By Randy Gregory,
Michigan Sports Radio
Rockford was set to host Grand Haven last week but injuries and low numbers forced the Buccaneers to forfeit the game to the Rams. The official result goes into the books as a 2-0 Ram victory and moved the teams’ record to 4-0 on the season. The Rams are now preparing to take to the road this week to face off with a 3-1 East Kentwood team on Friday, September 23 at 7:00 P.M.
After having gone a disappointing 2-4 and 2-7 the previous two seasons the Falcons were hoping to rebound this time around. Standing in the way of that rebound was a difficult schedule that included not only OK Red play but a pair of out of conference clashes against two traditional state powers. Muskegon was the first hurdle for the Falcons and they came up just short in a 20-14 loss to the Big Reds despite holding the lead for a large portion of the game. Next up was a contest with Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice. Brother Rice showed their mettle this past week as they knocked off the consensus number one team in the state (Warren DeLaSalle) 43-42. East Kentwood used a late field goal to knock off Brother Rice 19-17 in their showdown.
The last two weeks have seen the Falcons pitch a pair of shutouts with a 42-0 triumph over Grand Haven and a 16-0 victory over Jenison. Defense has been the calling card of the Falcons as they are allowing just over nine points a game. They are putting up an average of 23 points offensively. Rockford will counter with an offense that has amassed an average of 40 points per contest while surrendering just shy of sixteen.
East Kentwood is coached by former pro and Western Michigan University quarterback Tony Kimbrough. Kimbrough is in his ninth season as the head coach and has an overall record of 48-34. The Rams are coached by third-year leader Brent Cummings. The former University of Michigan running back has run up a mark of 23-2 thus far.
The two teams have met multiple times over the years in a very close and hard-fought rivalry. Rockford holds a slight 28-26 edge in all time meetings. Rockford cruised past the Falcons 48-0 last year and the teams did not face off in 2020. The last Falcon win came in the playoffs in 2019 as they buried Rockford 38-12.
The Falcons returned nine defensive starters and five on the offensive side. They were expected to be improved this year and that has borne out to be true. They also made a major switch offensively while bringing in former West Catholic head coach Justin Michalowski as the offensive coordinator. They have abandoned power football and gone to an offense very similar to what Rockford runs. They will feature a single back, spread attack that looks to get their skill players in space against man coverage.
They are led by Western Michigan University signee Razah Townsend. The defensive lineman stands 6’5″ and weighs 230 pounds. He is joined by returning all-conference middle linebacker Stellan Bowman and defensive back Nate Cobbs. Both Bowman and Cobbs will also see time on offense. Casey Joppie returns as quarterback for the Falcons.
The Rams feature quarterback Mac VandenHout and skilled receivers Alex McLean and Brody Thompson. Dan Neill and Mike LIggett also spearhead a stellar offensive line. Defensively the Rams feature a quartet of outstanding linebackers in Rick Beison, Ryan Ahern, Colby Weston and Thys Segard. The secondary features Tyler Hoek, Isaac Poot, Austin Harvey and Louis Bosscher.
The preliminary forecast calls for a clear, cool evening. This contest begins a string of games for the Rams against multiple solid opponents and will set the tone for the balance of the season.