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Red Hawks lose to Rams 35-6

CS Red Hawk Aiden Brunin gets tackled by Rockford. 

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Red Hawks varsity football team traveled to Rockford last Thursday night, Sept. 2, to take on the Rams for the first time since 1981. It was a learning experience for the Red Hawks, who have been known in recent years to take on teams bigger than themselves.

Some fans question why they would want to do that.

“We wanted to play this game because it’s a non-conference game that will have no effect on our goal to win the OK Gold,” said Red Hawk Coach Gus Kapolka. “By playing a team like Rockford, we now know where we need to improve, and it shows our players how hard they have to compete in order to play at an elite level.”

Rockford scored on the second play of the game, when Zak Ahern ran up the middle for a 22-yard touchdown 11:34 left in the first quarter. The extra point kick by Jason Burkholder was good. 

They then scored twice more in the first, on Ahern’s pass to Tyler Vroman for a 54-yard touchdown, and then on a pass to Leo Vanderwiel for a 12-yard touchdown. The score at the end of the first quarter was Rockford 21, Cedar Springs 0.

Rockford runs with the ball. 

The Red Hawks hit the scoreboard right at the end of the second quarter, while keeping the Rams offense at bay. With 37 seconds left in the half, Antwuan Nicholls ran up the middle for a 7-yard touchdown. Score at the half was 21-6.

Rockford scored twice more in the third quarter, on a three-yard run by Gabe Spees, and four-yard run by Ahern. 

Neither team scored in the fourth quarter, making the final score 35-6.

The Cedar Springs offense got a total of 135 yards rushing, on 42 attempts, and 10 yards on a pass.

Rockford got 152 yards on the ground on 28 attempts, and 168 yards in the air, including two touchdowns.

“Even though the score didn’t indicate it, I thought our defense did a good job against their offense after the first 8 minutes,” remarked Kapolka.

What could they have done better? “We did not control the line of scrimmage on offense and that, along with Rockford’s explosive plays, were the difference in the game,” he explained.

What did Kapolka think his team learned from the game? “We learned what it takes to compete at an elite level against a superior opponent,” he said. “Rockford has elite level talent on both sides of the ball, they executed well and made big plays early that put us in a hole we couldn’t get out of.”

This Friday the Red Hawks start conference play by hosting Ottawa Hills at Red Hawk Stadium. Game time is at 7 p.m. Come on out and cheer on your Red Hawks!

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