By RANDY GREGORY
Rockford and West Ottawa met once already this season in a game that came down to the final seconds in Holland on October 6th. The result ended up being a 35-30 win for the Panthers. The victory snapped Rockford’s string of either winning outright or sharing eight consecutive OK Red titles.
The Rams went into the half of that contest with the game seemingly well in hand while holding a 23-7 lead. But the Panthers blitzed Rockford with 28 consecutive second half points to take a 35-23 lead and ended up surviving after intercepting a pass over the middle at their own 25 to claim a hard fought 35-30 win. The District Final will be played at West Ottawa on Friday, November 3rd at 7:00 P.M.
The Rams are anxious to gain a measure of revenge and that chance has arrived after both teams triumphed in Pre-District games last week. The routes the two teams took in their playoff opening wins could not have been any different. While Rockford crushed Grand Ledge on the road 36-0, West Ottawa had to convert a 10-yard touchdown pass with less than 30 seconds to play to eke past fellow OK Red member Grandville 33-29.
West Ottawa stands at 9-1 on the season while Rockford will enter the fray at 7-3. Rockford leads the all time series between the schools by the count of 39-10-1. The Panther victory earlier this season broke a 15-game winning streak by Rockford in the rivalry.
West Ottawa has been the more prolific team offensively this season as they have put up 335 points to the Rams 282. But Rockford holds the edge defensively having surrendered 126 points while the Panthers have given up 151. That equates to an average score of 28.2 to 12.6 for Rockford and 33.5 to 15.1 for West Ottawa.