By Sara Crosby
News crews gathered at “The Ted” (The Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium) Friday night for “Football Frenzy”coverage that was held at Rockford High School. A frenzy of excitement is the perfect way to describe Friday’s game as the stadium came alive with droves of fans descending upon it, despite the cold weather. The last regular-season showdown between the 7-1 Rockford Rams and the 5-3 East Kentwood Falcons was being touted as the biggest game of the season.
The stadium of roaring and cheering fans would reach a fever pitch as the Rams charged onto the field, hungry for victory. The Rams would enter Friday night with a hard loss on their backs and an outright OK Red Championship to claim. The East Kentwood Falcons would walk onto the field off the heels of the Rams, as they looked to secure a spot in the playoffs and shutdown the Rams hopes for an outright OK Red Championship.
The Falcons would bumble receiving the kickoff from the Rams but a missed dead ball call would result in the Falcons gaining 80 yards, putting them well within touchdown territory. The Falcons would further capitalize on the gain with two successful runs giving them a 7-0 lead on the Rams. Although the Falcons run would seem to take a little air out of the Rams, it would last for only a moment. The Rams would quickly gather their composure, dust themselves off and do what they do best; work hard. The Rams hard work would pay off as junior quarterback Chris Corey’s pass would be brought in over the shoulder with ease by talented senior Eli Haddad, resulting in a touchdown that would even the score to 7-7.
The nights’ showdown would march on in the second and third quarter with both teams relentlessly battling for domination on the field. The Rams offense would ultimately win the battle by placing their kicker junior Teagan Lenderink at the 39-yard line for a successful field goal, putting the Rams ahead 7-10 going into the fourth quarter.
The Rams fervent defense, led for the night by junior Cole Gleason and senior Reid Nicholson, would shut down the Falcons for the remainder of the game. Sacks, turnovers, and interceptions by the Rams defense would be the ultimate ending to the Falcons hopes of victory. “We knew East Kentwood was going to be a strong team, we knew we had to play our best, had to play our game .. I am very proud and the team is very proud to have accomplished that, together” is how Nicholson would describe the Rams hard-working attitude at Friday’s game. The Rams offense would continue that mentality late in the fourth quarter with Corey throwing a sling-shot pass to junior Blake Holwerda. Holwerda’s impressive body control would land both of his feet on the edge of the end-zone for a thrilling Rams touchdown taking the Rams to a 7-17 lead.
Ram Nation would explode in celebration as the Rams took to their victory formation that crowned them the outright 2019 OK Red Champions. “I feel the team needed this win to help us get back on our feet and propel us into the playoffs. The defense really played an important part in our win.” Said leading offensive rusher of the night, junior Jacob Vega. With this much-needed win, the Rams have secured a home field advantage for at least the first two games of the playoffs.
“We worked hard for this one with the heavy emphasis on we, yes, WE before ME. Amen.” Said a visibly joyous head coach, Ralph Munger. The sidelines would be overtaken with celebratory hugs, high fives and raised helmets between the players and coaching staff. Smiles could be seen from miles away as the Rams swarmed the fifty-yard line to lead the stadium in the Ram victory song. “We had a much better week of practice, our kids were dialed in, our kids were more focused, they were just hungry.” Said defensive Coach, Randy Vanderveen.
The Rams, as always, will head right back to work as they look ahead to their first playoff battle. It will be a quick turn-around for the Rams as they meet the East Kentwood Falcons in another grueling showdown under the lights of The Ted, Friday night. The Falcons will come back to The Ted determined to settle a score while the Rams will be waiting and hungry for another victory.
WE ARE RAM NATION.