by RANDY GREGORY
The final event to signal the start of another football season took place at Rockford High School on Friday, Aug. 17. The annual “Hots and Brats Night” was an overwhelming success by any definition. A beautiful evening and a great turnout by Ram faithful from all over western Michigan put a cap on all the hoopla leading up to the opener.
“Wow is all I can say,” said Rockford Coach Ralph Munger. “The weather couldn’t have been any nicer and the number of people who turned out was fantastic. I can’t even begin to thank all of our sponsors and everyone who contributed both time and food to this event. What a special community we live in.”
The Rams also took part in a four-team scrimmage at Byron Center High School on Wednesday, Aug. 15, in their first opportunity to hit someone other than their schoolmates. The results were somewhat mixed, but the Rams limped into the scrimmage with a plethora of injuries that somewhat limited them in what they wanted to accomplish. The day began with a dead battery on one of the buses, but everyone eventually made it to the south side of Grand Rapids for the football action.
“We think we will get a lot of the kids back who were out with injuries for this week’s game,” said Munger. “But we will just have to wait and see. It was a very valuable experience for the team, primarily because we got to see the wing-t offense from Byron Center, the split-back veer from Portage Central and the spread from Charlotte. That is very helpful from a defensive standpoint to see multiple offenses.”
The Rams looked impressive at times and struggled at times. But the net result was something that Munger feels will be invaluable when the regular season starts.
“We have got so much work to do from a technique standpoint,” said Munger. “We need to do our one-eleventh on the field and not try to do too much. But that will come with experience and game action. The number of walking wounded had the benefit of allowing us to work on building some depth. The kids and the coaches have worked very hard to get ready for the season and now we will see the results of all of that effort.”