Six players sign letters of intent for college Six Rockford Rams football players were among athletes who signed letters of intent with the college or university of their choice at Celebration Cinema Wednesday, Jan. 31. The National Letter of Intent Day is the traditional day for athletes to make the commitment to continue their athletic career after their high school days are complete. For Rockford, kicker Steve Mette will play for Hillsdale College along with quarterback Mark LaPrairie. Ben Braden, Rockford’s six-foot, seven-inch and 320-pound offensive tackle, will be Rockford Coach Ralph Munger’s first Big Ten recruit, as he signed to play at the University of Michigan. Linebacker Anthony DeDamos and tight end Aaron Weston both head to Wayne State University. Linebacker Matt Boonstra will continue his athletic and academic career at Northern Michigan University. Coach Munger was understandably proud of all the Rockford players and praised the talent they have contributed to the Rams team.
Rockford defense shines as offense explodes by TIM COOPER and MATT WEAVER According to Head Coach Ralph Munger, when the Rams have a good week in practice, things go well in the game. The Rams had a good week in practice last week. Rockford took little time asserting their dominance over Grand Ledge in the district final on Friday, Nov. 4. Prior to Friday night’s contest, no team had scored more than 17 points against the Comets. Rockford put up 21 in the first quarter. Ram quarterback Mark LaPrairie had a hand in two of the three touchdowns, the first a 19-yard bootleg around the right end to put the Rams up 7-0 just 1:39 into the game. His second touchdown came with 33 seconds remaining in the quarter, when he found tight end Aaron Weston wide open in the Comets’ secondary. Sandwiched between the two LaPrairie touchdowns was a 3-yard drive by Brady Gent. The Ram defense did their part by limiting Grand Ledge to one first down in the first half, while preventing the Comets from crossing the 50-yard line. This allowed the offense to work with a short field for the majority of the half. LaPrairie added two more touchdowns in the second quarter, both of them through the air, as LaPrairie connected twice with Justin Wustman, once for 52 yards and again for 54 yards. Wustman showed great focus on the second reception, making a circus-catch off of a Grand Ledge defender’s helmet before turning around to carry the ball into the end zone. The second half started with the Rams up by 35. Under MHSAA rule, when one team leads by 35 or more in the second half, the clock only stops for scoring plays, timeouts, penalties or an injury. On incomplete passes or plays where the ball is taken out of bounds, the clock doesn’t stop like it normally does. Since Rockford maintained that gap for the majority of the second half, the running clock aided in speeding the game to an early finish. LaPrairie’s fifth touchdown on the night came on an 11-yard pass to Connor Darby. The Rams’ quarterback went 8-11 on the night, with 220 yards, and four passing touchdowns to go with his one rushing […]
Defense shines in first half by TIM COOPER and MATT WEAVER Ryan Hartley darts around the end of the offensive line. Hartley scored two touchdowns Friday night. Photo by JIM COOPER An undefeated West Ottawa Panthers football team paid a visit to the Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium on Friday, Sept. 16, to face the Rams in a highly anticipated matchup between the two OK Red teams. A balanced offensive attack, led by Trevor VanTubbergan, effectively moved the ball down field on the Panthers’ opening drive. However, a Rockford interception by Shane Showers at the 10-yard line put an end to the series. Three plays later, West Ottawa was back in control of the ball on the Rams’ 8-yard line following a Rockford fumble. The Panthers were forced to kick a 26-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead. Rockford’s first score of the night was set up when KC Zenner raced 62 yards on the following kick return. A 50-yard field goal by Steve Mette tied the score when the Rams’ drive was stalled on the West Ottawa 33-yard line. The stout Rockford defense prevented West Ottawa from scoring again for the remainder of the first half. Late in the first half, the Rams’ offense found its footing as well, when Mark LaPrairie hit Brandon Lubenow on fourth down. Lubenow split the Panthers’ defense for 41 yards and a touchdown with just five seconds remaining in the half. Quarterback Mark LaPrairie is lifted up by his teammates before the game. During the game, it was LaPrairie who helped to lift his team to victory. Photo by JIM COOPER “We could have buried ourselves in the first half,” said Coach Ralph Munger. “Maybe it was a bad game plan on my part, but that touchdown was huge.” The Rams opened the second half with a 10-3 lead and the ball. An 85-yard drive was capped by Ryan Hartley’s 2-yard plunge into the end zone. After the Rams’ defense forced West Ottawa to go three-and-out, Hartley scored his second touchdown on a 10-yard run, giving Rockford a 24-3 lead. Rockford’s next score came only eight plays later when Mette hit a 52-yard field goal. “I feel very comfortable with Steve from the 33-yard line in,” Munger said […]
Congratulations to the Rockford Rams football team on receiving second place in the Academic All State Division I standings. The top four teams in each division recently received plaques honoring their achievements. The top four finishers for Division I were Holland West Ottawa with a 3.976 grade-point average, Rockford with a 3.924, Saline with a 3.915, and Grand Haven with a 3.89.
Sixth win puts Rockford in playoffs for 17th straight season When East Kentwood’s Braden Miller streaked past the Ram kickoff team to start the game, it appeared Rockford may have been coming out flat after their big win over Muskegon the week before. A minute and a half later, Ram running back Zach Schmuck raced past the Falcon defense for a 71 yard touchdown run, and all looked well again. On Rockford’s second possession, Schmuck again broke through the Kentwood defense, this time from nine yards. The following two point conversion made the score 15-7, not even five minutes into the game. After his first three carries, Schmuck had 106 yards. He went on to finish the night with 145 yards, with seven attempts. Following another Rockford touchdown, the Falcons seemed to have a breath of life in them. Trailing 22-7, they marched 70 yards to the Ram 25 yard line, when linebacker Colin Remtema knocked the wind out of the Kentwood offense by returning and interception 85 yards for a touchdown that put the Rams ahead 29-7. Rockford would score again before the end of the half as backup quarterback Kyle Short threw a 76 yard touchdown pass to Neil VanderLaan, extending the lead to 29 points. The Rams defeated the Falcons 53-7 after second half touchdowns from Solomon Gant and Trevor Alferink, and a 3rd quarter field goal from Steve Mette. Rockford’s defense, forced to play with all-state linebacker Brett Egnatuk on the sidelines, put together their best effort of the year. East Kentwood was held to just 125 yards offensively. It was the first time since 1999 the Ram defense shut out the Falcon offense. Every Ram in uniform saw the playing field. Following the game, Coach Ralph Munger said, “It was nice to play so many kids tonight. The reserves practice just as hard as the starters every day. Getting into a game helps to motivate them in practice.” “We were missing thirteen kids from practice on Tuesday because of illness. With that, and the big win over Muskegon, I was concerned about a letdown, but that’s our sixth win. We’re in the playoffs.” Rockford returns to Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium this Friday, where they will celebrate Homecoming. The Rams will renew […]