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 […]
The fairest Fourth of July in recent memory had many soaking up the sun and sipping on cold beverages… Wait! Hold on to those cans! A Rockford Ram football player near you wants to take it off your hands. The Rams football team will be holding two pop can drives: July 30 and September 24, from 10:30 until noon. Head Ram Can Man, Ralph Munger, expects good effort from his players on and off the field. Players will be doing their part to raise money for their program by scouring neighborhoods, collecting cans and trying to top last year’s total. As an important member of the team, the Rockford community traditionally does its part to make this endeavor a success. Ways to help this year include: • Contact a Ram football player near you or text your address before date of drive to (616) 799-4904 for pick up. A confirmation text will be sent before pick up. • Ric’s Food Center is also joining the effort this year and is providing a drop-off container near the bottle return July 18-30. • Swing by the Rockford D&W on the day of the drive and bring your cans or jump in and lend a hand sorting.
The Rams defended their home turf Friday night, Nov. 12, against the Panthers of West Ottawa to earn a district championship with the score of 35-13. Coach Ralph Munger was glad to get the win—he sent the Practice Players of the Week with the big time bakery truck. The offensive Practice Player of the Week is Kevin Schremp (left). “Kevin works extremely hard and always does a good job in preparation,” said Coach Schwander. The defensive practice player of the week is Justin Wustman (right). “Justin jumps in and helps out. His intensity has risen each week,” said Coach Dengler.
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 […]
Rockford comes from behind in Battle of the Rams by TIM COOPER On Thursday, September 2, the Rockford Rams made the one-hour trip down I-96 to play the Holt Rams. Rockford would fall behind early to one of the better teams in the Lansing area, trailing 14-0 before the first quarter ended. Rockford’s defense would be tested all night as their offense would struggle to come from behind. “I wasn’t really in the best of moods when that happened, but it was early,” said coach Ralph Munger. “We had a lot of time left on the clock. The bottom line is, you have to keep slugging it out. You have to get back into the game.” With 5:18 remaining in the first quarter, Rockford’s offense began to rise to the task. Using a potent ground attack, Rockford completed a 53 yard drive on the first play of the second quarter when Zach Schmuck dove into the end zone for Rockford’s first points of the night. Rockford held Holt to three points in the second quarter, giving Holt a 17-7 lead, after a 37 yard field goal from Holt’s Evan Fischer. Using a smash mouth style of football, Coach Munger’s Rams again cut into the Holt lead when Connor Darby crashed through the line for six yards and a touchdown with 32 seconds remaining in the half, bringing Rockford within three. A Holt fumble with time running out gave Rockford’s Steve Mette the chance to complete the comeback. Mette’s kick was good, barely crossing the uprights after being tipped by Holt’s defensive line. With the score tied at 17, Holt again pulled ahead with their opening drive when Curtis Nick crossed into the end zone for his third touchdown of the night early in the second half. After trading possessions with Holt, the big Rockford line smashed their way down field, allowing Mette to tie the score after a Nate Sanders touchdown with 2:20 left in the third quarter. Rockford’s defense then created three turnovers, allowing the offense to wear Holt’s defense down. The final turnover came with 1:07 remaining in the game, when Shain Showers picked off a pass from backup quarterback Jake Bozzo. Six plays later, Munger’s Rams found themselves at the Holt 2 yard […]