Rams prepare for powerhouse Muskegon Mona Shores
After thoroughly throttling a rebuilding East Grand Rapids squad 48-7 in the 2022 season opener, Rockford takes a decided step up in competition as they prepare to host Muskegon Mona Shores on Thursday, September 1 at 7:00 P.M. The Sailors will also enter the fray at 1-0 after taking on an out of state opponent in their opener. The final in that contest was 48-20 with the home team claiming the win.
The series was dominated by Rockford for an extended period when both squads were members of the OK Red years ago. During the earlier portion of the rivalry Rockford held a 14-4 edge in head-to-head play. But in the last six meetings the teams have split six contests with both winning three. The revival of the Sailor program has closely coincided with the hiring of 1994 Mona Shores grad Matt Koziak as the head coach in 2011. Koziak’s only previous head coaching job was for a single season at Muskegon High School in 2009 where he went 7-4.
After struggling as he instituted his program in his first two campaigns at Mona Shores to a 5-13 record, Koziak has helmed one of the premier programs in Michigan. The Sailors have gone 88-19 in the last ten years including a pair of state championships and a pair of losses in the finals. While faced with the challenge of fielding a team in the same city as perennial power Muskegon, Koziak has more than held his own while building yet another stalwart program on the lakeshore.
The Sailors were led by receiver Jaylon Vinton in the opener as he hauled in scoring passes of 48 and 82 yards in the opener. And for good measure, Vinton also threw a 30-yard TD pass on a halfback option to Amari Richardson. Sophomore quarterback Jonathan Pittman threw a pair of TD passes and Dahmir Farnum added a pair of TD runs. James Starr also ripped off an 87-yard TD run to add to the Sailors total.
Rockford is led by third-year head coach Brent Cummings, who has a record of 20-2 thus far. The Rams will counter with a prolific passing attack led by Mac VandenHout, who threw for six TDs in the opener. He will be aided by a terrific corps of receivers led by Alex McLean, Brody Thompson and Joey Pitsch. The Ram defense also features an outstanding group of linebackers led by Rick Beison, Ryan Ahern, Thys Segard and Tyler Hoek.
Both teams are ranked in the top ten of their respective classes (Rockford is sixth in Division 1 and Mona Shores second in Division 2). Another huge crowd at Carlson-Munger Stadium is anticipated in a contest that is a prelude to a Labor Day weekend. The preliminary weather report is also looking beautiful as these two titans prepare to square off in an early season non-conference showdown.
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