web analytics

Archive | Sports

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.


One of the new changes to the high school football rules for this year is an expanded definition of spearing an opponent with the helmet.

With all the attention on player safety and reducing the head-to-head collisions between players, this new definition of illegal helmet contact will better help officials, coaches, players and fans with what is illegal and must be penalized by rule.

Simply put, a spearing foul has taken place when any player hits an opponent with the crown, or top portion, of his helmet, as the first point of contact.

These fouls—where a player makes first contact with the crown of the helmet—must be called and enforced consistently throughout the season.

Posted in SportsComments Off on Be the Referee

Varsity Boys tennis begins new season

Left: junior Alex Robinson Right: freshman Dane Conely

Left: junior Alex Robinson
Right: freshman Dane Conely


The Cedar Springs varsity boy’s tennis team began their new season by traveling to Sparta on August 19, for the Sparta Invitational.

The Red Hawk singles and doubles tennis players competed against Sparta, Coopersville and Fremont, which ended in a third place finish for the team.

This year’s tennis team consists of 12 players and is coached by Katie Unsworth and assistant coach Mike Gariepy. Returning players from last season are seniors Ethan Brown and Blake Fisk; juniors Jon Baculy, Karsen Dingman, Drew French, Dylan Kolasa, Jared Liggett, Austin Nielson, and Tim Shovan; and sophomore Nick Hibbs. New to the team this year is junior Alex Robinson, and freshman Dane Conely.

“We have a very solid team this year and all the boys are playing well,” said Coach Unsworth. “It should be another great season for varsity boys tennis.”

Posted in Featured, SportsComments Off on Varsity Boys tennis begins new season

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.

Make The Call – Missed Field Goal 

Let’s get everyone in “football game shape” with the following You make the Call.

One team has the chance to kick a 50-yard field goal just before halftime. As the kicker approaches the ball being held at the 40-yard line, his plant leg slips and the kick comes up well short and wide, and it rolls out of bounds at the 4-yard line. Under high school rules, where will the team that forced the bad kick next snap the ball?

Believe it or not, under high school rules, missed field goals that roll out of bounds before reaching the goal line are treated just like a punt! The new offense will put the ball in play, first and 10, from the 4-yard line.

Posted in SportsComments Off on Be the referee

Hawks win last game of season 49-6


By Shae Brophy

The West Michigan Hawks completed their first season on Saturday evening, August 7, and in a very big way. The Hawks hosted the Michigan Grizzlies at Skinner Field, in a game that was dedicated to Charlie Finch and the Finch family. (Charlie Finch was killed in an auto accident earlier in the week.)

Things got off to a shaky start. Quarterback Jeff Krebs threw a pass that was intercepted and returned for a Grizzlies touchdown early in the first quarter. The two point attempt was stuffed by the Hawks, but the score was 6-0. From there, the Hawks took over. Krebs connected with wide receiver Darwin Mathis for a Hawks touchdown on the next drive, and Dontae Ensley’s extra point was up and good, giving the Hawks their first lead, 7-6. On their next drive, the Hawks moved the ball all the way down inside the 5 yard line, when Walter Trotter rumbled his way into the end zone for his first touchdown of the year. It was 14-6 Hawks.

S-West-Mich-hawks2Running back Jeremiah Trotter joined the fun on the next drive, also scoring his first touchdown of the season to make it 21-6 Hawks. On their last drive of the half, Krebs tossed a deep bomb to Ensley, who brought in the touchdown as the buzzer sounded to end the first half 29-6 Hawks.

The second half was no different than the first. In the third quarter, running back Kameron Snyder found the end zone for the first time this season, making it 36-6 Hawks. From there, running back Dre Grays took over the scoring. He recorded his first two touchdowns of the season, one in the third quarter and another on a 45-yard run in the 4th quarter. That made the final score 49-6 Hawks.

On top of a stellar game offensively, the Hawks made plenty of noise on defense as well. Safety Dylan Bogucki had two interceptions, and cornerback Omar Haynes had one. Cornerback Joel Paasch and linebacker Kameron Snyder both had fumble recoveries, and the defensive line/linebackers were in the backfield all evening, recording numerous sacks.

“The last game of the season showed me how much we grew as a team, yet we also grew as a family, and brothers in arms. The modern day gladiators,” said Dre Grays, who ran for two touchdowns in the game. “We do it all for the love of the game, and our beautiful fans. Also, I would like to send my love and prayers to the Finch family. Hawk for life!”

“I thought we played one heck of a game. What you saw at that game is just a glimpse of what is to come next season,” added head coach/owner David Lange. “Our guys played good hard football, and they played with intensity for four quarters. What makes me the happiest is the fact that we were able to raise $580 for the Finch family. I can’t imagine the pain that they are going through, and I truly hope that we were able to make their day at least a little bit better.”

The West Michigan Hawks would like to thank all of their fans who made this season possible. Without the fans, we would not be here! Thank to you every fan who came out to a game, followed us on Facebook, or visited our website. We appreciate every single one of you, and we can’t wait to see you again next season!

Posted in Featured, SportsComments Off on Hawks win last game of season 49-6

New rules


Reminders promote safety as 2015-16 sports year begins

from the MHSAA


The first practices began this week for approximately 110,000 student-athletes taking part in eight sports in which the MHSAA sponsors postseason tournaments. Football practice for more than 40,000 players began at MHSAA schools Monday, Aug. 10, followed by first practices for all other fall sports Aug. 12.

Each year, the MHSAA provides information to its member schools to help them prepare for hot weather practice and game conditions in the late summer and early fall. Those resources—including the MHSAA’s Model Policy for Managing Heat & Humidity—are available on the revamped MHSAA.com Health & Safety web page at http://www.mhsaa.com/schools/healthsafetyresources.

This also will be the second season for football practice changes made last fall to promote heat acclimatization and limit helmet-to-helmet contact. And last week, 70 MHSAA high schools from across Michigan received training to take part in one of two sideline concussion testing pilot programs expected to benefit 20,000 student-athletes over multiple sports.

“There’s been a lot of attention focused on football regarding head safety, but the fact is all school sports need attention to the safety of student-athletes,” MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said. “We’re addressing all sports at all levels, practice and competition, to make sure our staff, who are interacting with the young people, know the best practices for safety in school sports. And we’re trying to communicate to the public that school sports really are safer than ever.”

The MHSAA Representative Council adopted in 2013 the Model Policy for Managing Heat & Humidity that, while not mandated for member schools, has been adopted by many at the local level. The plan directs schools to begin monitoring the heat index at the activity site once the air temperature reaches 80 degrees and provides recommendations when the heat index reaches certain points, including ceasing activities when it rises above 104 degrees.

Roberts reminded that the first days of formal practices in hot weather should be more for heat acclimatization than the conditioning of athletes, and that practices in such conditions need planning to become longer and more strenuous over a gradual progression of time. He added schools also must consider moving practices to different times of day, different locations, or change practice plans to include different activities depending on the conditions.

To assist in acclimatization, the football practice rule changes of 2014 allow for only helmets to be worn during the first two days, only shoulder pads to be added on the third and fourth days, and full pads to not be worn until the fifth day of team practice. The policy in detail can be found on the Football page of the MHSAA Website at http://www.mhsaa.com/portals/0/documents/FB/practicepolicy.pdf.

Practice in football must begin on Aug. 10 for all schools wishing to begin regular-season games the weekend of Aug. 27-29. Schools must have 12 days of preseason practice at all levels before their first game, and those 12 days of practice may not occur before 16 calendar days.

Practice sessions for all other sports began Wednesday (Aug.12). In golf and tennis, competition may commence no earlier than after three separate days of team practice, and not before seven calendar days. The first day competition may take place in golf and tennis is Aug. 19. In all other fall sports, contests can take place after seven days of practice for the team and not before nine calendar days. The first day competition may take place in cross country, tennis, soccer, swimming and diving, and volleyball is Aug. 21.

This fall, two football dates precede Labor Day, and a number of MHSAA schools will play their first varsity games on Thursday, Aug. 27.  In Week 1, 123 varsity games will be played on Thursday, 176 contests will be played on Friday, and 14 games will be played on Saturday.

Continuing the focus on player safety, additional rules changes were made in football for 2015 that again focus on minimizing injury risk:

*The definition of unnecessary roughness was expanded to include excessive contact with an opponent, including a defenseless player, which incites roughness. A defenseless player can be considered one no longer involved in a play, a runner whose progress has been stopped, a player focused on receiving a kick or a receiver who has given up on an errant pass, or a player already on the ground. Unnecessary and excessive contact can include blindside blocks and players leaving their feet to contact an airborne receiver attempting to secure the ball.

*The grabbing of a quarterback’s facemask by a defensive player, if it does not including the twisting, pulling or turning of the facemask, will be ruled incidental and result in a five-yard penalty instead of a roughing-the-passer penalty and automatic first down.

*A 2014 rule change stated that the kicking team must have at least four players on each side of the kicker when ready-for-play is signaled; a change this season states four players must be lined up on each side of the kicker when the ball is kicked. That fourth player may shift after ready-for-play but before the kick to comply with this formation rule, but may not go in motion more than five yards behind the ball. If the shifting player travels more than five yards behind the ball, it is a dead-ball foul for encroachment.

A few notable changes will go into effect for other fall sports:

*In cross country, the loosening on what runners are allowed to wear during competition continued after a ban on jewelry was lifted in 2014. Runners also now may wear sunglasses, and previous restrictions have been eliminated for specific styles of head gear—ski bands, head bands, stocking caps and hoods attached to other clothing. Previously, those head gear had to meet criteria including color and size of brand logos displayed.

*In swimming and diving, the ban on wearing jewelry has been lifted. The National Federation of State High School Associations deemed the ban unnecessary because there is little risk of injury to the competitor or opponents.

The 2015 Fall campaign culminates with postseason tournaments beginning with the Upper Peninsula Girls Tennis Finals the week of Sept. 28, and wraps up with the 11-Player Football Playoff Finals on Nov. 27 and 28. L.P. Finals – Oct. 16-17


Posted in SportsComments Off on New rules

Meet the Hawks


By Shae Brophy

Meet #95, defensive tackle Walter Trotter. Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Trotter has played an essential role on the Hawks throughout the entire season. His athleticism has been extremely evident in every game played. Primarily used on the defensive side of the ball, he has caused trouble in opposing backfields every chance he has been given. A 2013 graduate of Crossroads Alternative High School in Kentwood, Walter has played football at the semi-pro level for two years, after playing one year in high school.

When Walter is not chasing quarterbacks around on the football field, he enjoys playing both basketball and video games. Some of his idols include (former Pittsburgh Steelers running back) Jerome Bettis, (NFL Hall of Fame defensive tackle) Warren Sapp, and (current Miami Dolphins defensive tackle) Ndamukong Suh.

“I wanted to be a Hawk because it’s a new team and I figured it could be something that I would love to be a part of. A way to find another family, and to play football again,” said Trotter.

When asked about Trotter, head coach/owner David Lange is clearly quite happy to have Trotter on his side of the ball. “One of the scariest things for a football player to see is an athletic big man who plays on the line, and can run a 4.7 second 40-yard dash. Walter is an absolute animal on the line. There is a reason he has been nominated by his teammates to play in the All Star Game. He has talent, he has heart, and he is an extremely solid athlete,” said Lange.

The Hawks will be in action again this Saturday, in their last game of the season. The game will be at Skinner Field, as the Hawks welcome in the Michigan Grizzlies. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., with the gates opening at 6. If you have not made it out to experience a Hawks game in person, you will not want to miss your last chance this season! We hope to see you there!

Posted in SportsComments Off on Meet the Hawks

Hawks fall to Jaguars 14-9 


Fail to qualify for postseason

By Shae Brophy

The West Michigan Hawks traveled to the east side of the state Saturday, August 1, for their last matchup of the regular season. The Motor City Jaguars played host to the Hawks in Detroit, on a hot and sunny afternoon. With the winner of this game advancing to the Crossroads Tournament, this was the biggest game of the season for both teams.

The Hawks started the scoring, earning a safety on an attempted Jaguars punt. The snap sailed over the punter’s head into the end zone, and with heavy pressure being applied by the Hawks, the punter was able to get to the ball first and bat it out the back of the end zone for the safety.

The score remained 2-0 until halfway through the second, when quarterback Jeff Krebs was stripped of the ball, and it was returned all the way for a Jaguars touchdown. The Jags converted on their two point attempt, making the score 8-2.

The Hawks responded just before halftime. Within reach of the end zone, Krebs pitched the ball to running back Nate Johnson, who then passed to a wide open Darwin Mathis in the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point from Dontae Ensley was good, making the score 9-8 Hawks, which it remained at halftime.

A key play occurred during the third quarter. With the Hawks still leading 9-8, Nate Johnson attempted his second trick-play pass of the day. The pass was intercepted in the end zone, and ran out to about the five-yard line. The Jaguars’ returner then ran backwards back into the end zone before being hit and fumbling the ball out of bounds. The referees initially called the play a safety, but after consulting with one another, the call was overturned and the Jaguars were given a touchback.

With three minutes remaining in the game, the Jaguars struck for a touchdown on a 25-yard passing play. The two point attempt was stuffed by the Hawks, however, making the score 14-9.  However, the Hawks were not able to score again. While the team did force a total of six turnovers (five on fourth down stops, one fumble recovery), they committed six of their own (two stops on fourth down, three fumbles, and interception).

“We had our chances to win the game,” said head coach David Lange. “There were a few times where we shot ourselves in the foot, which makes it hard to get momentum going. Are we disappointed we didn’t make it to the post-season? Yes, absolutely. But, considering the fact that nobody in this league expected us to win a single game, let alone have an opportunity to make it in to the post-season, speaks volumes about how far this team has come in such a short amount of time. Right now we have a bitter taste in our mouths, but the big picture is what we need to focus on. The amount of pride and respect I have for our guys cannot be put into words.”

Although the regular season has been completed, the Hawks do still have one non-league game left on their schedule. They will host the Michigan Grizzlies this Saturday at Skinner Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., with the gates opening at 6. For all the details on this game, 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 Off on Hawks fall to Jaguars 14-9 

Tennis tryouts


Cedar Springs High School holding practice/tryouts for the Boys Tennis Team on Wednesday, August 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. All participants must have their sports physical completed prior to August 12 and at the least have made a partial payment to the CSHS Athletics Dept. (Pay to Play requirement).

The link here will take you to the required forms:


Posted in SportsComments Off on Tennis tryouts

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 Off on Hawks drop close game to Vipers

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 Off on Meet the Hawks: Austin Garza