Ram quarterback Chris Corey. ~ Photo by Miles Postema
Tight end Maverick Pant catches a ball against Caledonia. ~ Photo by Miles Postema
By Randy Gregory
En route to their third victory of the 2018 season, Rockford came within one play of also posting their third shutout as well. But a 31-yard touchdown pass with the running clock in full bore and a mere 1.3 seconds on the game clock was the only blemish on a dominating evening for the Rams and their hearty faithful. That scoring play was merely a blip on the radar in a game Rockford was in control of from start to finish. The 42-6 win evened up Rockford's record at 3-3 on the season and also moved their OK Red mark to 2-1.
But, the Rams now move into the meat of the schedule to close out the regular season in an effort to continue the 23-year postseason streak and also claim at least a share of the league crown. Hudsonville, Grandville and East Kentwood remain on the docket in an imposing stretch to finish things out for Rockford.
A happy Rockford coach Ralph Munger stated there are promising signs that his charges may be up to the challenge.
"We had a wonderful week of practice and for a coach that helps make all of the difference in the world," said Munger. "The kids have really responded well to the challenge of getting back into this thing. Our running backs ran extremely hard tonight and the defense looked like the Rockford defense we have grown accustomed to seeing over the years."
The unquestioned highlight of the evening for everybody with a fondness for the Rams was the final touchdown of the evening for Rockford. Already holding a 35-0 lead and with the running clock in full effect, the Caledonia quarterback fumbled a shotgun snap late in the third quarter. In his haste to recover the ball it popped into the air and was hauled in by 6'1" 260-pound Rockford defensive lineman Collin Herman in full stride at the Fighting Scot 26-yard line. Conjuring up every ounce of speed possible from a 260-pound lineman, Herman "dashed" into the end zone with 1:23 left in the third quarter to complete a defensive lineman's dream. He was mobbed by his defensive teammates immediately after the score and mobbed again after returning to the sidelines following his stint on the extra-point team.
Prior to that score, the Rams dominated every facet of the game as they scored 14 points in each of the first three quarters to jump out to the 42-0 lead. The first touchdown came on a one-yard run from Jaiden Friesen on the game's opening drive. Teagen Lenderink converted the first of his six consecutive extra points and the rout was on. Friesen also scored the second TD of the opening quarter for Rockford, though this one came in a decidedly different manner. Taking the ball from the Caledonia 39 this time, Friesen sped right up the gut untouched into the end zone with 28.2 seconds left in the opening quarter to make it a 14-0 game.
Dylan Dams intercepted a Fighting Scot pass shortly thereafter to set the stage for the next Ram score. This one came on a three- yard burst from Jack Richardson to make it 21-0 with 9:03 left until the half. The final score of the opening half came on a beautiful pass from sophomore quarterback Chris Corey to Nate Bareno. The pass covered 25 yards and came after a beautiful fake pitch out and perfect toss to the 6'6" Bareno in the left side of the end zone.
The final offensive score of the night for Rockford came on their first possession of the second half. Richardson did the honors again with a darting 19-yard trek around the left side with 8:28 remaining in the third stanza. That left only the thoroughly enjoyable Herman score to cap off a solid effort across the board for Rockford.
"We started four sophomores and juniors on the offensive line tonight and I thought they did extremely well tonight," said Munger. "Now we just need to continue the momentum we have generated over the last few weeks and close things out on a high note."
Rockford will journey to Hudsonville next Friday, Oct. 5, to begin the perilous three-game stretch to finish the season. The Eagles have been the surprise team of the OK Red thus far and will bring a 5-1 (3-0 OK Red) record into the fray with Rockford.
Ram defensive lineman Collin Herman recovers a Caledonia fumble and runs the ball back for a Rockford touchdown. ~ Photo by Miles Postema
Ram defenders Austin Klein and Taylor Green bring down a Caledonia runner. ~ Photo by Miles Postema
Rockford running back Jack Richardson stiff arms a Caledonia opponent as he works his way down the field. ~ Photo by Miles Postema