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Rams struggle again in loss to Mona Shores

By Randy Gregory, 09/14/18, 1:45PM EDT


~ Photo by Miles Postema

Rams fall 33-14 to the sailors

ROCKFORD - For the second consecutive week Rockford exhibited a frustrating inability to get off the field defensively without yielding a score as they fell to Muskegon Mona Shores 33-14 at home Friday, Sept. 14. Last week it was quarterback Isaac VanDyke who dominated the stats and the game for West Ottawa in a 45-40 Panther triumph. This time around it was the Sailors bruising senior fullback Sincere Dent who piled up huge numbers to key the road win.

Mona Shores improved to 4-0 on the season with the win while the Rams fell to 1-3. The Rams streak of 23 consecutive trips to the Michigan High School Athletic Association playoffs has now reached a critical juncture with the loss. Six wins are necessitated to guarantee a berth and that would require Rockford to go a perfect 5-0 over the balance of the season. There is still a decent chance of advancing with five wins but that is certainly far from a sure thing.

The first half appeared as if the Rams would quite possibly make it into the locker room trailing only 7-0. Mona Shores had the ball at the Rockford 3-yard line having used their final timeout with a shade over 16 seconds remaining. Surprisingly, the Sailors opted to run the ball at that point and their QB was almost certainly dead to rights when he was hemmed in at the four and the clock would definitely expire with the 7-0 score intact. But, utilizing a Herculean effort he broke a pair of tackles and lunged just over the goal line to make it a 14-0 game after 24 minutes.

The Sailors did a large part of their damage through the air in the first half as the first score came via an 18-yard TD pass over the middle with 5:44 left in the second quarter. Rockford's only scoring threat in the first half ended with a blocked 39-yard field goal attempt. The Sailors out-gained Rockford 213 to 81 yards in the first half.

The second half saw a monumental shift in the game plan for Mona Shores as they unleashed Dent. Dent scored from 64 yards out on the third play from scrimmage in the third quarter. Two possessions later it was Dent again from 55 on the same play off the left side. And it was Dent yet again capping off the scoring with an 11-yard jaunt midway through the final quarter to finish the scoring for the night.

Mona Shores scored touchdowns on five of their final six possessions in claiming the victory. For their part, the Rams struggled to establish any continuity offensively until falling behind 21-0. From that point on it was a score fest as the teams took turns traversing the field.

Sophomore Ram quarterback Chris Corey was the catalyst as he engineered the two scoring drives and drove the team to the Sailor 12 as the clock expired. 

Connor White scored both of the Rockford touchdowns on the evening. The first was on a 13-yard run off the right side with 5:59 left in the third quarter. The second came on another 6-yard run that also utilized the right side of the Ram offensive line. That one came with 10:06 left on the clock to infuse a brief flurry of hope into the Ram faithful as the lead had been reduced to 27-14. Teagen Lenderink was successful on both of his point-after attempts for Rockford.

Jack Richardson was another Ram combatant who had a sterling effort on several fronts. Richardson boomed punts of 51 and 72-yards on special teams. The latter of those punts pinned the Sailors at their own one and helped set up the first Ram marker of the night. Richardson also had several runs and receptions that featured the talented senior bobbing and weaving through traffic for multiple yards after the first contact.

 Mona Shores nearly duplicated their yardage from the first half as they rang up 215 in the second half for a game total of 428. Rockford ran up 168 second half yards for a total of 249 yards.

Rockford will look to right the ship as they continue their nautical agenda next week with a trip to Grand Haven to square off with the Buccaneers. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 P.M. on Friday, Sept. 21.

~ Photo by Miles Postema

~ Photo by Miles Postema

~ Photo by Miles Postema