East Kentwood will make the trek to Carlson-Munger Stadium in Rockford on Friday, October 6 to face off with Rockford in the 57th meeting between the two schools. Rockford leads the all-time series with a mark of 30-26 in the tightly contested series. The series has had a pair of decided runs by both schools. East Kentwood went 19-7 in the first 26 meetings but Rockford has rebounded to run off a mark of 23-7 over the last 30 contests.
The Falcons are coached by Tony Kimbrough, who is in his tenth season in charge. Kimbough had a fabulous career as a player at Western Michigan and followed that up with a stint in the Canadian Football League. He assumed the reins in 2014 and has rung up a record of 53-41 as the head coach for the Falcons. That record includes appearances in the playoffs in six of the previous nine seasons. Rockford is led by fourth-year head coach Brent Cummings. Cummings also had a memorable playing career at Belding High School and the University of Michigan. He is an astounding 35-3 thus far and has made the playoffs in every prior campaign.
The Falcons are 3-3 thus far in the 2023 season with wins over Hartland, Jenison and Grand Haven. Their three losses came to Byron Center, Hudsonville and Grandville. The three teams that have topped the Falcons are a solid 14-4 overall and each contest was a ballgame into the second half. The Rams are an unblemished 6-0 on the season and have yet to be threatened despite facing three extremely talented teams in Muskegon, Muskegon Mona Shores and Caledonia. East Kentwood averages 27.6 points per game while allowing 22.2. The Rams have scored 39.5 points per contest while giving up 10.5.
The Falcons are led by two-way standout Stellan Bowman, who has committed to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio as a linebacker. Bowman has been All-Conference each of the past two seasons and doubles as a talented running back as well. Casey Joppie is back for his third season as the starting quarterback for EK and has passed for nearly 400 yards in an earlier contest this year. They also feature another talented running back in Elisee Kanda, who has also broken multiple long runs this year.
The Rams counter with their own two-way stars in Ryan Ahern and Isaac Poot. Ahern is the point/counterpoint to Bowman as a superb linebacker/ running back combo. Poot is not only a talented safety but also has shown the propensity to break big runs when he does get the opportunity at the running back position. And he accentuates that with his explosiveness in the return game on punts and kickoffs. Drake Irwin is expected to make his return at quarterback for the Rams after missing most of the last two games. But if he is still unable to go, sophomore Brayden Daniels showed last week that he is more than capable of filling his shoes.
Kickoff is slated for 7:00 P.M. and it is the annual homecoming game for Rockford so a large crowd is expected for the home team. This game marks the first of three stern tests for Rockford to close out the regular season. The following week will see Rockford heading to Grandville for their annual grudge match before they conclude the regular season by hosting Hudsonville.