by RANDY GREGORY This year’s University of Michigan Football Camp for high school players took place from June 17 to June 22. Rockford Coach Ralph Munger marked his 30th year as an instructor at the camp with this year’s appearance. But what pleased Munger even more was the maiden voyage of Rockford assistant David Lee as a member of the coaching fraternity who instruct thousands of players from around the country at the elite camp. “I was really tickled for Coach [David] Lee,” said Munger. “He is an outstanding young coach and I know this was something he had been looking forward to. He has so much enthusiasm and I know he imparted that and his knowledge of the game to the kids who were fortunate enough to work with him.” Munger spent his time at the camp teaching what he has been widely renowned for over the course of his storied career: the offensive line. While he has worked with other position groups over the years, Munger usually finds his way back to the position he has always been noted for. But the position group is not he most important thing to Munger; it is the experience the campers have. “We place a heavy emphasis on teaching technique to the players,” said Munger. “We want the young men to be better football players when they leave there and have a better understanding of their position. We use the same drills and teaching techniques that the University of Michigan uses with their team. But we also want to do it in an atmosphere that is conducive to being a positive experience for everyone involved.” Included amongst the campers was a healthy contingent of Rockford players. Munger was pleased that 11 Rams took part and hoped that their football acumen had improved as much as their enthusiasm indicated they enjoyed the camp. “I can’t even begin to remember all 11 of their names, so I won’t mention any of them,” said Munger. “It is always great to see some Rams there, and it is nice as well when other coaches tell me how impressed they were with their attentiveness, technique and love of the game.”
By Drew Kerr And Dave Mitchells Editor’s note: Football fans can now enjoy coverage of our local sports in a whole new way. Former Rockford football players Drew Kerr and Dave Mitchells bring you Friday Night Lights Experience in which they will share their impressions of the venues Rams visit during the football season. Enjoy! Every night and every day we awake to the same consistent message from the media. It’s bad news, whether it’s the economy in turmoil, or the resounding thump of some other bad event, the media, twitter, google or whatever the source seems to bring it to us. With so much bad news it’s hard to remember the good sometimes. But not this time. It’s Friday and with every fall we have one consistent feeling that we all like—football, baby! Are you ready for some football? The weather is changing, the grass is being cut, the fields are lined and the ball is kicked. We are bringing you Friday Night Lights Experience and we are going to help you find the place you need to be each Friday night of the football season. Each and every week this season we’ll be looking out for you and where you need to be to see the Friday Night Lights Experience. We will pick the game of the week, and its not just the teams playing that make the game but the whole experience. We’ll rate the atmosphere of the crowds, the pride of the student body, the menus for the concession stands and oh yeah, the teams playing. And with that, we’ll be able to tell you who has what it takes to make the FNLE. That being said, this week’s pick is the Rockford Rams vs. the Lowell Red Arrows game. These two powerhouses haven’t met in almost four decades and they are going to strap their chinstraps on for a head-to-head battle of bragging rights. There is no other place to be but Lowell and by the way, it’s a Thursday game due to the holiday schedule. So prepare yourself for a year of excitement and experience as we give you the Friday Night Lights Experience!
by BETH ALTENA Six Rockford senior football players put it in writing and have committed to the college of their choice. On Wednesday, February 9 Rockford head Football Coach Ralph Munger invited the public and the media to an honorary signing of letters of intent, delayed one week from the first legal day student athletes can commit to a college or university. The event was cancelled a week prior because of the blizzard. “We have a much nicer day for this than last week,” Munger noted, before introducing Nate Sanders, Tyler Pratt, Neil Vanderlaan, Brett Egnatuk, Colin Remtema and Parker Ehinger to a crowd of family and friends at Rockford High School. “Each of these young men have represented us well,” he stated. “Your parents, staff, community and teammates are proud of you and the team.” Munger spoke about each of the athletes, noting that Parker Ehinger received high praise from coach Butch Jones of Cinncinati, his choice. Jones stated during a sports radio program that he couldn’t wait to get Parker down to Cincinati and that he knows he is getting a quality student-athlete when he accepts a Rockford player. Parker, #78, six-feet, eight inches and 270 pounds, plays offensive lineman and has been one of Rockford’s star players during his high school career. Parker is the son of Ric and Michelle Ehinger At Cincinnati he plans to pursue an education in criminal justice. Colin Remtema, #29, six-feet, one inch at 191 plays offensive linebacker for the team. He was a two-year starter for Rockford who Munger described as a “pillar of our defense.” He said the athlete had an “unbelievable senior year.” Colin committed to playing football for Hillsdale College. Colin is the son of Dave and Diane. He chose Hillsdale because he immediately felt at home on the campus. In addition to continuing his athletic career he hopes to study in the medical field. Tyler Pratt, #45, at six feet, one inch and 220 pounds was also a two-year starter for Rockford and played linebacker. Coach Munger also called him a pillar of the team’s defense. Tyler, along with Neil VanderLaan, committed to Saginaw Valley State University. Pratt’s position was offensive lineman. Tyler is the son of Jim and Janet. He hopes […]
Touted by Rockford Superintendent Michael Shibler as a fundraiser for athletic programs at Rockford Public Schools, fans will enjoy this year’s rival football game against Muskegon at Fifth Third Ballpark. “The state is in a financial crisis, we are looking to raise money for boys and girls athletic programs,” Shibler said of the move, which has stirred some controversy. He said income for Rockford’s athletic programs for middle school through high school could be as high as $45,000 to $50,000 for the evenings game. Fifth Third will split half of all sales for the evening—admission, parking, concessions—to have the game there. Shibler said he approached Fifth Third officials a year and a half ago with the idea and offered to play the Muskegon home game there last year against Rockford, but he said the Rockford rival wasn’t interested. Fans will have to pay more per ticket—$5 per student versus $3 at the Ted and $7 for adults, compared to $5—as well as parking at $5. Despite the Rockford Ted Stadium sporting new artificial turf, Shibler said there are other benefits to giving up an evening’s home game to one at Fifth Third. “A lesser rationale is this is a different and exciting venue, not just for our student athletes, but also for the cheer, the marching band and the fans,” he said. “There have been other high school games there. With the Rockford/Muskegon game having the potential to draw large numbers of fans, this is a good opportunity.” Coach Ralph Munger said he had mixed feelings over the idea. “If you have a chance to play at home, we should play at home. There is nothing like the Ted when it is packed at night and the lights are on. It’s a wonderful environment to play.” He agreed with Shibler, however, that schools need to do what they can in fundraising. “You can’t have athletics driven by the all-mighty dollar, that’s wrong,” he said. “But if you have an opportunity to make it profitable, those dollars will benefit all Rockford athletic programs.” “We don’t have a problem taking it on the road,” Munger stated. “We played at Eastern. We played at Michigan State. We closed the Silverdome. We opened up Ford Field.” He said there […]