Rockford Rams Regional Football Champs

Rams regional football champs

November 18, 2010 // 0 Comments

Highlanders’ late surge gives Rockford scare by TIM COOPER A cool, cloudy day greeted the spectators at the Ted for the regional final football game on Saturday, Nov. 13. For the first three quarters of Rockford’s match-up with the Howell Highlanders, it appeared to be business as usual, with the Rams scoring consistently and their defense keeping the Howell offense at bay. The Rockford offense struck first, driving 80 yards on 11 plays, with Mark LaPrairie throwing three consecutive passes to his primary receiver, Neil VanderLaan. The two combined for 61 yards on the drive, including a 39-yard pass. LaPrairie later found Brandon Lubenow for an eight-yard touchdown pass to complete the drive to give the Rams a 7-0 lead. Rockford’s defense proved tough, keeping the Howell offense out of the end zone for its first three possessions, while the offense, in workmanlike fashion moved the ball down the field, building a 17-point lead. Howell finally got on the board when Derrick Palma broke through the Ram defense for six yards, capping off a 77-yard drive. Rockford closed out the first half by again showing off the “LaPrairie-VanderLaan Connection.” LaPrairie found VanderLaan four times on the nine-yard drive, gaining 73 of the 75 yards on the drive, including a four-yard touchdown pass. The Rams took a 24-7 lead into halftime. Rockford’s only score of the second half came when “The Connection” struck again, with LaPrairie finding VanderLaan wide open. VanderLaan raced 70 yards to give the Rams a 31-7 lead early in the third quarter. Howell’s offense then found its footing, attempting to mount a comeback as they scored 20 unanswered points. A touchdown with 1:31 left on the clock brought the Highlanders within four points of the Rams. To no one’s surprise, Howell attempted an on-side kick, which was recovered by Rockford’s Zach Schmuck, beginning the mad minute of football. With the Rams looking to ice the game by gaining one final first down, the Highlanders found new life when the Rams’ Brady Gent fumbled the ball on second down with 45 seconds left. Howell recovered the fumble, and took possession at their own 44. A questionable holding penalty moved the ball to the Ram 46, where Highlander quarterback Greg Cauley threw the ball […]