by BETH ALTENA In the midst of severe weather warnings and following a morning of tornado watches and warnings, a large black oak fell across Kies Street in Cannon Township, nearly missing a vehicle. It fell in the afternoon of Tuesday, October 26. The tree, which the president of the local Izaak Walton League chapter, Georgia Donovan estimated could be 100 years old, was rotted in the core. It narrowly missed the mailbox of the home on the northside of the street, opposite of where the tree had been growing. A driver and resident of the street saw the tree fall and described the narrow miss by the vehicle driving by. “It missed by only a couple of feet,” said the woman, who asked only to be identified as a member of Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church. She parked her vehicle at the intersection of Kies and Bagley and directed drivers away from the stretch of road completely blocked by the tree. Donovan stood to the west of the fallen tree, also warning drivers of the danger. Pete Kruer of Rockford Hardware arrived on the scene with a tractor to assist in the removal of the tree, which took place at about 4:30 p.m. The Kent County Road Commission sent a truck with flashers about the same time Kruer and another man moved the tree out of the roadway. “A neighbor’s son came over a hill and hit a tree once and it wasn’t a good thing,” the good Samaratin noted. She said she was worried high school students, who might be driving too fast on the road, could possibly hit the tree. “All of us OLC people are always out in the community doing things,” she said of her volunteer safety efforts.
October 28 2010
Rockford High School hosted the Michigan Water Polo Association (MWPA) West Region district championships last weekend, and the Rams emerged as West Region East District champs for the seventh straight year. Rockford has not lost a district game since the current postseason format was adopted by the MWPA in 2004. The week began with Jenison visiting Rockford to play for the OK conference championship on Senior Night. Four Ram seniors, Pat Fase, Jared Martella, Jeff Schmitt and exchange student Victor Lima, were honored on this festive night. A highlight of the evening was a stirring a cappella rendition of the national anthem by junior goalie Matt Vermeer. The Wildcats came to town looking for a win and a share of the conference title. “We wanted to come out and play our best,” recalled Schmitt, “because we didn’t want to share the conference title with Jenison. I was especially pumped up knowing this was my last regular season home game.” Schmitt’s energy resulted in two quick goals as Rockford sprinted to a 3-1 first period lead. Jenison closed the gap to 4-3 late in the second period before Schmitt and junior Eric Chisholm each scored in the final minute of the period to give the Rams a 6-3 halftime lead. But the game was too close for comfort, according to Schmitt. “We knew we needed to step it up in the second half, to focus on doing what we do best, and to have fun doing it.” Schmitt’s formula produced the desired results. The Rams exploded for six goals in the third quarter en route to a 14-3 victory and the outright conference championship—their 18th title in a row. Schmitt led all scorers with five goals; sophomore Nick Willison made five steals. The district tournament brought all West Michigan teams to Rockford High School for the weekend. Despite a sluggish start to their first game, the host Rams used their depth and strength to overpower East Grand Rapids 11-1. Junior Alex Savage led a stifling defensive effort, while Chisholm scored four goals. The district finals found the Rams facing rival East Kentwood in a game featuring the two best goalies in Michigan, Rockford senior Pat Fase and Kentwood junior Raheem Brown. Both teams came […]
Rockford shares OK Red football championship with Grand Haven by TIM COOPER The ninth and final week of the regular season found the Rams traveling to Hudsonville to take on the Eagles. Rockford’s offense, led by Brady Gent’s two touchdowns, defeated the Eagles 27-7, earning them a share of the OK Red conference crown. The first of Gent’s touchdowns came with 4:29 remaining in the first quarter, giving the Rams a 7-0 lead. For the remainder of the first half, Rockford’s offense struggled to move the ball. Hudsonville was also aided by numerous Ram penalties. “I thought it was Flag Day, with all the penalties,” Coach Ralph Munger said. Rockford’s second touchdown came in the final seconds of the second half, when quarterback Mark LaPrairie found receiver Neil VanderLaan with a 12-yard pass, a play that Munger called a turning point in the game. “LaPrairie was really on tonight,” commented Munger. “We’ve come a long way as a team with a junior quarterback. We lost two senior running backs to injuries, but we found replacements in a junior and a sophomore.” LaPrairie finished the night 15-of-25, gaining 228 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and one interception. Zach Schmuck scored midway through the third quarter. A missed extra point attempt made the score 20-0. Gent’s second touchdown came via a pass from LaPrairie, extending the lead to 27-7. Hudsonville’s lone touchdown came with 8:27 left in the game when Zac Van Ess plunged through the Rockford line for a 10-yard score. Coach Munger was pleased with the way his team closed out the regular season. “Our guys did certain things well enough to get the job done. We’ve got a lot of weapons, and are feeling pretty good about that.” The Rams are also feeling pretty good about making their 16th straight playoff appearance. The Rams found out on Sunday, Oct. 24, that their first-round playoff opponent will be the Traverse City West Titans, a team that Rockford knocked out of the playoffs in 2008, defeating them 46-26. The game will be held on Friday night, Oct. 29, at home in Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium.
Rockford’s boys cross-country team traveled to Grand Haven Friday afternoon, Oct. 22, for a rematch with their worthy rivals from Grand Haven. Having recently lost the dual meet with Grand Haven earlier in the month, the boys were prepared to run hard to win Friday’s OK Red conference meet, which included eight schools: East Kentwood, Grand Haven, Grandville, Hudsonville, Jenison, Muskegon and Rockford. The scoring for the conference champions is based on the outcome of both the conference meets and the dual meets. With Grand Haven being undefeated in dual meets, only a win at the conference would allow Rockford to share the title. Grand Haven has a strong home course advantage with their steep hills that have the boys exerting extra energy at several critical points during the race. But the Rams’ boys had recent experience with the course and extra determination to bring home the trophy, winning with a score of 32, a full 15 points ahead of Grand Haven’s 47-point second-place position. Grand Haven’s Joe Duff took first place with a state-ranking sub-16 time. Spencer Gerber led the Rams with a second-place score of 16:23. But one of the deciding runners for this race was Steven Ek, who took fourth place, setting a new personal record and coming in ahead of “Little Duff”—Joe’s younger brother Ryan—by five seconds. Other key decision-makers in the race included Drew Woznick in sixth place with 16:40 and Austin Benoit in eighth place with a new personal record time of 16:41—both coming in ahead of Grand Haven’s number three and four positions. Senior Devon Liu (16:48) and sophomores Chris Coles (17:09) and Casey Aman (17:13) rounded off Ram varsity runners. The junior varsity race was once again dominated by the Rams, whereas the unusual depth of the team shows through at virtually every competition. The Rams had 17 runners in the top 30 award-winning positions, making up 57 percent of the JV medalists. The medalists include senior Evan Bruin (17:28 for first place), junior Connor Jewell (17:40 in second), senior Mike Greko (17:44 in third), senior Eric Parsell (17:45 in fifth), sophomore Grant Aman (17:53 in eighth), senior Nate MacQueen (18:00 in ninth), senior Tim Newberger (18:02, 10th), junior Tyler Harney (18:03, 11th), junior Kevin Cowell with […]