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Meet the Hawks: Charles Hodges

West Michigan Hawks quarterback Charles “Manny” Hodges

West Michigan Hawks quarterback Charles “Manny” Hodges

Meet West Michigan Hawks quarterback Charles “Manny” Hodges. A 2008 graduate from Creston High School, Hodges has experience in numerous different sports dating back to his high school days. Those sports include football, basketball, and track.

His biggest idols in life are his hard-working parents. When not on the football field, Hodges likes bowling and enjoying time with his kids.

“What made me want to be a West Michigan Hawk was the love and dedication of everyone that I tried out for this team with,” said Hodges.

Head coach David Lange is thrilled to have a competent signal caller on the team. “Manny is a phenomenal quarterback, and a great leader. He is definitely a guy who can take charge, and is also quite a play caller,” said Lange. “It definitely takes quite a bit to get him rattled.”

You can see Hodges and the West Michigan Hawks in action again this weekend, when they host the Southern Michigan Timberwolves at Skinner Field on Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m.

This week’s benefit is for Alan Beamer in his continued battle against Alzheimer’s Disease. Ticket are $6, with children 10 and under free.

We hope to see you there!

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Meet the Hawks: Brant Brooks Sr.

S-Meet-the-Hawks-Brant

Pictured with ball is West Michigan Hawks’ running back Brant Brooks Sr.

By Shae Brophy

Meet West Michigan Hawks running back Brant Brooks Sr. A 2006 graduate from Muskegon Heights High School, Brooks has always been a stand out on the football field. During his high school playing career, he earned All-Area honors at running back and corner back. After high school, he joined the semi-pro ranks. He has also played for two different arena league teams, and got a couple looks from college teams. He has played in three different championship games, but is still looking for his first championship ring.

Outside of playing football, Brooks’s hobbies include spending time with his family, coaching football, and helping his son achieve his dreams in the game of football.

His biggest idol is his older brother David Sain, who recently passed away. “He has always inspired me, and I still look up to him,” said Brooks.

“I wanted to join the Hawks because I heard nothing but good things about them,” he said. “When I came to check them out, Coach Lange and the rest of the staff welcomed me with open arms and made me feel right at home, like this is where I’m supposed to be. I love this team and my teammates, and I’m honored to be a part  of this movement. This is going to be a great year for the Hawks, and I’m proud to be able to say that I’m a part of it.”

“Brant is a very hard worker,” said head coach/owner David Lange. “He never stops moving his feet, and hits the holes with a lot of power. It’s no easy task to bring him down once he hits his stride. His tackle-breaking ability is top notch, as well. He brings an element to this team that we desperately needed, and we are very grateful that he is on our side.”

You can see Brooks and the Hawks in action this Saturday at Skinner Field, when they begin the conference portion of their schedule. The Kalamazoo Grizzlies are coming to town, as the team hosts a benefit for Alan Beamer in his continued battle against Alzheimer’s Disease. There will be a 50/50 raffle, prizes, and donation jars, with all proceeds going to the Beamer family.

Tickets are $6 a piece, with children under 10 receiving free admission. Gates open at 5 p.m. with kickoff scheduled for 6. We hope to see you there!

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Be the Referee

By Mark Uyl, Asst. Director, MHSAA

Be the Referee is a weekly message from the Michigan High School Athletics Association that is designed to help educate people on the rules in different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

Slide Rule 

Recently there’s been a lot of conversation and discussion about Major League Baseball’s new slide rule – both at second base, as well as some of the new collision rules that are in effect around home plate.

For many years at the high school level, both baseball and softball playing rules have been ahead of the curve in keeping players safe.

In both high school baseball and softball, when runners do elect to slide, they must slide directly into the base on a force play. On those plays at the plate, runners must do everything they can do to avoid a collision with the catcher; by either making a legal slide, giving themselves up, or moving in a way to make those collisions at home plate a thing of the past.

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WM Hawks battle on breast cancer awareness night

The West Michigan Hawks played for breast cancer awareness last Saturday. Photo by Marcie Crouch.

The West Michigan Hawks played for breast cancer awareness last Saturday.
Photo by Marcie Crouch.

By Shae Brophy

A beautiful evening at Skinner Field on Saturday led to an incredible football game. The Indiana Wolf Pack made their way to town to take on the West Michigan Hawks, in a game that ended in a 22-22 tie.

The Hawks came out swinging to start this one. After forcing a three-and-out on the first Indiana possession of the game, West Michigan quickly marched down the field and scored the first touchdown of the game on a Robert Bell quarterback keeper from two yards out, making the score 7-0, which held up as the score at the end of the first quarter.

The Wolf Pack made some adjustments after that point, and took control of the game. After scoring two touchdowns in the second quarter, Indiana carried a 16-7 lead into halftime.

Taking possession to start the second half, the Hawks fumbled on their first two offensive plays, one of which was returned all the way back to the end zone for an Indiana touchdown. The score was 22-7 in favor of the Wolf Pack early in the third quarter, when the Hawks changed the tide of the game. On the ensuing two point conversion attempt by Indiana, Jalin George picked up a fumble and ran it from one end of the field all the way to the other for two points, making the score 22-9.

Wide receiver John Ross made a tough catch over the middle of the field and ran 47 yards for a touchdown on the next Hawks possession, which made the score 22-15. After forcing a turnover on defense, the Hawks scored again on their next drive after a pass was tipped into the air and grabbed in stride by wide receiver Monta Swanigan. The play was good for an 80-yard touchdown, which tied the game.

After a scoreless fourth quarter, which featured scoring chances for both teams, it was determined that there would be no overtime and the game ended in a tie.

“Nobody likes a tie, especially as we made a huge comeback and had momentum on our side. I thought we fought hard,” said head coach David Lange. “We  faced adversity and overcame. We still have a lot to work on, but we definitely took a step in the right direction. I’d say we are ready for the Kalamazoo Grizzlies.”

Stephanie Cornwell, who was the recipient of the benefit for breast cancer awareness, received an anonymous $1,000 donation as a result of the benefit.

With Memorial Day weekend slated as an off week for the team, the Hawks will be back in action on June 4th at Skinner Field when they welcome the Kalamazoo Grizzlies to town. The benefit for this game will for Alan Beamer, who is battling Alzheimer’s Disease. We hope to see you then!

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Meet the Hawks: JaVon Welch

West Michigan Hawks linebacker JaVon Welch

West Michigan Hawks linebacker JaVon Welch

By Shae Brophy

Meet West Michigan Hawks linebacker JaVon Welch. A versatile athlete, Welch played numerous sports in high school, including basketball, football, track and field, swimming, and bowling. After high school at Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills, Welch went on to play college football at Valparaiso University. Upon the conclusion of his time at Valparaiso, he jumped on the opportunity to join the semi-pro ranks.

After playing with the Lakeshore Cougars last season, a season in which he was voted into the All-Star game and named as the All-Star Game MVP, he decided to make his way over to Cedar Springs to play with the Hawks.

Welch, whose biggest idols are his father Kevin Welch and brothers Keyven Welch and Amir Harris-Welch, also has some coaching experience in semi-pro ranks. He spent a full season as a defensive coordinator.

When Welch isn’t on the field, he enjoys hunting and fishing with his father and brothers.

When asked why he wanted to come to Cedar Springs and be a member of the Hawks organization he said, “I played a tournament game with them, and I noticed what they did off the field. I was very impressed. I wanted in!”

Head coach/owner David Lange is glad that Welch is on his side, and not an opponent. “JaVon is a proven leader. He shows it time and time again. He is an outstanding linebacker, and is the kind of hitter that make running backs think twice before running to his side.”

You can see Welch and the Hawks in action again a week from Saturday at Skinner Field when they host the Kalamazoo Grizzlies at Skinner Field. We hope to see you there!

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Sports physicals for 2016-17 school year available in June

Sports physicals for the 2016-17 school year will be held on Thursday, June 16, 2016 and Wednesday, August 3, 2016 at Cherry Health (behind Red Hawk Elementary) from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Call ahead for an appointment at 616-696-3470.

Students must bring a signed parental consent form and an MHSAA physical card to the appointment. Forms are available in the High School Athletic Office or online at http://highschool.csredhawks.org/Athletics/index.html.

Please remember to complete the medical history section of the physical card before the student’s appointment. Parents are encouraged to attend the visit.

Services are provided regardless of ability to pay and no money is needed at the time of visit. However, services may be billed to insurance when possible, so please have your insurance or Medicaid card available.

Completed physical forms are required.

Per MHSAA, all 2016-17 athletes must have a physical on file dated after April 15, 2016.

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Sam Taylor signs to play at Muskegon Community College

S-Taylor-signing-with-MCC

Cedar Springs High School senior Sam Taylor has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her basketball career at Muskegon Community College.

Sam is a four-year letter winner for the Red Hawks basketball team. Over the past two seasons, Taylor was team captain and compiled averages of 7.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. She was often tasked with defending the other team’s top player.

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Hawks fight elements to benefit Brison Ricker

 

By Shae Brophy

On a cold Saturday evening at Skinner Field, the West Michigan Hawks went to battle with a very game Lake Michigan Havoc team in a benefit game for Cedar Springs resident Brison Ricker.

A scoreless first quarter was highlighted by a blocked field goal by Hawks safety Robert Bell. The second quarter saw Lake Michigan jump out to a 12-0 lead, which they brought into the locker room at halftime. Bell had another highlight reel play in the quarter, however, when he intercepted a pass over the middle of the field.

The Hawks struggled to move the ball in the third quarter, as the Havoc opened up a 24-0 lead. Darius Bell recovered a fumble in the quarter for West Michigan, which was the lone highlight of the quarter for the Hawks.

The Havoc scored another touchdown early in the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 30-0. Darnell Madison gave the Hawks some momentum on the ensuing kickoff, as he rumbled all the way up to the Havoc 35-yard line before finally being caught. The Havoc also committed a personal foul penalty on the return, allowing the Hawks to start from the 20-yard line. Javon Welch got the Hawks on the board later in the drive on a seven-yard touchdown scamper, closing the gap to 30-6.

After a botched snap on an attempted Havoc punt, the Hawks recovered the ball in Lake Michigan territory on the next drive. Monta Swanigan capitalized on the good starting field position, reeling in a pass from Brant Brooks for a 22-yard touchdown. After the two-point conversion, the score was 30-14, which held up as the final score.

“We had a tough night,” said head coach David Lange. “We learned a very important lesson in this game. Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard, and we didn’t work hard enough. We made a lot of little mistakes on defense, and our offense wasn’t consistent enough.”

Despite the final score, the Hawks were able to raise $247 for Brison Ricker, as he continues his fight against a brain tumor.

The Hawks will be in action again this Saturday at Skinner Field, when they host the Indiana Wolf Pack. The team will be putting on another benefit during this game, as well. Stephanie Cornwell, who is battling breast cancer, will receive the benefits from a 50/50 drawing, as well as other giveaways. Gates open at 5 p.m. with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m. We hope to see you there!

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Meet the Hawks: Eric Freeman

West Michigan Hawks linebacker Eric Freeman

West Michigan Hawks linebacker Eric Freeman

By Shae Brophy

Meet West Michigan Hawks linebacker Eric Freeman. A 2007 graduate from Wyoming Park High School, Freeman has always stood out on the gridiron. After being named a captain in each of the first three years of high school, he took his senior year off to prepare for college ball. Freeman was a preferred walk-on at Michigan State University under defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. After careful consideration, Freeman decided to transfer to Grand Rapids Community College to not only be able to play, but also to see if he was mature enough for the college lifestyle.

Freeman’s biggest idol is his grandfather, German Lopez. “He worked at a camp in Cuba for two years basically for free so that he could legally come to the USA with my mother and grandmother,” said Freeman. “He came here knowing zero English, building his life from the ground up, allowing my siblings and I to live the blessed and fortunate lives that we live.”

When he isn’t laying devasting hits on the football field, Freeman enjoys trying to identify which sports his three-year-old son enjoys, lifting, playing basketball, and his PlayStation.

“Mr. David Lange is very serious about this organization,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself and bigger than football. Mr. Lange and I had multiple conversations, and the simple fact that we play all of our games for a greater cause, whether it be Mr. Alan Beamer and his fight against Alzheimer’s Disease, or Brison Ricker and his fight against a brain tumor, made this a very easy decision. Every game is played for a much bigger reason than just the game we love.”

Head coach/owner David Lange sees something special in Freeman. “Eric is our run stopper without a doubt,” he said. “You’d have better success trying to run through a wall. He is very smart at his position and is a great teacher as well. He brings so much intensity and tenacity to our defense, it’s scary. Eric is a monster and a go-getter, exactly the type of player you want on your team.”

We hope to see you at Skinner Field on Saturday evening as the Hawks benefit Stephanie Cornwell in her fight against breast cancer. The Indiana Wolf Pack are coming to town, and the Hawks have vengeance on their minds!

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JV golf wrapping up season

 

The Cedar Springs Boy’s JV Golf team finished up the OK Bronze season this past week with matches at Glenkerry (Greenville) and English Hills (FHN).

Monday the boys shot a 215 to finish in 5th. Cade O’Conner was medalists with a 50, Dylan Tanis 52, Jarred Reyers 54, and Ethan Brown 59. Wednesday the golfers finished 3rd with a 209. Tanis was medalist with 48, Reyers 51, Kevin Galloway 55 and O’Conner 55.

“The guys have played better,” said Coach London. “We have one more week to improve, so I am hoping to see some good scores.”

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