Tim Cooper

Second-half offensive spark pushes Rockford past West Ottawa

November 12, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rams district champs With his team trailing 13-7 at halftime, Coach Ralph Munger had one question for his players: “Is this how you want your season to end?” The Rams, who had sputtered throughout the first half, opened the second half with a resounding “No” when Zach Schmuck returned the kickoff to the Rockford 40-yard line. The Rams’ Brady Gent put an exclamation point on that “No!” when he broke through the middle of the Panther defense, and raced 58 yards before being caught at the West Ottawa 2-yard line. Two plays later, Gent crashed through the defense and stumbled over the goal line to put the Rams ahead, 14-13. Though Gent has been there all year, he seemingly came out of nowhere against West Ottawa, as he exploded through the Panther line consistently. He racked up 152 yards on 17 carries, most of which occurred during the second half. Gent had three second-half touchdowns. Munger had high praise for the running back. “Gent’s a great young player. He works hard every day, and he did what is expected of all our players.” The defense also answered “No!” by limiting the Panthers to 77 yards in the second half. “We had terrible field position in the second half,” West Ottawa Coach Jim Caserta commented. “We couldn’t get out of our own end.” The Rams’ final, “No!” came when Mark LaPrairie, deep in West Ottawa territory, found Neil VanderLaan for a 17-yard touchdown pass, giving the Rams a 35-13 lead, and the pair’s second touchdown of the night. The first was 49-yard strike for the Rams’ only score of the first half. This victory provided Rockford with its 11th district championship, and their sixth of the last seven years. By winning the district, the Rams advance to the regional final game against the Howell Highlanders, to be held at the Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. The Highlanders advanced by defeating Holt 29-7. Ram fans should note that the annual craft fair will also be held at the high school, so parking at or near the Ted will be at a premium.  

Rockford Rams begin drive to Ford Field

November 4, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford takes on Traverse City West in pre-districts  by TIM COOPER  On Friday, Oct. 29, 256 teams throughout the state, divided into eight divisions, began the run to the state championship, which will be held at Ford Field in Detroit on Thanksgiving weekend. This year’s playoff opener marked the fifth time the Rockford Rams and the Traverse City West Titans have met, with Rockford having won each of the previous four games. Behind the strong running of Zach Schmuck, Rockford jumped out to a 7-0 lead. Schmuck’s one-yard plunge into the end zone capped off a nine-play, 52-yard drive. It was the first of three touchdowns Schmuck scored in the first quarter. Two plays later and 23 seconds later, Schmuck scored again. Schmuck’s second touchdown was set up by the first of KC Zenner’s two interceptions. Zenner returned the interception 15 yards to the Titan 13. On the following play, Schmuck carried the ball into the end zone to give Rockford a 14-0 lead. After the Ram defense forced Traverse City West to punt, Rockford took possession of the ball again, mounting an eight-play drive that was finished by Scmuck’s third touchdown with 28 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The Rams went into the locker rooms with a 28-0 lead at halftime after Kyle Short threw an 11-yard pass to Aaron Weston with 29 seconds left in the second quarter. Early in the third quarter, Traverse City West saw a ray of hope as they stopped the Rams in the first possession of the half. The Titan offense followed up their defense’s effort by driving 86 yards into the Rockford end zone to narrow the score by seven. West’s efforts were stifled, however, as the Ram defense, continuing to hit hard, stopped the Titans on a critical fourth-down-and-one-yard-to-go situation with 2:54 left in the third. Rockford’s offense brought the lead back to 28 as Kyle Short threw his second touchdown pass, this time to Matt Boonstra. Traverse City West scored one more touchdown in the fourth, to make the final score 35-14. Following the game, Coach Ralph Munger said of his Rams, “Our boys came out ready to play, scoring on our first three possessions, but then I think our kids let up some […]

Last second field goal give Rams the win

September 9, 2010 // 0 Comments

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 […]

Rams start football season with win

September 2, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford downs Davison 27-10  by TIM COOPER After three weeks of practice under the hot August sun, the Rockford Rams walked onto the field in front of a large crowd for their opening game August 27, at the Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium. Rockford has opened each of the last three seasons against the Davison Cardinals, and this year was the same.    Davison, having won the coin toss, elected to receive the opening kickoff. Steve Mette’s kick would go through the end zone, forcing Davison to start their first drive on their own 20 yard line. Four plays later, Davison would be forced to punt the ball to the Rams, who would start their first drive just inside Davison’s territory, at the 46 yard line. The Cardinals’ defense would limit Rockford to 16 yards on their first possession, forcing a 46 yard field goal attempt by Steve Mette. Mette split the uprights, giving the Rams an early 3-0 lead. The Rams second possession started from their own 20, after a Davison punt went into the end zone. On the first of play of the possession, Rockford quarterback Mark LaPrairie, hit wide receiver Neil VanderLaan with a perfect pass down the left sideline. 75 yards later, VanderLaan was standing alone in the end zone. Davison, trailing by ten, retaliated with a  30 yard field goal to complete their following drive. Rockford countered with a 40 yard field goal by Mette after Davison turned the ball over on their own 17, giving the Rams a 13-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Again, the Rockford defense shut Davison down, forcing them to punt. The Rams’ final possession of the first half ended with a 12 yard LaPrairie pass to Zach Schmuck, putting Rockford ahead by 17 with just over three minutes remaining in the half. Davison’s final drive saw quarterback Jake Thompson connect with Jacob Jacobs, for an 80 yard gain, placing the ball inside the Rockford five. Four plays later, Brandon Cooper plunged into the end zone with seconds left in the half, making the score 20-10. Rockford’s final score of the evening came when Nate Sanders broke off tackle for seven yards into over the goal line, making the final score 27-10. Following the game, […]

Record champs among 2010 grads

June 3, 2010 // 0 Comments

by TIM COOPER On Tuesday, May 25, Ram fans and family members gathered at the Rockford Freshman Center to celebrate a record-breaking group of graduates. “Over 40 members of Rockford’s senior class are going on to participate in athletics at the next level at Division I, II and III. This is a record for Rockford High School,” said Athletic Director Tim Erickson. During their athletic career at Rockford, these student-athletes excelled, putting many trophies in the display cases outside the gymnasium. Among these are forty-seven conference championships, thirty district championships, thirty-four regional championships, and nine state championships. While all of these individuals showed excellence on the playing field, many of them are among the top academic achievers as well. Some even participated in student government or other extracurricular activities in addition to a full schedule athletically and academically. “We are proud of all our students here at Rockford High School,” said Erickson. “But we are especially proud of these men and women who have chosen to continue their athletic careers in college.” The following are the 2010 graduates who were honored at the evening ceremony and their sports and schools. Basketball Jacob Greene, Calvin College; Brent Henry, Calvin College; Megan Kelley, Hope College; Caitlyn Patterson, Calvin College. Cheer Torri Mills, Michigan State University. Crew Olivia Kacsits, Notre Dame Golf Trent Davidson, Ferris State University Football Taylor Masiewicz, Ferris State University; Paul Mudgett, Central Michigan University; Josh Pribble, Grand Rapids Community College; Joe Stefanski, Ohio University. Lacrosse Meagan Emery, Drexel University; Alexia O’ Connor, Grand Valley State University; Andi Raymond, Towson University;  Kelsei Streeter, Grand Valley State University. Softball Lauren Pasciak, Cornerstone University; Haley Pattock, Davenport University; Morgan Ruchy, Ferris State University; Karliane Showers, Grand Rapids Community College. Swimming/Diving Erica Cutler, Bowling Green State University;  Jessica Cutler, Bowling Green State University; Alex DeVries, Ramapo College of New Jersey; Brian Ginebaugh, Stevens Institute of Technology New Jersey. Soccer Samantha Decker, Grand Valley State Unviersity; Sean Lewis, Western Michigan University. Track Charlie Anel, Grand Valley State University; Sarah Birkmeier, Michigan State University; Katie Carlson, Hope College; Grant Gunneson, Aquinas College; Rachel Herald, United States Air Force Academy; Nick Shear, Taylor University; Margaret Smiley, New York University; Chris Wierengo, Northwood University. Volleyball Kylie Basarabski, Northern Michigan University; Cailie Johnson, […]

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