Randy Gregory

Rockford dominates Holt en route to 22-0 victory

September 6, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY After struggling to mount much of anything offensively in a 16-6 loss to Lowell last week, Rockford cruised to a 22-0 victory in a game played Thursday, Aug. 30 at Holt High School. Not only did Rockford never punt during the contest, the Ram defense allowed Holt only 101 yards of total offense on the night. The deepest penetration of the night for Holt was to the Rockford 46. “Last week was like falling off of a cliff,” said Rockford coach Ralph Munger. “Now it seems like we are back on a donkey and headed up the mountain. This type of performance just reinvigorates the team and lets us see we are moving in the right direction. We were able to get another week of practice and another week of confidence with the quarterback situation. We aren’t as big this year up front as we usually are, so we are still in the infant stages of figuring out what we are as a team. But this was a nice start.” After facing a constant barrage of defensive pressure in his first start at quarterback against Lowell last week, Austin McKellar provided a huge spark this time around with a poised performance that led Rockford up the field consistently with a series of keepers. McKellar said it was all about the efforts of everyone and not just himself that enabled the team to perform at such a high level following last week’s loss. He was also laudatory in thanking Kyle Short for his advice and encouragement. “The offensive line and the defense came out and played a great game tonight,” said McKellar. “A lot of people really stepped it up tonight and I was just the one who benefited. As for Kyle, he is a great player and has been a huge help while I have filled in for him at quarterback. Hopefully he will be back next week and I can go back to doing what I was planning on doing coming into the year at wide receiver and as a kick returner. Coach Munger put in a great game plan that looked like I was going to carry the ball quite a bit tonight. I was just glad to be able […]

Holt up next for Rockford in rebound contest

August 30, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY After coming up a 16-6 loser in their opening contest against Lowell last week, the Rockford football team looks to right the ship this week. The Rams will journey to Holt on Thursday, August 30 to face off against the Rams of Holt in a 7:00 p.m. contest. Holt began the season by outlasting another OK Red foe as they squeaked by Hudsonville 24-21 in a contest played at Hudsonville. The teams met for the first time in 2006 but have made up for lost time by meeting five other times since that first meeting. Rockford holds a four-games-to-two edge in the series, but the games have been very competitive nearly every time. Last year Rockford thumped Holt 42-7 at Rockford. Probably the most noteworthy win for Holt was in 2009 when, after losing to Rockford 34-10 early in the regular season, Holt rallied for a 27-13 win in the Division I regional at Rockford to stun an undefeated Rockford squad. Rockford has won convincingly a few times in the series, but posted a comeback 27-24 triumph of their own against Holt in 2010. Junior running back Ty Glover ran for over 1,300 yards as a sophomore and leads an impressive Holt offense. Holt returns 13 starters (five offense, eight defense) total for a team that won a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue title last year. They also bring in a junior class that went a perfect 9-0 last year. Holt is coached by Al Slamer, who is in his fifth season as the head coach and features a career record of 156-87 including a 21-year stint as the head coach at Battle Creek Central. “That number 20 [Glover] is extremely physical and quick at running back for Holt,” said Munger. “They had a bit of a struggle throwing the ball last year, but they have a quarterback who can really wing it this year. They are a big, physical team and we are expecting a real battle again this year.” On the injury front for Rockford, it is a week-to-week proposition. Rockford is hopeful that several of the walking wounded will return, but it is “wait and see,” according to Munger. “We have a few kids going in […]

Hots and Brats a huge success to conclude preparations for opener

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY The final event to signal the start of another football season took place at Rockford High School on Friday, Aug. 17. The annual “Hots and Brats Night” was an overwhelming success by any definition. A beautiful evening and a great turnout by Ram faithful from all over western Michigan put a cap on all the hoopla leading up to the opener. “Wow is all I can say,” said Rockford Coach Ralph Munger. “The weather couldn’t have been any nicer and the number of people who turned out was fantastic. I can’t even begin to thank all of our sponsors and everyone who contributed both time and food to this event. What a special community we live in.” The Rams also took part in a four-team scrimmage at Byron Center High School on Wednesday, Aug. 15, in their first opportunity to hit someone other than their schoolmates. The results were somewhat mixed, but the Rams limped into the scrimmage with a plethora of injuries that somewhat limited them in what they wanted to accomplish. The day began with a dead battery on one of the buses, but everyone eventually made it to the south side of Grand Rapids for the football action. “We think we will get a lot of the kids back who were out with injuries for this week’s game,” said Munger. “But we will just have to wait and see. It was a very valuable experience for the team, primarily because we got to see the wing-t offense from Byron Center, the split-back veer from Portage Central and the spread from Charlotte. That is very helpful from a defensive standpoint to see multiple offenses.” The Rams looked impressive at times and struggled at times. But the net result was something that Munger feels will be invaluable when the regular season starts. “We have got so much work to do from a technique standpoint,” said Munger. “We need to do our one-eleventh on the field and not try to do too much. But that will come with experience and game action. The number of walking wounded had the benefit of allowing us to work on building some depth. The kids and the coaches have worked very hard to get ready for […]

Red Arrows present formidable challenge to Rockford

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY Last year produced a less-than-desirable result for the Rockford football team when they ventured to Lowell and were thoroughly dominated by the Red Arrows en route to a 28-7 loss. This time around the venue changes to Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium in Rockford with the opening kickoff slated for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 23. The teams hadn’t met in decades prior to last year’s contest, but both have since developed into perennial powers in different classes in the state of Michigan in the interim. Lowell advanced all the way to the Division II Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) finals before falling to Birmingham Brother Rice. The Rams were able to push the reset button on their season and didn’t drop another game until falling in the MHSAA Division I semifinals to Detroit Catholic Central (23-20 in overtime). On paper it appears that both squads will enter the fray with similar amounts of returning starters offensively and defensively. Rockford returns six starters defensively and two offensively. The Red Arrows return six starters defensively and one offensively. Rockford coach Ralph Munger had the opportunity not only to view highlights of last year’s game but the preseason scrimmage Lowell partook in last week. He came away very impressed and realizes that the Rams will have their hands full. “Lowell will be a factor when the playoffs roll around,” said Munger. “They just reload every year no matter who they graduate. Their new quarterback looks like he can throw the football pretty well and they really get after it on defense. It will be the same type of team Lowell puts on the field every year.” Rockford made multiple mistakes last year versus the Red Arrows and Lowell was able to take advantage of nearly every miscue in jumping out to a huge first-half lead. Rockford had a pair of touchdowns called back, several penalties on special teams and more than a few dropped passes, bad snaps and fumbles. Despite that, Munger says there will be no changes in preparing for the opener. “The game plan was solid; we just didn’t execute,” said Munger. “We got outcoached and the kids got outplayed. We let their rush get to us defensively and they outfoxed us […]

Darby, Zenner prepared to lead teammates on gridiron

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY As the dawn of a new football season sits on the doorstep, the Rockford varsity football team anxiously awaits the opportunity to step forward and make their mark in this 100th anniversary of the program’s inception. The extra work in the weight room, camps, conditioning, grueling two-a-day practices and preseason scrimmage are done. The team has chosen their captains and all the hope and promise of the opening kickoff will be reality on Thursday, Aug. 23 at Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m., when Rockford welcomes Lowell. Connor Darby (running back/safety) and KC Zenner (safety) are both returning for their senior seasons for the Rams. They will both be three-year starters and are two of the hardest workers on the team. And they were the two choices for captains by their teammates. Both are also fully cognizant of the task that lies ahead of them. “Our goal is to take things on a week-to-week basis this year,” said Darby. “We need to get better every week because there are no easy games on our schedule. We will get everybody’s best shot and we have to be prepared for that eventuality.” For his part, Zenner maintains that there is no single game that the Rams are looking forward to above and beyond the other eight on the schedule. “You really can’t afford to place an added importance on any single game,” said Zenner. “We need to take it one game at a time and prepare for that contest. When you get caught looking ahead is when you can slip up. That is one of our biggest points of emphasis as captains.” Though they said all of the things you would expect captains to say, it was easy to ascertain between the lines that the Rams are definitely looking forward to the opener on Thursday for more reasons than just the game being the start of the season. Lowell won the renewal of a rivalry between two of Michigan’s traditional powers by a convincing 28-7 margin last year at Lowell. “We got off to a very slow start last year,” said Darby. “We made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes and got outplayed. We need to come out focused and execute our game plan […]

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