By RANDY GREGORY
It was thought coming into the game played at Muskegon on Friday, September 13 that Rockford would be facing their most formidable challenge of the season. The Big Reds featured a multitude of Division 1 athletes who have either already committed or will commit in the next year or two while featuring size and speed that is probably unmatched anywhere else in the state. When the dust had settled that mix of Big Red attributes had rolled to a 45-0 triumph over a stunned Rockford football team.
The Rams made it competitive over the course of the first quarter and it was a scoreless tie after 12 minutes. The normally stout Ram defense was definitely up to the challenge of containing the Big Reds early and forced a pair of punts from a team that was used to naming the final score. Muskegon got the ball rolling in the second quarter however and proceeded to build a 17-0 lead built behind an unexpectedly solid aerial attack in Rockford territory. The teams went into the locker room with the Big Reds holding a still somewhat manageable 17-0 lead. That isn’t at all unfamiliar ground for Rockford as they have historically fallen behind Muskegon early only to rally later behind a diverse offense predicated on the passing game that attacked a Big Red defense that wasn’t used to being challenged.
The Rams forced a punt on Muskegon’s opening possession of the second half and the Rockford crowd had thoughts that this was possibly a sign of past improbable rallies to victory at Muskegon. But Rockford struggled to mount anything offensively and the defense gradually tired over the balance of the game after being on the field nearly continuously. The athleticism of the Big Red offense mixed with an attacking and relentless defense proved to be too much and the lead grew to 38-0 after three quarters. The Big Reds added another meaningless late score to make the final score 45-0.
Muskegon quarterback Deshaun Thrower was the unquestioned star of the night as he ran for 248 yards on just 19 carries for an average of 13.1 yards per attempt. He also added a touchdown pass while going 4 for 8 through the air as the Big Reds also amassed 73 yards via the airways. Coupled with a 426-yard effort on the ground and the total offense added up to an unheard of 499 yards for the top-ranked team in the state in Division 2.
Rockford coach Ralph Munger was unavailable for comment after the game.
Rockford was able to muster only four first downs (two via penalty) and 104 yards on the night. Brent Showers had a hand in sixteen tackles and Tyler Bradfield chipped in with eight from his safety spot to lead the defense. Aaron Winnick added a fumble recovery for the Rams as well.
Next up for the Rams is a home encounter with Jenison on Friday, September 20th at 7:00 P.M. It is also Senior Parent Recognition Night and Military Recognition Night.