By Sara Crosby
A clear, sunny and slightly warm evening unexpectedly turned up for the grudge match between the 7-0 Rockford Rams and the 6-1 Grandville Bulldogs. The Rams looked to continue their march towards an undefeated season with a victorious win last week over long time rival Hudsonville. That victory afforded them a 7-0 record and a comfortable playoff berth that would ensure post season action. The Bulldogs however, would come into Fridays game with a spot in the playoffs on their radar, a chance to topple the only undefeated team in the OK Red Conference and a hope to claim some of the conference title.
The grudge match was in full swing during the first half of the game. With both teams continually fighting for the ball and trying to take advantage of any errors, but without success. The Rams offense would place themselves in an ideal field position for a successful field goal by junior kicker Teagan Lenderink. A field goal would be the only points placed on the board for the first half. With only a few penalties stopping the momentum of the game, half time fell upon both teams with lightening speed.
A mixture of disbelief and head shaking would run rampant in the Rams visiting stands, leaving everyone wondering how the second half would play out. This would be the first time all season that the Rams would go into half time without a touchdown to their name. The second half would need the Rams to come out with adjustments made and a new battle plan in hopes of a victory for the night.
Unexpected, would be the word of the night as the third quarter would seemingly have no change for the Rams offense with continual, play after play being shut down by the Bulldogs defense. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs would come out with adjustments made and a touchdown, that would put them on the board early.A missed two point conversion by the Bulldogs would have them kicking off to the Rams with a 6-3 lead. The remaining third quarter would see a safety, two more touchdowns and a single two point conversion for the Bulldogs, taking their lead to 22-3. A low murmur of goodbyes’ and drive safes’ as Ram fans began to vacate the stands, would be all that was heard from the Ram sidelines.
With the Rams offense making a triumphant effort to put points on the board, the fourth quarter would bring no change in the Rams scoring efforts. The biggest highlight for the Rams would be the continued strength of their defense as they ran over the Bulldogs and shut them down for the night. A Bulldog touchdown would be added only by their defense with an interception sealing the fate of the Rams with a 30-3 lead. What had condensed into a low murmur would turn into an eerie silence on the Ram sidelines, as the realization that an undefeated season had just been broken. A much needed, hurry-up Rams offense would come onto the field late in the fourth quarter without any success.The Bulldogs would take the win for the night with a final score of 30-3.
The shuffling of feet, gathering of items and low murmurs would be the only sounds heard on the Rams visiting sideline. The Rams would come together on the field for their moment of prayer before taking a slow jog back into their locker room. Only glances and half smiles would be seen on the Rams as they made their way to their buses, for what would seem to be a long journey home. Rising up from a defeat of this magnitude is what Ram pride is built on and what this years team 107 is made of. We all stand with the Rams as they regroup and come together again for a victory over next weeks opponent, East Kentwood.
WE BEFORE ME, we are Ram country.