Rockford scored two touchdowns in the last four minutes to win the football game Friday night, Oct. 9, against the tough Muskegon Big Reds. The cold, wet evening started with the introduction from the U.S. Air Force that it was the featured game of 2009 in the Great American Rivalry Series. Top scholar athletes were also featured and were given $500 college scholarships. Taylor Huizenga earned this from Rockford. The Muskegon band played the National Anthem and the evening began. In the first quarter, Muskegon got a first down on their first possession, even with the defensive plays by Rockford’s Taylor Huizenga and Ryan Darby. Darby seemed to be everywhere throughout the evening, making offensive and defensive plays. He was in on the punt returns as well. Rockford’s highlights of the first quarter were its two first downs. At the end of the first quarter there was no score. In the second quarter, Muskegon’s quarterback broke through and ran for a touchdown to make it 6-0. Darby blocked their extra point. Muskegon seemed to be dominating the game, moving slowly up the field. However, just before half, Rockford hit a 43-yard field goal by Paul Mudgett to make the score Muskegon 6, Rockford 3 at halftime. During halftime, Muskegon’s marching band played Beatles songs and three of their football players were involved. One was a trumpet player, one was a trombonist and the other directed a song or two. The third quarter started as it began to rain again. The Big Reds kicked off to Rockford, who was stopped again. On Muskegon’s possession, the Big Reds ran the ball and got a first down. Their luck continued, despite the defensive plays by Rams Colin Remtema and Zach Haugen. Muskegon made it down the field, and their quarterback threw a 20-yard pass for a touchdown to make it Muskegon 13, Rockford 3. Rockford was down by 10 with six minutes left in the third quarter. Muskegon kicked off and were off sides, so they had to kick again. Rockford’s Haugen returned the ball to the 37-yard line. Nick Smythe then got a few yards and Darby made a first down. However, on the next set of downs, Rockford had to give […]
Former Rockford High School wrestling coach Don Rinehart will be inducted into the Michigan Wrestling Association Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 6 in Mount Pleasant at the Comfort Inn Convention Center, and will also receive the 2009 Division I Coach of the Year award. Rinehart will also be receiving the 2009 Michigan High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year award at a banquet on Sunday, Nov. 8 at the Ramada Inn Convention Center in Lansing. Tickets for Friday’s recognition in Mount Pleasant are $25 and can be purchased by calling John Hayden at (269) 876-9059. Rooms may be booked at www.mtpcomfortinn.com. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the banquet is to begin at 7:30 p.m.
By routing Zeeland Wednesday night, Oct. 7, in a key conference match-up, the Rockford boys water polo team extended their streak of finishing atop the OK conference to an unbelievable 17 years. Rockford’s streak began in 1993, the year Bill Clinton was inaugurated, Jurassic Park (the first one) was a box office smash, and the Power Rangers made their television debut. Most of the 2009 Rams hadn’t yet been born. Rockford’s conference record during that period was an astronomical 134-3. Hundreds of athletes and their families have contributed to the streak. Coach Dave McWatters is quick to give them credit for sustaining the tradition. “The program’s success rests on the ‘three-legged stool’ of dedicated athletes, committed parents, and supportive school administration. We need all three legs to make the program work.” Of course, McWatters, his staff, and their predecessors are the fourth leg. Together these groups have built a source of great pride for the Rockford community. The 2009 seniors were honored at the Rockford pool Wednesday night. Zeeland came to town hoping to spoil the Senior Night festivities, but seniors Derik Bothma, Tyler Manikowski, Kyle Peterson and Connor Thelen rose to the occasion. They combined for 10 goals as the Rams pulled away in the second half to a final score of 12-3. The victory gives Rockford a 6-1 conference record and a share of the OK conference title. “The seniors are always energetic and positive,” observed junior Jeff Schmitt. “They pump us up and get us going for every game, and never let us get down when things don’t go well. They provide great leadership for the team.” The seniors had another opportunity to lead their team into battle as the Rams partnered with East Grand Rapids to host a weekend tournament with 16 top teams from around the state. Rockford’s deep talent pool allowed them to enter two teams into the contest. The A team finished fourth, the B team finished 12th. The Rams now set their sights on the district championship tournament to be played at Rockford on October 23 and 24.
Rockford’s state-ranked boys cross country team went into the Portage Invitational—one of the largest invitationals in the Midwest—with a group of varsity runners who were coping with a variety of physical ailments. Six of the top seven runners had either sustained injuries or were fighting off upper respiratory congestion but still toed the line in this much anticipated race. Even Coach Martin was suffering from illness. When asked to assess his team’s chances, Coach Martin said, “We are pretty banged up so we will just have to see how we do today. Then we’ll try to get healthy.” The Rams showed their determination, dedication and toughness as the team finished sixth out of 41 schools in Division I, besting all other Grand Rapids area teams. As individual medals are awarded to the top 50 runners, Rockford placed three of their top five in the top 50, and Rockford’s number four runner finished in 53rd place, just missing out on the medal stand. Three senior co-captains led the charge for the Rams. Running first was Nick Shear who finished 27th overall with a time of 16:26. Second for the Rams was Drake Veitenheimer in 16:35, and rounding out the medalists was Grant Gunneson also in 16:35. In the boys Division I junior varsity meet, Rockford’s top four ran in a very tight pack. The strategy appeared to pay dividends as they finished in 14th, 15th, 17th and 18th places in a very crowded field of 411 runners. Finishing as the number-one JV runner for Rockford was senior Taylor Swihart with a time of 17:30, followed very rapidly by junior Jake Naessens also in 17:30. These two were followed closely by Kyle Alberta and Connor Jewell, both finishing in 17:34. Rounding out the scoring for Rockford was Evan Bruin with a time of 17:38, good enough for 22nd place overall. Also running well was freshman Austin Benoit who ran 17:38, finishing in 23rd place in the JV race. Bigger news for Benoit was that his 17:38 bested all of the other 112 freshman runners in the JV field. Rockford is finally running at home this week Wednesday as they welcome Jenison and Hudsonville to Meadowridge Elementary School for the final home meet of the season. Rockford is trying […]
It was a tough night for the Lady Rams at the home of the East Kentwood Falcons on Thursday, Oct. 8. There was even a fire drill that emptied out the field house during the freshman and junior varsity volleyball games. Once back, the freshman match went on to three games, but ended on the downside, 25-11. Rockford’s record up to then was 17 wins, 13 losses and four ties. Coach Kelli Karelse said, “They are a great group of girls who work well together.” The Rockford JV volleyball team won at East Kentwood in two games. Bre Tobias helped the team to their victories with her excellent serves. The exciting night continued with the varsity game. However, it wasn’t the Lady Rams’ night, as they fell in three games. It was senior night for East Kentwood and everything just seemed to fall their way despite the beautiful blocking and spiking by senior Cailie Johnson and the excellent net play by Andrea Kacsits for Rockford. In the second game, Rockford was making a comeback and it ended in a close one—Falcons 25, Rams 21. The third and final game in the match went East Kentwood’s way. Rockford couldn’t seem to break their opponent’s serve and the Rams ended up falling, 25-15.