By Randy Gregory
The 2012 football season has featured a solid performance day in and day out for the Rockford defense. The same could not be said for an offense that not only had to replace nine of eleven starters from the 2011 squad but has battled a plethora of injuries all season long. Both of the returning starters from last year missed significant time. The top two quarterbacks missed half the season in one case and the entire season in the other. The offensive line was particularly decimated with one injury after another in a position where the Rams were most vulnerable. Add it all together and it is a recipe for a tough season offensively.
But the tide has started to turn for a unit that could have cried uncle but instead has held together and gotten progressively healthier as the season has progressed. the Rams have amassed 167 points over the last four games for an average of nearly 42 points a contest. They had to rescue the day in last week’s 35-28 playoff win over West Ottawa as the defense uncharacteristically gave up more than 20 points.
“The execution has certainly gotten better at times,” said Rockford coach Ralph Munger. “We have been able to mix the run and the pass better as we have gotten some of our injured players back. We can be dominant occasionally and flat line at other times. We still haven’t played a complete game but it has certainly been trending a little better recently.”
It would have been interesting to see how things would have progressed had the injury situation not reared it’s ugly head earlier this season for the Rams. It would have been nice to see the Rams able to square off with all of their weapons in early season marquee games against Lowell and Muskegon. But football is an unforgiving game at times and most teams have had to face trying situations over the course of a season that could stretch for over three months of game action.
“There have been times when I have called the same play time after time this year because I wasn’t happy with our execution,” said Munger. “It might have lost a yard the first time but gained ten the second time. I couldn’t ask for more effort then these guys have given this year, but we have just struggled to be consistent due to a variety of reasons. But it is getting better and I am thrilled we are in the position we are in right now.”