The Rockford Rams and Saline Hornets advanced to the regional finals in large point as a result of their defensive efforts. In Saturday’s game, the Saline defense stepped up and brought back the regional championship in a 13-12 victory.
After a scoreless first half, the Saline Hornets finally broke the scoreless tie when they got an 18 yard field goal by James Turner to give them a 3-0 edge. His second field goal with 8:52 to play would extend the lead to six points.
In order for Rockford to respond and tie this game, they needed their special teams to step up and make a big play. Jack Richardson sprung a 60-yard return to the end zone for the tying touchdown. The extra point was unsuccessful, and these two were deadlocked at six with 6:32 to play.
Neither team scored in the remainder of regulation, forcing this one into overtime. In the first segment of the extra frame, Saline started with the football. They wasted no time scoring, as senior M.J. Griffin took the handoff into the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point by Turner gave the Hornets a 13-6 advantage.
On their responding possession, the Rams offense took to the air. Nate Bareno hauled in the touchdown catch to bring Rockford within one point at 13-12. Coach Ralph Munger decided that he did not want to go to another overtime, so he kept his offense on the field and attempt the two-point conversion. He dialed up a handoff to Jaiden Friesen, and the Saline defense stepped up and made a huge stop.
Despite today’s loss, Rockford had a successful season. After a slow start, they battled back and played their best football in the later portion of the year. They made the playoffs when their streak was in jeopardy, and they made a run to the regional finals. The Hornets advance to next Saturday’s state semifinals at Okemos High School. They will take on the Clarkston Wolves for a chance to play at Ford Field for the Division 1 State Championship.