by RANDY GREGORY Having faced off with the top two teams in the state in Division 2 (Lowell and Muskegon) over the first three weeks of the regular season, Rockford got a relative breather on Friday, September 14th at Jenison. Save for three lost fumbles, the Rams scored early and often, en route to an overwhelming 52-18 triumph over the Wildcats that moved their record to 2-2 through the non-league portion of the schedule. “I thought it was a case of two teams just banging away at each other,” said Rockford coach Ralph Munger. “It is always nice to be able to reward a lot of kids with some playing time for all of the hard work they do on a daily basis in practice. Our second and third-teamers were instrumental tonight. Not only did they get to play, they played very well, which was very gratifying for us as coaches. But those fumbles have got to stop. I am not happy and never will be happy with not taking care of the ball. We have some backs who will understand over the course of the coming week just how important it is to value the football.” Rockford managed to amass double digit points in all four quarters behind a relentless ground attack. The lead stood at 24-0 Rockford at the half as the Rams dominated every facet of the game over the opening 24 minutes. Casey Watters hit a 27-yard field goal to open the scoring and Austin McKellar added a four-yard burst to make it 10-0 after the first quarter. Sam Reinke and Scott Kaule added TD runs of one and 14 yards respectively to make it 24-0 Rockford at the half. Both Reinke and Kaule topped 100 yards on the ground to lead the Rams. Watters hit all three first half extra points for Rockford to round out the scoring. The Wildcats scored touchdowns the first two times they had the ball in the second half to cut the lead to 24-12 and give hope to the home partisans for an ever so brief time. Unfortunately for Jenison, all the scores did was wake up a Ram offense that had gone dormant coming out of the locker room. On their next three […]
by RANDY GREGORY Having finished off the out of conference portion of their schedule with a 2-2 slate, the Rockford football team looks to defend their OK Red title from last season by journeying to East Kentwood on Friday, September 21st at 7:00 P.M. These two rivals have been squaring off since 1970 and both teams have dominated over different time frames in that span of 43 years. The Falcons won 14 of the first fifteen meetings between the schools. The middle years saw a slight East Kentwood edge and the Rams have won the last nine meetings. The all time record between the Rams and Falcons stands at 22 wins for Rockford and 22 wins for East Kentwood. East Kentwood stands at 2-2 so far this season. The offense hasn’t been an issue in the two wins (40-30 over Grand Ledge and 49-14 over Muskegon Reeths-Puffer) but the defense has in the losses (23-12 to East Grand Rapids and 45-14 to Forest Hills Central). “They are a very quick team offensively,” said Rockford coach Ralph Munger. “They look to use their speed and get outside your contain men. We will need all eleven players to do their jobs on every play defensively. Every game in the OK Red is a challenge and this one will not be an exception.” On the injury front, the Rams still have their share of concerns four games into the season. A quick glance on the sidelines showed at least seven Rams still not in uniform during Friday’s contest at Jenison. Starting quarterback Kyle Short was back in a walking boot after a brief appearance against Muskegon. Dalton Lyons was still out for the Jenison contest and Ethan Lussky has yet to see his first action of the year for a team that has been riddled with an epidemic of injuries all season long. But Munger is hopeful things are taking a turn for the better on that front for the Rams. “Kyle (Short) is still week to week,’ said Munger. “He could be back or he may not make it back yet this week. We are hopeful of getting (Ethan) Lussky on the field for the first time and KC (Zenner) was moving around a bit better this […]
by RANDY GREGORY Rockford and Muskegon met on Friday, Sept. 7 at Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium in Rockford in an annual gridiron battle that has produced more than its share of thrilling contests. The game began in a deluge that featured torrential rain and blustery wind over the entirety of the first half. It concluded in more than favorable conditions in the second half as the rain ceased and the wind diminished to a large extent. When it was over, it was the Big Reds’ turn to celebrate as they topped Rockford 21-9 in a non-league contest. The Rams now stand at 1-2 on the young season and will conclude the out-of-conference portion of their schedule with a trip to Jenison on Friday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. The game began with the return of starting Rockford quarterback Kyle Short and senior captain and safety KC Zenner. Both had missed the first two contests of the year and their return was timely with the unbeaten Big Reds up next on the docket. But Short battled difficult weather conditions and an injured ankle in the opening half before departing just before the halftime horn due to that injury. Zenner toughed his way through most of the game but was also clearly hobbled in his return from a knee injury. “Kyle really tried to talk his way back into the game,” said Rockford coach Ralph Munger. “But we have to think of the rest of the season and he was clearly limping out there in the second quarter tonight. He is a tough kid and you really have to feel sorry for him with this popping up in his senior season. Kyle brings a certain skill set to the table and we tried to play to that, but he just wasn’t able to do the things we wanted to do due to his being hurt. He took a step back with the injury and now we just have to find ways to do things consistently with who we have available until he can return.” Muskegon received the opening kickoff and took only three plays to score on a 49-yard counter to the left side that came with 10:21 to play in the opening quarter. The point after […]
by RANDY GREGORY There was a time in the not too distant past when a Rockford versus Jenison battle on the football field would be an absolute knockdown, drag-out battle. The Rams and Wildcats would trade blow for blow in what would normally be a low scoring and physical battle with OK Red title hopes riding on the outcome. But those days have fallen by the wayside over the last decade. Jenison’s only win against Rockford over the last 11 years was in 2005. Last year’s contest was a 35-0 Rockford win that featured a running clock for the duration of the second half. This once proud program has fallen on tough times recently as evidenced by winning a grand total of 11 games over the last six years. The Wildcats have further suffered the added indignity of having insufficient numbers to even field a junior varsity team this year. There seemed to be a glimmer of hope this season when the Wildcats topped neighborhood rival Grandville in this year’s opener. But the use of an ineligible player necessitated the forfeiture of that contest and Jenison stands at 0-3 so far in this campaign. They followed up the Grandville forfeit with losses to Grand Rapids Northview and Muskegon Reeths Puffer. The Wildcats did bring in a new coach two years ago with the hiring of former Grandville coach Irv Sigler. The number of players in the program have increased over the last few years, but the results will take a while to show up in the win/loss column. Another thing that has changed this year for Jenison is their conference affiliation. The long-time Ottawa Kent Red Conference member has now been shifted to the OK Black along with Muskegon. “I really don’t know a whole lot about Jenison right now,” stated Rockford coach Ralph Munger on Friday after the Muskegon game. “But we will watch some film and be ready to go this Friday. I’m not sure what our injury situation will be, but we will play with whatever hand we are dealt.” Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14 at Jenison.
by RANDY GREGORY Rockford has enjoyed a nearly 20-year run of previously unparalleled success across the board in their athletic department. The Rams have numerous state titles and top five finishes in sports as varied as gymnastics to football, crew to basketball, and swimming to baseball. Toss in the cross country, track, water polo, wrestling, volleyball and baseball crowns and it isn’t hard to see why the athletic program is the envy of many schools around the state. Great coaches and great athletes have dotted the landscape over this golden era. Add in facilities that were state-of-the-art at the high school level when they were built in 1994, and have remained that way through bond issues passed by a generous locale populace, and it is easy to envision things staying status quo for the foreseeable future. But one part of the program that had fallen more than a bit behind the times is the weight room. When parents, administrators, coaches and student athletes have made forays into other schools that have been constructed more recently it was fairly obvious the Rams were seriously lacking in the facilities and equipment offered at Rockford High School. Please consider that situation rectified. When the last bond issue was passed a few years back and new academic and athletic facilities were constructed or added onto, Rockford Public Schools had a little bit of extra money on hand due to favorable interest rates. The weight room was a situation that administrators knew they needed to address and they made a survey of local facilities. What they came up with is a testament to the school colors, efficiency and a far more gender-friendly atmosphere. “The old weight room looked more like something from the textbook on general strength training for football players,” said Rockford Athletic Director Tim Erickson. “We eliminated the dank sweatshop look and drastically changed the types and amounts of weight machines offered. All of the new equipment is orange and black and multi-functional. We also added windows so the kids could look out into open spaces and to brighten up the atmosphere.” The capabilities of the newly remodeled weight room versus the old weight room are eye-popping. The exercise selection has increased dramatically. It would take days to […]