When I presented a “Nugget of Rockford History” question two weeks ago asking for the name of the school that Rockford High met the most times in our hundred years of football, I did not expect that most of a column would be devoted to the answer. I heard from many people but only five knew that Grandville was the school. Jan Konkle, Bob Burch, Martin Vogel, Lee Paull and Bob Winegar were the ones who selected the Bulldogs.
Other schools who were given as our most frequent opponent were Sparta, Lowell, East Grand Rapids and Godwin. None of those schools come close to Grandville in games played against Rockford as the two teams have met eighty nine times. Actually, if we only count the regular season games and not MHSAA playoff contests the total would be eighty four. Of those eighty four matchups the Rams have won forty two with Grandville posting forty victories. Two games ended in a tie score. What a positive rivalry!
Five times the two schools have met twice in the same season. In 2000 and in 2006 Rockford defeated Grandville during the regular campaign and again in the playoffs. Then, in 2003 Rockford won the OK Red Conference battle but lost in the playoffs. The next year (2004) the results were reversed with Grandville victorious in regular season play with Rockford winning the playoff game. The 2005 year was a strange one for the two teams. Grandville outlasted Rockford for a narrow 13-10 win in conference play, but Rockford dominated the playoff contest by a 48-0 score. Overall, in tournament play, Rockford has won four times and Grandville once.
Counting the playoff game results Rockford has won forty six times and Grandville forty one. The two tie games round out the eighty nine total. One of the reasons that Rockford and Grandville have met so often is that they have been in the same conference three times. We first played Grandville in 1923 and have met them every year since then with the exception of five seasons (1965-1969) when we were in the Tri-River Conference. When we first joined the Tri- River, Grandville was still on our schedule as a non-league encounter.
The most points scored by Rockford against Grandville came in 1924 when we defeated them 69-0. Grandville’s highest point total came in 1937 when they triumphed by a 58-0 score. In 1939 and 1940 we lost to Grandville, but I have not been able to find the score. We were not a very strong football team those years, so perhaps they scored more than 58 points in one or both of those games.
After Grandville, my records show that Sparta was played the most times. The Rams and Spartans met in sixty nine games on the gridiron with Rockford winning forty six and Sparta seventeen. There were six tie games.
Here is a new “Nugget” question. “Who was the last principal of Rockford High School when the high school was on North Main Street?” Contact me with your answers at 616-866-0530 (by June 14). As always, also let me know if there are any errors in the column, so that we can make corrections.
Finally, the Rockford Area Historical Society will have a booth at the “Rockford Farm Market” on Saturday, June 8, 2013. We will have our scratch off cards there along with much information. Please stop by to talk and find out, perhaps, how you can help our cause. I hope to see you there!