Sixth-grader Jake Engelkes of Belmont has been chosen as one of 12 baseball players in the state to represent Michigan 11U in the USSSA Jr. All-State Championship Tournament to be held in Fishers, Indiana August 9-12. Engelkes plays travel baseball for Elite, and will attend East Rockford Middle School this fall. He is only one of six players chosen from the west side of the state, with the other players coming from Detroit. Engelkes started his baseball career in Rockford Little League, but has played travel ball for the past two years. “It is an honor to play with the best players across the state,” said Engelkes. “I will try to represent Michigan, and Rockford, well.” Jake is the son of Ross and Barb Engelkes and sister to Lauren, a sophomore at Rockford High School.
August 9 2012
by RANDY GREGORY Another season of baseball for the two teams comprised entirely of baseball players from Rockford drew to a close recently. Team Ram Black was basically a 16-and-under team filled with players expected to play at the varsity level for the Rams. Team Ram Orange was a 15-and-under team that featured players who will man the freshman and JV squads next year. Team Ram Black ended up with an overall mark of 15 wins and six losses while playing an ambitious schedule that included top 18-and-under travel teams from around the state. They also played games at several beautiful venues that included the baseball stadiums at Central Michigan University, Western Michigan University and Grand Valley State University. The team was coached by varsity assistant Steve Fusee with help from regular head coach Ian Hearn. Fusee handled logistics, scheduling and a lot of the game-time decisions, while Hearn cheerfully stepped aside over the course of the highly successful summer season. “It was another good summer for Rockford baseball,” said Hearn. “It was nice to see the players develop, settle in and get used to competing against some outstanding teams. It was also a treat for them and the coaching staff to have had the opportunity to play at several beautiful college ballparks.” Team Ram Orange was coached by freshman coach Lance Boehm. Junior varsity coach Steve Dengler also moved over to assist while letting Boehm take the reins. Sean O’Rourke offered his expertise while manning the fort for one tourney. The results weren’t quite as glowing for Team Ram Orange from a win-loss perspective, but it was a valuable learning tool for the younger Rams. “We strongly feel a lot of the success we have achieved over the last several years can be attributed to our summer teams,” said Hearn. “We may even have to consider adding a third team soon because of the overwhelming numbers we had show up for some of our games. But that is something we will talk about next year.” The sport of baseball has made tremendous inroads at Rockford High School over the last several seasons, and several Ram players will continue on playing into the fall. Hearn would like to see his players participate in different sports […]
by RANDY GREGORY It is clearly open for debate as to whether or not this is actually year number 100 for Rockford Ram football. There is a pair of years when football wasn’t contested due to various circumstances. But 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the inaugural season for what has truly become a community-wide celebration. Fall is ever so faintly in the air following a scorching and arid summer, and several harbingers of the gridiron time of year have started or are about to begin. Rockford kicked off two-a-day practices this Monday, and Coach Ralph Munger and his veteran and wily coaching staff welcome yet another strong contingent to the football field. The Rams’ varsity roster numbers 41 seniors, 30 juniors and a pair of sophomores. There are also well over 50 players on both the junior varsity and freshman teams to go along with the normal horde of 78ers at the two middle schools. There are several other events on the immediate horizon that true aficionados of Rockford football will want to take note of. First on the docket is picture day, which will be held at the high school next Tuesday, August 14 at noon. That will be followed by the preseason scrimmage at 10 a.m. the next day (Wed.) at Byron Center High School. The other teams taking part include Byron Center, Portage Central and Charlotte. The JV and frosh squads will have their preseason scrimmage the succeeding day (Thur.) at 10 a.m. at Rockford against the same trio of squads. And last, but certainly not least, is the highly anticipated “Hots and Brats Night” on Friday, August 17. On that occasion family pictures are slated for 4:45 p.m., a team practice session takes place at 5:30, and the cookout itself is scheduled to commence at 6:30. Rockford fans and members of the community are strongly encouraged to attend all of these events and show their support for these hardworking players and coaches. All of this is merely a series of warm-ups for the actual start of the 2012 campaign. For the second straight year it will feature the Rams against the Red Arrows of Lowell, but this time the venue will be Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium and Rockford will […]
by RANDY GREGORY With the start of the varsity football season less than three weeks away, the Michigan High School Athletic Association announced there will be several rule changes that will take effect at the onset of the season. The changes range from relatively minor uniform specifications to several potentially game-deciding modifications. The changes are stated as follows: • On passing plays, a receiver must first contact and establish control of the ball while inbounds, regardless of the opponent’s action. In other words, a catch cannot be ruled on plays where the receiver may have come down in bounds if not for the action of the defender. • If a player’s helmet comes off during a play, and did not occur as a result of a foul by the opponent, that player must leave the game for one play, unless it happens on the final play of a half or an overtime. • Hand contact by a blocker below the waist of a defender is now considered blocking below the waist. • The kicking team may not contact a member of receiving team on a kickoff until the ball has traveled 10 yards, or unless a member of the receiving team initiates the contact. • Jerseys of the visiting team must be white in color, and home jerseys are restricted in the use of white for varsity competition. This was a rule change made in 2007 for implementation this season. The pass possession rule now mirrors that of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Only one foot is necessary to remain inbounds while maintaining possession, but the referee’s judgment is now rendered moot as to whether or not the receiver would have come down inbounds. The new blocking rules will modify any contact initiated by the offense below the waist. And the kickoff rules will make a drastic change in the amount of contact on onside kickoffs. The change related to a helmet coming off that necessitates a player’s removal from the game for at least one play is also a situation that could alter a team’s offensive or defensive play calling for a possible drive. All the rules, save for the uniform specification and pass possession changes, are being imposed with player safety as their […]
by DAN ZANG Principal, Rockford High School “Our enemies have made the mistake that America’s enemies always make. They saw liberty and thought they saw weakness,” President George W. Bush. Very shortly we will start a new academic year at Rockford High School (RHS). It is very exciting to see not only our students come back to campus but to also welcome countless parents, guests and visitors. We are very proud of our longstanding tradition of excellence at Rockford Public Schools and our facility here at RHS. All who visit will soon see a patriotic display in remembrance of the September 11 attack on the United States. We were looking to redesign our front main office foyer at the high school and wanted it to be a theme that symbolized the spirit and resolve of our great country. As building principal at RHS, I have been involved and played witness to great events here at our school. Our staff and students are involved in many great causes here in Rockford, Kent County, and beyond. One such project our students were involved in last year was the West Michigan Healing Fields located at Cannonsburg Ski Area. Our students assisted in carrying and setting some of the 3,200 flags representing the lives lost on that somber day. Although many of our students were too young to recall exact memories of the attack, they were certainly aware of the impact on our country. All of our students were proud to have served in the Healing Fields project. Many flags from the Healing Fields project will be proudly displayed at RHS. Four flags will be incorporated into our design in the front foyer. These flags were ceremonially folded by members of the U.S. Marine Corps and placed in flag displays. The flags are in loving memory of four New York residents whose lives were lost on Sept. 11, 2001: Jason DeFazio, 29, Ivan Perez, 37, Michael Weinberg, 34, and William Wik, 44. Other facts and points of pride regarding our display include: • RHS Art students, under the direction of RHS Art Instructor Barb Kent, created the vision and shared in the design of the project. • Hands spell out COURAGE in American Sign Language to represent how our […]