By Randy Gregory
Michigan Sports Radio
Photo by Miles Postema
After dominating a tough Grandville squad 37-14 at home, Rockford will venture west to take on another solid team at Hudsonville on Friday, October 7. The Eagles are a deceptive 2-4 thus far in 2022 and have won their last two contests (35-14 over West Ottawa and 38-0 versus Jenison). It is probably an over-used cliche but Hudsonville is quite possibly the finest 2-4 team in the state. Their four losses have come against undefeated Saline and Caledonia, as well as falling short against a pair of tough squads in Grandville and Orchard Lake St. Mary.
The Eagles also know that in order to procure a playoff slot they need to probably win out. A win over the Rams would go a long way towards helping them achieve that goal. Hudsonville averages 24.1 points per game while allowing 23.5. Rockford averages 40 points per contest while surrendering only 13.5. The Rams would greatly enhance their chances of securing home field for the first three rounds of the playoffs by stretching their record to 7-0 with another win.
The teams first met in 2003 with Hudsonville winning that game 42-34. The Eagles won 4 of the first 6 games against Rockford and seemed to have their number initially. But Rockford has won 15 of the last 18 meetings to take a 17-7 series lead. Rockford came out on top in a bruising affair in 2021 by the score of 21-16 in a similar circumstance as Hudsonville entered that game with a 2-2 record and narrowly missed qualifying for the playoffs. The last Eagle win came by the score of 14-7 in 2016.
Hudsonville is coached by Brent Sandee who is in the midst of his fifth season at the helm. Sandee has a record of 26-20 over that time frame and has missed the playoffs only once while in charge. Sandee was an assistant coach for five years at Hudsonville as well as coaching Whitehall for a single year previously before assuming his current position.
Rockford is led by third-year coach Brent Cummings. Cummings is an excellent 25-2 so far as the head man for the Rams. Rockford has also played a solid schedule with wins over a talented Muskegon Mona Shores team as well as topping Grandville and East Kentwood the previous two weeks, sandwiched around a bye against Grand Haven.
Hudsonville features a very good passing attack led by returning starting quarterback Trey Carr. Hudsonville has several speedy targets in the passing game including wide receivers Brad Raredon and Eli VanderVeen and tight end Mason Dykstra. Drew Baine headlines the rushing attack and the offensive line is led by Nick DeKleine.
The Rams will counter with their outstanding quarterback Mac VanHouten. Rockford also features great talent in the receiving corps led by Alex McLean, Brody Thompson and Jonny Rohen-Blanton. Ryan Ahern is a rare two-way player for the Rams at middle linebacker and running back. The Rams also feature a tremendous linebacking group of their own including Rick Beison, Colby Weston, Thys Segard and Ahern.
Much akin to Grandville, this contest will feature plenty of big hits and big plays. Both squads have excellent speed at the skill positions and several very tough linemen.