Rams draw a semi-familiar foe in playoff opener

By RANDY GREGORY

It was looking as if Rockford would get at least one home game in the Michigan High School Athletic Association playoffs when East Kentwood took a late lead over Caledonia last Friday. The Falcons took a 38-34 lead with just over a minute to play but Caledonia rallied for a late score that knocked East Kentwood completely out of the playoffs and sent the Rams on the road instead.

Rockford will now not only play away from home it will be a fairly lengthy road trip to Grand Ledge to take on the 8-1 Comets. The kickoff is slated for 7:00 P.M. on Friday, October 27th.

This will be the eighth time the two teams have squared off in a series that began in 1992. As has been the case in the previous seven meetings, the match up will be a playoff game. Rockford (6-3 overall) holds a narrow 4-3 edge over Grand Ledge all time. The last time these two teams squared off it featured one of the stranger playoff games the Rams have ever participated in.

Rockford held a 16-3 lead after three quarters, but the Comets would erupt for 33 fourth quarter points to claim a 36-16 win over Rockford. All 52 points that evening were scored with a tremendous wind at the back of the team fortunate enough to be on the positive side of the gale force breeze.

Rockford’s last win against Grand Ledge came by the score of 42-14 in 2011. That was the third of three successive wins for the Rams that gave them a temporary leg up in the rivalry. Two of the four times Rockford emerged victorious (2005 and 2008) the Rams went on to claim state titles.

Grand Ledge has scored an average of 32.1 points per contest while surrendering an even 10. Rockford has scored an average of 27.3 points while allowing 14. There is one common opponent the teams share and that is Hudsonville. But Grand Ledge and Rockford faced off with the Eagles at polar opposite times. Grand Ledge beat Hudsonville 41-14 in the regular season opener while Rockford topped them 37-14 to close out the regular season.

Rockford has played a decidedly tougher schedule than the Comets. Rockford faced five playoff teams (should have been six, thanks EK) while Grand Ledge squared off with only three. The Comets also closed out the year with three games against teams that mustered only four wins total on the season (with three of those four wins coming when those three squads were playing each other).