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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!

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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!

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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.

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Meet the Hawks: Corey Steele

S-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.

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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.

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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.

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Rockford area kids triathlon

S-KidsTriathalon-graphics

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:

RACE APPROX. 

START TIME

AGE SWIM BIKE RUN
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

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Meet the Hawks: Ryan Bell

S-Meet-the-Hawks-Ryan-Bell-web

By Shae Brophy

Meet wide receiver Ryan Bell. Originally from Howard City, Michigan, Bell is currently leading the Hawks in touchdowns, with two receiving touchdowns through three games. He has been involved with football since his days in high school, where he won numerous awards. Some of those awards included a four-year player award, a captain’s award, as well as the Hammer Award, for the hardest hit of the season. Bell is a veteran in the league, having played for the Grand Rapids Thunder last season. He holds the league record for most tackles in a season, with 103 total tackles last year—a year in which he was also chosen as the third overall draft selection in the league all star game.

Some of Ryan’s hobbies other than football include going to church and carpentry. Bell also dedicates a significant amount of free time to the Grand Rapids Recovery Committee, which is an organization designed to help those with drug addictions. A few of Bell’s idols include Tim Tebow, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and author James Patterson’s fictional character Dr. Alex Cross.

When asked why he chose to be a member of the Hawks, Bell had a very specific answer. “2014 was a rough rookie year (with the Thunder) having not won a game all year, and not to mention never being given a real chance to show my versatility and play offense, despite accumulating 110 yards and a touchdown in the final two games of the season. The Hawks gave me a fresh start and a chance to be an integral part in building a successful franchise from the ground up.”

Owner/head coach David Lange had this to say about Bell: “Ryan is a leader, point blank. He knows the game and does an awesome job with making sure everyone is on the same page. Ryan is what I consider our possession receiver. Though he may not be the fastest, he is definitely one that can always find a way to come down with the ball when it is sent his way.”

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

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Hawks game rescheduled

 

The game between the West Michigan Hawks and the Motor City Jaguars, which was scheduled to be played in Detroit last weekend, was postponed until August 1, because of issues with the scheduling of the field.

But the Hawks will be in action at home this weekend, when they host the Wayne County Bengals, in a divisional matchup. The game will be held at Skinner Field on Saturday, June 27, with the doors opening at 6 p.m., and kickoff slated for 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 a piece, and can be purchased at the door. Hope to see you there!

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Overcoming the pain

 

Cedar Springs resident to swim in Meijer State Games

Stacie Carr, of Cedar Springs, will swim in the Meijer State Games.

Stacie Carr, of Cedar Springs, will swim in the Meijer State Games.

By Kenneth DeGraaf

The opening ceremony for the 2015 Meijer State Games of Michigan–Summer Games is just a week away, and the games will include a swimmer from Cedar Springs, who is participating despite the pain she faces on a daily basis.

Born in Wyoming, Michigan, and currently a resident of Cedar Springs, 28-year old Stacie Carr considers swimming her hobby and passion only second to her husband, Cody, and newborn baby girl, Clare. Her goal in the sport is simple, to always be better than the previous day. “I want to be faster every time I am in the water,” Stacie said. Stacie began swimming competitively at the age of 12, following right in her father’s footsteps. Her dad was a swimmer in high school and they had a houseboat growing up, so getting involved in the sport was nearly inevitable for Stacie.

Stacie with her husband, Cody, and newborn baby girl, Clare.

Stacie with her husband, Cody, and newborn baby girl, Clare.

Things aren’t always easy for Stacie, however, as she is a victim of Reflect Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome. “It is a chronic pain condition that affects my nervous system,” Stacie explained. “I have had 10+ surgeries over the last 8.5 years including an implanted spinal cord stimulator to help block the pain signal from getting to my brain. I cannot feel my lower left leg except internal pain, so getting used to that while also trying to be a better swimmer has been quite the change.”

Despite the challenges she has faced, Stacie has won her fair share of medals and ribbons over the past 16 years, and she hopes this year’s Meijer State Games of Michigan will present her with another opportunity. The main goal, however, has always gone back to improving herself. “I am going to try to better my most recent times in my events,” Stacie responded when asked about her desired accomplishments for this year’s event. Throughout her years of participation in the State Games, Stacie has always seen the event as an opportunity to compete against some of the best in Michigan while keeping her on her toes and giving her something to really train for.

One phrase Stacie loves to live by is, “There is always someone better than you.” She uses this phrase on a daily basis as a means to engage in positive sportsmanship. “There is always someone better than you and in my opinion the relationships you make doing what you love are far more important than the ribbons and medals,” Stacie explained. When asked about her methods of maintaining a healthy living, Stacie responded, “I try to watch what I eat and workout 3-5 times a week even if it’s just little things. My husband and I had a baby recently so finding time can be difficult but including her in it is also important to me.”

Through the challenges of raising a family in addition to her diagnosis of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, it would be easy to understand why Stacie might give up on her lifelong passion of swimming. But for Stacie, these have been nothing but minor obstacles in the way of her main objective. “My goals are to always be better than I was the previous day, in all aspects of life.”

The Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event(s) that welcome athletes regardless of age or ability level. The Games embody the values of participation, sportsmanship and healthy living.

The opening ceremony will take place at Fifth Third Ballpark. on June 26, starting at 7:30 p.m.

For more info on events, visit stategamesofmichigan.com.

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