Photo courtesy of Miles Postema.

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The West Ottawa Panthers and Rockford Rams began their OK Red seasons squaring off against each other. After winning thirteen consecutive matchups in the series, Rockford lost both matchups to Holland West Ottawa last season (35-30 in the regular season and 33-28 in the playoffs). This year, the Panthers got their third consecutive series win by defeating the Rams 45-40.

In the first quarter, the Panthers got on the board first with a 24-yard field goal. Jaiden Friesen and the Rams drove the length of the field, and his touchdown from a yard out put Rockford up 7-3.

Isaac VanDyke led the responding scoring drive for West Ottawa to give them a 10-7 lead, but the Rams would respond with 14 consecutive points to give them a 21-10 lead heading into the locker room.

A handful of offensive miscues for Rockford led to touchdown drives for West Ottawa early in the second half. VanDyke threw two more touchdowns (23 yards and 67 yards) and ran for his fourth from 33 yards to put the Panthers ahead 32-21 after three quarters of play.

Friesen found the end zone again with just under ten minutes to play to cut the deficit to five. The two teams exchanged touchdown drives as VanDyke had two runs totaling fifty yards and a touchdown and Drew Bareno led a responding drive in which he passed to Jack Richardson to make the score 39-34 with 6:15 left to play.

After a West Ottawa fumble, the Rams took over. Facing third down with thirty yards to gain at the 42 yard line, Bareno took to the air and found Eli Haddad on a 41 yard catch. Jack Richardson would punch in the touchdown to give Rockford a 40-39 lead with just 2:10 left.

Isaac VanDyke showed again why he is amongst the best quarterbacks in the area as he led a game-winning touchdown drive, including the one-yard run with twenty-one seconds left to give the Panthers the 45-40 win.

West Ottawa now sits at 3-0 on the year and 1-0 in the OK Red. Next week, they host East Kentwood who is 2-1 on the year after destroying Caledonia on Friday 56-20. Rockford falls to 1-2 on the season and their schedule does not get any easier. This upcoming Friday they will host the 3-0 Mona Shores Sailors, a team that defeated them a year ago.