August 23 2012

Rockford crew invites more rowers

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

The Rockford High School crew team will host an open boathouse on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m., rain or shine. Rockford crew has developed as a very successful co-ed club and varsity sport, winning the state championship for the past two years, the 2012 Men’s Midwest Championship (where the women placed third in the region), plus participating in national rowing events such as the Scholastic National Championship competition held every spring and the Head of the Charles regatta held every fall in Boston. Boys and girls from grades six through 12 are invited to this event, where they will have a chance to get into one of the boats and row with experienced rowers. In addition, coaches will be available to answer questions about the sport and about the team. Plus, crew parents will be grilling by the river. What a great opportunity to get a close-up look at those boats that you may have seen practicing on the Grand River and to get a peek inside the boathouse! For more information about this event or the team, please contact or come see them at the boathouse on September 8. The boathouse is located on the south side of West River Drive just west of Jupiter Avenue. The driveway is directly across from the Chemical Bank driveway.

Hots and Brats a huge success to conclude preparations for opener

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY The final event to signal the start of another football season took place at Rockford High School on Friday, Aug. 17. The annual “Hots and Brats Night” was an overwhelming success by any definition. A beautiful evening and a great turnout by Ram faithful from all over western Michigan put a cap on all the hoopla leading up to the opener. “Wow is all I can say,” said Rockford Coach Ralph Munger. “The weather couldn’t have been any nicer and the number of people who turned out was fantastic. I can’t even begin to thank all of our sponsors and everyone who contributed both time and food to this event. What a special community we live in.” The Rams also took part in a four-team scrimmage at Byron Center High School on Wednesday, Aug. 15, in their first opportunity to hit someone other than their schoolmates. The results were somewhat mixed, but the Rams limped into the scrimmage with a plethora of injuries that somewhat limited them in what they wanted to accomplish. The day began with a dead battery on one of the buses, but everyone eventually made it to the south side of Grand Rapids for the football action. “We think we will get a lot of the kids back who were out with injuries for this week’s game,” said Munger. “But we will just have to wait and see. It was a very valuable experience for the team, primarily because we got to see the wing-t offense from Byron Center, the split-back veer from Portage Central and the spread from Charlotte. That is very helpful from a defensive standpoint to see multiple offenses.” The Rams looked impressive at times and struggled at times. But the net result was something that Munger feels will be invaluable when the regular season starts. “We have got so much work to do from a technique standpoint,” said Munger. “We need to do our one-eleventh on the field and not try to do too much. But that will come with experience and game action. The number of walking wounded had the benefit of allowing us to work on building some depth. The kids and the coaches have worked very hard to get ready for […]

Red Arrows present formidable challenge to Rockford

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY Last year produced a less-than-desirable result for the Rockford football team when they ventured to Lowell and were thoroughly dominated by the Red Arrows en route to a 28-7 loss. This time around the venue changes to Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium in Rockford with the opening kickoff slated for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 23. The teams hadn’t met in decades prior to last year’s contest, but both have since developed into perennial powers in different classes in the state of Michigan in the interim. Lowell advanced all the way to the Division II Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) finals before falling to Birmingham Brother Rice. The Rams were able to push the reset button on their season and didn’t drop another game until falling in the MHSAA Division I semifinals to Detroit Catholic Central (23-20 in overtime). On paper it appears that both squads will enter the fray with similar amounts of returning starters offensively and defensively. Rockford returns six starters defensively and two offensively. The Red Arrows return six starters defensively and one offensively. Rockford coach Ralph Munger had the opportunity not only to view highlights of last year’s game but the preseason scrimmage Lowell partook in last week. He came away very impressed and realizes that the Rams will have their hands full. “Lowell will be a factor when the playoffs roll around,” said Munger. “They just reload every year no matter who they graduate. Their new quarterback looks like he can throw the football pretty well and they really get after it on defense. It will be the same type of team Lowell puts on the field every year.” Rockford made multiple mistakes last year versus the Red Arrows and Lowell was able to take advantage of nearly every miscue in jumping out to a huge first-half lead. Rockford had a pair of touchdowns called back, several penalties on special teams and more than a few dropped passes, bad snaps and fumbles. Despite that, Munger says there will be no changes in preparing for the opener. “The game plan was solid; we just didn’t execute,” said Munger. “We got outcoached and the kids got outplayed. We let their rush get to us defensively and they outfoxed us […]

Darby, Zenner prepared to lead teammates on gridiron

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY As the dawn of a new football season sits on the doorstep, the Rockford varsity football team anxiously awaits the opportunity to step forward and make their mark in this 100th anniversary of the program’s inception. The extra work in the weight room, camps, conditioning, grueling two-a-day practices and preseason scrimmage are done. The team has chosen their captains and all the hope and promise of the opening kickoff will be reality on Thursday, Aug. 23 at Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m., when Rockford welcomes Lowell. Connor Darby (running back/safety) and KC Zenner (safety) are both returning for their senior seasons for the Rams. They will both be three-year starters and are two of the hardest workers on the team. And they were the two choices for captains by their teammates. Both are also fully cognizant of the task that lies ahead of them. “Our goal is to take things on a week-to-week basis this year,” said Darby. “We need to get better every week because there are no easy games on our schedule. We will get everybody’s best shot and we have to be prepared for that eventuality.” For his part, Zenner maintains that there is no single game that the Rams are looking forward to above and beyond the other eight on the schedule. “You really can’t afford to place an added importance on any single game,” said Zenner. “We need to take it one game at a time and prepare for that contest. When you get caught looking ahead is when you can slip up. That is one of our biggest points of emphasis as captains.” Though they said all of the things you would expect captains to say, it was easy to ascertain between the lines that the Rams are definitely looking forward to the opener on Thursday for more reasons than just the game being the start of the season. Lowell won the renewal of a rivalry between two of Michigan’s traditional powers by a convincing 28-7 margin last year at Lowell. “We got off to a very slow start last year,” said Darby. “We made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes and got outplayed. We need to come out focused and execute our game plan […]

Munger enters year number 33 with veteran staff

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY Ralph Munger has never been one to easily accept credit for the incredible amount of success he has achieved over his previous 32 seasons as a high school head football coach. He is an astounding 271-82 over that time span (including 184-52 at Rockford in 20 highly productive campaigns). Let him know what a great game or game plan the Rams played or employed and it is always “the kids or my assistants” who deserve the accolades. So in deference to Munger, here are the assistants who comprise the 2012 Rockford coaching staff. Some of them are grizzled veterans, some have been here for a bit and there is even a relative newcomer. But to Munger, they are the backbone of many of the accomplishments he has been lauded for and highly deserving of whatever recognition they receive. One of the oddities that Rockford has employed over the Munger years is the relative dearth of assistant offensive coaches, and this year is no exception. The lone assistant with assigned offensive responsibilities is David Lee. Lee is in his 13th season and is in charge of coaching the running backs. Steve Dengler is in his 18th season as an assistant and is the special teams coordinator. The special teams for Rockford have been superior annually and Dengler is the main architect of their success. He also enjoys the rare distinction of having played for Munger. The defensive side of the ball is where the Rams are loaded with a bevy of assistants with a multitude of experience. Randy VanderVeen is entering year number 16 and is the Rams’ defensive coordinator. Bob Hieshetter has returned to the sidelines after a short hiatus and is in his 12th season while coaching the inside linebackers. Rick Wilburn is in year number eight as the outside linebacker coach. Brent Cummings will be in his fifth year as the mentor of the defensive backs, and Bob Rogers is in his fourth season and will coach the defensive line. Add it all together and that is 45 years of coaching experience on the defensive side of the ball alone for Rockford. Keep in mind also that those 45 years comprises only the years these coaches have manned the sidelines […]

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