web analytics

Archive | Sports

Hawks drop close game to Vipers


By Shae Brophy

Saturday evening, the West Michigan Hawks hosted the #7 ranked Michigan Vipers. In what was a very close game, the Hawks were unable to finish their attempt at a comeback, and fell short by a final score of 20-13.

Things did not go according to plan for the Hawks as the game began. The Vipers were able to score three touchdowns in the first quarter, and take a 20-0 lead going in to the second quarter. From that point on, the Hawks defense took over, and the offense did the same.

Hawks wide receiver Dontae Ensley scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, giving the Hawks some much needed momentum going into the halftime break, with the score being 20-13. The Hawks defense came out firing in the third quarter, as well. Cornerback Omar Haynes had an interception, and the defense forced two turnovers on fourth down in the third quarter, giving the Hawks offense a chance to get back on track. After a couple of attempts from the Vipers side of the field, the Hawks were unable to find the end zone.

In the fourth quarter, with the score still 20-13 and four minutes remaining on the clock, the Hawks were given their biggest chance to get back in the game. Cornerback Joel Paasch intercepted the ball at the Hawks’ goal line, and returned it all the way back to the Vipers’ 40. The Hawks proceeded to get into the red zone, but with 1:06 left on the clock, a Vipers interception put the game away.

“The Vipers started out firing on all cylinders. They jumped out to a 14-0 lead really early but it didn’t bother us like it has in past games. We made them play our game from that point on, and we started to wear them down,” said Ensley. “After we made the score 20-13, we had all the hope in the world that we could shock not just the Vipers, but the entire league. It was a very hard fought game, but we came up just short in the end.”

Added head coach David Lange, “I thought we started the game a little flat footed, but we were able to pick it up. We played a heck of a game for the last three quarters, and our guys put it all on the line, it just didn’t work out for us in the end. The guys on our team have really come together more than ever the last couple of weeks, and it is really showing by how we are playing. This week, we play for home field advantage in the post-season. That is where our minds will be for the entire week.”

For details on the Hawks game this weekend in Detroit against the Motor City Jaguars, be sure to follow the West Michigan Hawks on Facebook!

Posted in Featured, SportsComments (0)

Meet the Hawks: Austin Garza


By Shae Brophy

Meet #32, linebacker/tight end Austin Garza. The youngest member of the West Michigan Hawks, at 18 years old, Garza has played an essential role with the team. While playing football in high school, Austin also ran track and power-lifted. He was selected to be in the all star game for football during his senior year. It has been very obvious that there was no gap between his playing time, as he went straight from the high school gridiron onto the semi-pro stage.

Originally from Grant, Garza enjoys restoring cars and tractors, hunting and fishing, and hanging out with his friends and teammates. His idols include (former Detroit Lions running back) Barry Sanders, (former Baltimore Ravens linebacker) Ray Lewis, and (current Green Bay Packers linebacker) Clay Matthews.

To this point on the season, Garza has shown the tendancy to be in the right place at the right time to make important tackles, as well as showing some versatility by taking some reps at the tight end position.

“I wanted to join the Hawks because it was a chance to play football at the next level,” said Garza. “It sounded like fun to join a team that has just become established.”

Owner/head coach David Lange added: “Austin has a love of this game, no doubt about it! He is an amazing athlete, and is strong as an ox. He doesn’t let size intimidate him. He gives every play 110 percent and I can’t ask for more than that. He is a huge asset to this team!”

The Hawks will be making the journey to Detroit this weekend to take on the Motor City Jaguars to close out the regular season. With a victory in this game, the Hawks will earn home field advantage in the Crossroads Tournament. You are welcome to join the team as they travel to enemy territory. We would love to see you there!

Shae Brophy is the Media/Public Relations for the West Michigan Hawks.

Posted in SportsComments (0)

Hawks claim second consecutive victory


By Shae Brophy

The West Michigan Hawks hosted archrival Grand Rapids Thunder, on Saturday, at Skinner Field. In what was the most anticipated game of the season for both teams, there was a definite buzz among the players as the game began. The Hawks received the opening kickoff, and we were underway, at least momentarily. The Hawks took the ball deep into Thunder territory after quarterback Jeff Krebs completed a pass to receiver Darwin Mathis, which Mathis ran all the way down to the three yard line. Upon the completion of the play, the referees called for a break in the action due to lightning. This came at 2:58 into the game, and lasted for approximately 45 minutes. When the game resumed, the Hawks were unable to punch the ball in on four consecutive plays, allowing the Thunder to take over at the two-yard line. On the first Thunder play, Hawks linebacker Jeremy Watson met the running back in the end zone, forcing a fumble and recovering it for a Hawks touchdown.

With the Hawks leading 7-0, they scored another touchdown in the first quarter. Krebs completed a pass over the middle to tight end Stan Scott, who rumbled his way down the field, blowing past the Thunder backfield, for a 61-yard touchdown. Dontae Ensley’s extra point made the score 14-0, which held until the end of the first quarter.

The Thunder dominated the second quarter, scoring two touchdowns, and would lead 15-14 at halftime.

The Hawks were re-motivated at the half, however. With a large portion of members from the Hawks having played for the Thunder last season, it was obvious how badly they wanted to come out on top in this game, and you could tell by how they played in the second half.

With their team trailing, Krebs and Scott connected for another touchdown early in the fourth quarter, with the two point conversion failing, making the score 20-15. For Scott, they were his first two touchdowns of the season, while Krebs threw for three for the game, and now has 12 on the season.

The Hawks were able to force another turnover on downs with less than a minute to go, forcing an incomplete pass while the Thunder were in the red zone. Cornerback Omar Haynes swatted down the last gasp for the Thunder on fourth down, and the victory celebration was on. This was the first game of the season for the Hawks with no interceptions, but they still managed to force five turnovers (Watson fumble recovery for a touchdown, fumble recovered by free safety Craig Marquardt, and three turnovers on downs.) This brings their overall record to 2-4 on the season.

“It was a very intense game. We had moments where the momentum dropped, but we powered through in the end,” said Scott. “Even mother nature couldn’t stop the Hawks from soaring tonight.”

Head coach David Lange added: “At the beginning of the season, we were projected to lose every game we played, due to the fact that this is a first year team. We have proven that prediction to be wrong, twice now! We came out hot against our biggest rivals, and even though we lost that intensity going into the half, we were able to rally around each other to get the win. I’m very proud of these men, and proud to be the coach of this football team.”

With the victory, the Hawks have now qualified for the Crossroads Tournament, played at the end of the year. This is tournament for the top team from each division that does not qualify for the playoffs. With a victory in either of their last two games, the Hawks will clinch home field advantage in the first round of the tournament.

The Hawks will be playing at home again on Saturday against the Michigan Vipers. Tickets will be $5 at the gate, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6.

Be sure to follow the team on Facebook for more details on the upcoming schedule, as well as the scheduling of the Crossroads Tournament!

Posted in Featured, SportsComments (0)

Meet the Hawks: Jeff Krebs


Jeff Krebs

Jeff Krebs

By Shae Brophy

Meet #9, quarterback Jeff Krebs. Originally from Howard City, Krebs  was a three-sport athlete in high school. He played baseball, basketball and football all four years of school. After high school, he continued playing baseball at Grand Rapids Junior College, where he played for two additional years. After taking a couple years off from football, Krebs jumped back in as the quarterback of the Hawks, and his development has been very fast paced.

When he is not on the football field, his hobbies include hunting, fishing, and spending time with friends and family. His idols include (NFL Hall of Fame quarterback) Archie Manning, and (Denver Broncos quarterback) Peyton Manning. In his six games with the Hawks, Krebs has thrown for over 1,000 yards, while throwing 12 touchdown passes. He also has shown a knack for running from the pocket, amassing 70 yards on the ground, as well as two rushing touchdowns.

“I wanted to play for the West Michigan Hawks because I have always had the desire to play football again,” said Krebs. “I thought it was pretty cool that they were starting a team in Cedar Springs, and I wanted to be a part of it.”

Head coach/owner David Lange has nothing but good things to say about Krebs. “Jeff is undoubatbly one of the better quarterbacks in the league. He has something that most quarterbacks don’t have—the ability to drop his shoulder and lay a hit on someone. Although I would sleep better at night if he would slide to protect himself, Jeff plays with such an intensity and aggressiveness that forbids him to ‘play it safe.’ He plays every down like it’s his last, and I respect him for it. He is the perfect quarterback for the style our team plays, and I’m proud of what he has accomplished thus far.”

Coming off their second consecutive win, Jeff and the Hawks will be playing at home again on Saturday. They will welcome the Michigan Vipers, who are coming off a 23-14 loss. Tickets will be $5 at the gate, with kickoff scheduled for 7pm. Doors will open at 6, and the Hawks would love to see you at the game!

Posted in SportsComments (0)

Meet the Hawks: Dontae Ensley


By Shae Brophy

S-Meet-the-hawks-Dontae-EnsleyMeet #5, punter/wide receiver Dontae Ensley. Originally from Cedar Springs, Ensley has one of the more interesting stories of anybody on the team. Members of the Hawks team noticed him, while he was kicking footballs at Skinner Field, before the team’s flag football tournament, a couple months ago. The players and coaching staff noticed he was regularly kicking the ball 60-70 yards, and it wasn’t long after that, when Ensley was offered a spot on the Hawks roster.

Ensley is currently attending Central Michigan University, as well as working in Cedar Springs, and playing for the Hawks. “I’ve been here my entire life, and made so many friends that I was able to keep throughout my life,” he said. “I don’t have any past experience with football. Everything I’m doing now is new to me, and I am actually really enjoying playing football. I wish I would have played it in high school.”

In his free time, Dontae enjoys playing hockey and soccer up at Central Michigan. “I’ve played hockey since I was 5, and I still love it now,” he remarked. “Soccer, on the other hand, I’ve played since my sophomore year of high school.” He also enjoys going to sporting events, and hanging out with his friends and family.

A couple of Dontae’s idols include (former Detroit Red Wings captain) Steve Yzerman, and (current Detroit Lion) Calvin Johnson. “I’ve always wanted to be just like Yzerman since I was younger, because for one he played for the Red Wings, and also because he was a great athlete,”explained Ensley.

When asked about why he decided to join the Hawks, he said, “I heard the story behind the story about this team. I wanted to be part of something that is more than just a group of guys.The leadership and organization this team possesses is on an entirely different level, too. I could tell that this wasn’t just a normal team. The fact that we have a whole community behind us is just that much more of a bonus.”

When asked what Ensley brings to the team, Coach Lange boasted, “Dontae is a true athlete. He has a gift and his willingness to learn is amazing. He has the leg to kick the ball exactly where we need, and the hands to come down with it when thrown his way. He is truly a huge part of the Hawks, and we are honored to have him on our team.”

Ensley and the West Michigan Hawks will be in action this Saturday, as they host the Grand Rapids Thunder at Skinner Field for area bragging rights. This is a rivalry game for the Hawks that you will not want to miss. Tickets will be available at the gate. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. We hope to see you there!

Posted in SportsComments (0)

Hawks earn first win in franchise history


By Shae Brophy

On Saturday, the West Michigan Hawks traveled to Detroit to take on the Michigan Renegades. While the thermometer read 89 degrees, both teams were ready for the battle to begin. The Hawks struck for a touchdown on their first drive of the game, when quarterback Jeff Krebs found wide receiver Ryan Bell for a 61-yard touchdown. It was Bell’s third touchdown reception of the year. The Hawks also allowed a Renegades touchdown in the first quarter, making the score 6-6 after one quarter.

In the second quarter, wide receiver Omar Haynes brought in a pass for an eight-yard touchdown, his second of the year, making the score 12-6. For Krebs, it was his 9th touchdown pass of the year. From there, the Hawks defense took over, and they did not allow another point. The final score was 12-6, giving the Hawks their first victory in the history of the franchise.

Cornerback Joel Paasch finished with two interceptions, marking the second consecutive game, in which he intercepted two passes, and bringing his total to five on the year. Defensive end Corey Steele recovered two fumbles, one which he forced, and the other forced by Dre Grays. Linebacker Kameron Snyder also forced and recovered a fumble. The Hawks also forced three turnovers on downs, for a total of eight turnovers.

“It was a close game, we never let up and we came out with the W,” said Paasch. “As excited as I am about this win, I’m already looking ahead to next weekend.”

The Hawks had a very effective game on the ground. The running back trio of Raymond Bush, Kameron Snyder, and Jeremiah Cochran was a force all afternoon, and the Renegades could not find a way to stop them from running the ball and the clock.

Head Coach David Lange added: “Overall, it was a great game. We still need to focus on capitalizing on turnovers. I think we played good smash-mouth football, though. There was a determination in this team to bring home the win, and it was truly inspiring to see. As a coach and owner, I’m incredibly proud of these men for coming together and getting the job done.”

The Hawks will be in action again on Saturday, in a big game against the Grand Rapids Thunder. It will be Military Appreciation Night, with all current and former military personnel receiving free admission. A memorial for William Phillips, the grandfather of current Hawks player Darren Trader, will take place as well. Finally, there will be a benefit for Cedar Springs alum and current Hawks assistant coach Shae Brophy, who is battling a brain tumor. There will be a 50/50 drawing, and donations are welcome as well. The game will be played at Skinner Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6, and tickets are $5. We hope to see you there!

Shae Brophy is the Media/Public Relations Director for the West Michigan Hawks.

Posted in SportsComments (0)

Meet the Hawks: Corey Steele


By Shae Brophy

Meet #11, defensive end Corey Steele. Originally from Greenville, Steele graduated from Greenville High School in 2009. He has been playing football since he was 7 years old and also wrestled in school. While he might not be the biggest in stature on the team, the amount of heart he displays every play is second to none. It has almost become an expectation to see an exciting celebration after Steele makes a big play, and the team feeds off that excitement. So far this season, Corey has two sacks and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown. Add in the timely tackles he has had this season, and you can see why he is a valuable part of the team.

While growing up, Corey’s favorite football players were (NFL Hall of Famer) Junior Seau, and (former Detroit Lions running back) Barry Sanders. Outside of football, Steele enjoys boating, hunting, and fishing.

When asked why he wanted to be a West Michigan Hawk, Steele replied, “I’ve loved the game of football my entire life. I was approached by a friend, who told me there would be a semi-pro football team playing in Cedar, so I took advantage of the chance to step back on the field. I could not have asked for a better group of guys to play this game with.”

Owner/head coach David Lange had this to say about Steele: “Corey is a great kid and looks at every challenge as an opportunity to get better. He shows up to practice and puts in his work! He is one of our ‘surprise’ players. Nobody really expected him to be a force on the defensive line because of his size, but he has surpassed expectations, and turned into the force that we needed.”

After taking last weekend off to celebrate the holiday, the Hawks will be in action this weekend. They will travel to Detroit to take on the Michigan Renegades (1-3) this Saturday, as the team looks for their first win of the season. All Hawks fans are invited to make the trip to Detroit with the team, as they travel in to enemy territory. The game will begin at 4:30 p.m. For information on the address of where the game will be play, be sure to follow the West Michigan Hawks on Facebook!

Shae Brophy is the Media/Public Relations Director for the West Michigan Hawks.

Posted in SportsComments (0)

West Michigan Hawks fall to Bengals

The West Michigan Hawks stepped up their game last Saturday against the Wayne County Bengals with 10 turnovers. Photo by K. Alvesteffer.

The West Michigan Hawks stepped up their game last Saturday against the Wayne County Bengals with 10 turnovers. Photo by K. Alvesteffer.

By Shae Brophy

The West Michigan Hawks hosted the #10 ranked Wayne County Bengals, in a divisional matchup Saturday, June 27. The Hawks came up short, in an exciting game, falling 48-34.

Wayne County scored the first touchdown of the game and took a 6-0 lead, after failing to convert on the first two conversions. The Hawks then scored 18 consecutive points in the first quarter. Joel Paasch intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it 103 yards to the three yard line. On the ensuing drive, quarterback Jeff Krebs found Omar Haynes in the end zone for a touchdown. Defensive end Corey Steele returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown, and Dontae Ensley caught his first touchdown of the season as well. The Hawks led the game 18-14 after one quarter.

After a very defensive second quarter, Wayne County led 26-18 at the half. The Bengals proceeded to build a 40-18 lead after three quarters. The Hawks made things interesting late in the game, but were unable to close the gap on the scoreboard.

Wide receiver Dontae Ensley finished the game with two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions. Wide receiver Omar Haynes scored a touchdown, and quarterback Jeff Krebs pounded one in on his own from the two-yard line. Defensively, cornerback Joel Paasch wound up with two interceptions. Safety Nate Johnson also had two interceptions, and cornerback Omar Haynes finished with one interception. All together, the Hawks forced 10 turnovers for the game (5 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 turnovers on downs), while only committing five of their own. The 34 points were more than twice as many as the Hawks had scored in any other game this year, and the most the Bengals had allowed to any team this season.

Ensley remarked: “We started out better than we ever have. I knew it was going to be a good game until (we gave up) the two straight scores, then we fell apart a little bit. That didn’t keep us down too long though, because we started fighting back again. In the end it’s all about having fun.”

Head Coach David Lange had this to say about the game: “We played a hard fought game which I think we could have and should have won. We put up 34 points and forced 10 turnovers, which is outstanding. However, the one thing we as a team need to work on is keeping our foot on the gas the whole game and not let up. We are a first year team; we are going to run into problems along the way. All we can do is overcome these problems and move on. In our next game, we face the Michigan Renegades in Detroit and I can promise that we are going to take it to them.”

After taking this weekend off to celebrate Independence Day, the team will be in action again on July 11, traveling to Detroit to face the Michigan Renegades.

Posted in Featured, SportsComments Off

Meet the Hawks: Darren Trader

Darren Trader

Darren Trader

By Shae Brophy

Meet offensive/defensive lineman Darren Trader. Darren, a 2007 graduate from Tri County High School, is one of a few players who see time on offense and defense. Primarily used on offense, his 6 foot 4 inch frame comes in handy on the defensive line as well. Trader has been involved with football since he was in the third grade, and played baseball at Tri County his junior and senior years of high school.

When he isn’t on the gridiron, Darren enjoys hunting, fishing, and golfing. Some of his idols include (Houston Texans defensive end) JJ Watt, (former NFL defensive end) Reggie White, and Michael Jordan.

According to Trader, the chance to play football again was a chance to fall in love with the game all over again. “I got a phone call from (Hawks captain) Ryan Bell saying there would be a semi-pro team in Cedar Springs. I had my doubts at first, but he assured me that I would fall in love with the game all over again, and he was right. After the very first practice, I had made up my mind that I would join this team, and help build it in any way possible. Plus, my Mom went to Cedar Springs, and she always wanted me to play after high school. I know she’s looking down on me smiling and cheering the team on. The became a member of this team because the owner is a class act man, and the Hawks play football the way it is supposed to be played: hard, and to the whistle with no quit.”

Owner/head coach David Lange added: “Darren is one of our bigger guys. He is an anchor for our linemen. He hits hard and he creates the holes needed for our backs. Darren is not afraid to get down and dirty in the trenches. He is a very physical player with a lot of heart.”

On July 18th, the Hawks will host the Grand Rapids Thunder, in the inaugural William W. Phillips Memorial game, which is dedicated to Darren’s grandfather, who recently passed away. It will also be a military appreciation night.

The Hawks will be off this weekend, as the league celebrates Independence Day. The team will be in action again on July 11th, as they travel to Detroit to take on the Michigan Renegades.

Shae Brophy is the Media/Public Relations Director for the West Michigan Hawks.

Posted in SportsComments Off

Rockford area kids triathlon


The 11th Annual Rockford Area Kids Triathlon is set to be held on Saturday July 11, 2015 at the Rockford North Middle School.  Races will start at 9:00 a.m. and participants should arrive an hour before race time.

This is a swim/bike/run event for children age 2-17 sponsored by the Rockford Public Safety, Kent County Sheriff’s Department, and the Michigan State Police. The purpose of the Kids Triathlon is not only to promote physical fitness to our children, but to give them positive alternatives to drugs and alcohol through athletic competition.

Every participant will receive a t-shirt, medal, and participation certificate. The top three boys and girls in each age group will receive a trophy. The cost of this race is $20.00 and all proceeds from this event will benefit the Michigan Special Olympics.

The following is a list of races, start times, age groups and the distances they will be performing in:



A 9:00am 16-17 400 yds 6 miles 3 miles
A 9:00am 14-15 400 yds 6 miles 3 miles
B 10:00am 12-13 200 yds 4 miles 2 miles
C 10:30am 10-11 200 yds 4 miles 2 miles
D 11:00am 8-9 100 yds 2 miles 1 mile
E 11:30am 6-7 100 yds 2 miles 1 mile
F 12:00pm 0-5 1 length 100 yds 100 yds

Awards will be presented at approximately 12:45pm.

For any questions or to register for this race please contact F/Lt Kevin Sweeney of the Michigan State Police at 517-719-1195 or by email at sweeneyk@michigan.gov

Posted in SportsComments Off