is clearly open for debate as to whether or not this is actually year number 100 for Rockford Ram football. There is a pair of years when football wasn’t contested due to various circumstances. But 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the inaugural season for what has truly become a community-wide celebration. Fall is ever so faintly in the air following a scorching and arid summer, and several harbingers of the gridiron time of year have started or are about to begin.
Rockford kicked off two-a-day practices this Monday, and Coach Ralph Munger and his veteran and wily coaching staff welcome yet another strong contingent to the football field. The Rams’ varsity roster numbers 41 seniors, 30 juniors and a pair of sophomores. There are also well over 50 players on both the junior varsity and freshman teams to go along with the normal horde of 78ers at the two middle schools.
There are several other events on the immediate horizon that true aficionados of Rockford football will want to take note of. First on the docket is picture day, which will be held at the high school next Tuesday, August 14 at noon. That will be followed by the preseason scrimmage at 10 a.m. the next day (Wed.) at Byron Center High School. The other teams taking part include Byron Center, Portage Central and Charlotte. The JV and frosh squads will have their preseason scrimmage the succeeding day (Thur.) at 10 a.m. at Rockford against the same trio of squads.
And last, but certainly not least, is the highly anticipated “Hots and Brats Night” on Friday, August 17. On that occasion family pictures are slated for 4:45 p.m., a team practice session takes place at 5:30, and the cookout itself is scheduled to commence at 6:30. Rockford fans and members of the community are strongly encouraged to attend all of these events and show their support for these hardworking players and coaches.
All of this is merely a series of warm-ups for the actual start of the 2012 campaign. For the second straight year it will feature the Rams against the Red Arrows of Lowell, but this time the venue will be Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium and Rockford will have the home field advantage. That contest will be played at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 23, and will showcase two of the perennial powers in the state of Michigan when it comes to football. See you there and Go Rams!