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West Michigan Hawks win big again 

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Improve to 4-0

By Shae Brophy

Saturday evening, the Hawks paid a visit to Vicksburg High School to square off with the Kalamazoo Grizzlies. After a 50-8 Hawks victory in the first matchup of the season, the Hawks took the field with plenty of confidence. Considering that the Grizzlies also guaranteed a victory this time around, the Hawks used the word “guarantee” as the mantra for this game.

After a bit of a sluggish start, the Hawks took a 3-0 lead on a 38-yard field goal by kicker Jacob Hardy. That score held until the end of the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, running back Eric Woodfork took a 15-yard run to the house for a touchdown, improving the score to 9-0. Wide receiver Monta Swanigan added to the lead later in the quarter with a 17-yard receiving touchdown, giving the Hawks a 15-0 lead at the half.

Quarterback Charles Manny Hodges rumbled his way into the end zone in the third quarter on a one-yard quarterback keeper, extending the lead to 21-0. The Grizzlies found the end zone for the only time of the evening on their next drive, returning an interception for a touchdown. After three quarters, the Hawks held a 21-6 lead.

The Hawks put the pedal to the medal in the fourth quarter. Swanigan pulled in his second touchdown of the game, a 22-yard pass, early in the quarter. Defensive end Rick Loper found the end zone after returning an interception the distance for a touchdown, and Swanigan scored his third touchdown of the game on the next Hawks possession. The Hawks’ defense also recorded a safety in the quarter. When all was said and done, the Hawks brought home a 45-6 victory.

Chaz Watford had an impressive day defensively, pulling in two interceptions, as well as breaking up another pass. In total, the Hawks forced seven turnovers (two interceptions for Watford, Loper interception, Court McSwain interception, Darnell Madison interception, Javon Welch interception, Nick Steimel interception), while they also had six turnovers of their own.

It was just another day at the office for Swanigan, who ripped off his second consecutive game with three receiving touchdowns.

Although West Michigan won big on the scoreboard, the Hawks were penalized for a total of 150 yards, including six personal foul penalties.

“We played a solid game,” said head coach David Lange. “We got off to a slow start, which has become somewhat of a trend, and is something that we need to work on. We also need to work on our consistency, but in the end, it’s hard to be too upset about a 45-6 victory.”

With the victory, the Hawks are now the only undefeated team remaining in the Minor Leauge Football Alliance’s “Big Eight” division.

The Hawks will enjoy the holiday weekend with a bye week, and will be in action again on July 9, when they make the trip to Battle Creek for a tilt with the Coyotes.

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Meet the Hawks: Ryan Williams

 

Ryan Williams

Ryan Williams

By Shae Brophy

Meet West Michigan Hawks safety/kick returner Ryan Williams. Originally from Muskegon, Michigan, Williams graduated from Muskegon High School in 2012. This is his fourth season playing in the semi-pro football ranks.

One of his biggest role models is Martin Luther King Jr. “I look up to historical figures who did more than just talk,” said Williams. When he isn’t on the field for the Hawks, Williams enjoys playing basketball and flag football.

“Ryan is an incredible safety,” said head coach/owner David Lange. “He is a huge asset for the defense, and a big contributor towards the overall success of our defense. His explosive speed is tackle breaking ability is a big reason as to why he has success returning punts and kickoffs.”

Like a lot of his teammates, Williams heard big things about the Hawks and was hopeful to be a part of the team. “I heard about the team and the things they do, and wanted to give it a try. I liked what I saw,” he said. “I also love that Coach Lange wants everyone to get involved with the community. It’s a good feeling to know that we have created a fan base for the team, as well.”

Williams and the Hawks will enjoy a bye week over the holiday weekend, and will be back in action on July 9th when they travel to face the Battle Creek Coyotes.

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Officials registration underway

 

The Michigan High School Athletic Association is accepting registrations by mail and online for game officials for the 2016-17 school year.

The MHSAA annually receives registration by more than 10,000 officials, and had 10,043 during the 2015-16 school year. The highest total of officials registered for basketball, 4,265, with football, softball and baseball all with more than 2,000 registered officials during this school year.

For all new and returning officials, those who register online again will receive a $5 discount off their processing fees. A $15 fee is charged for each sport in which an official wishes to register, and the online processing fee is $35. Officials submitting registration forms by mail or on a walk-up basis will incur a $40 processing fee. Officials registered in 2015-16 will be assessed a late fee of $30 for registration after Aug. 1. The processing fee includes liability insurance coverage up to $1 million for officials while working contests involving MHSAA schools.

Online registration can be accessed by clicking “Officials” on the home page of the MHSAA Website at www.mhsaa.com. Forms also are available online that can be printed and submitted by traditional mail or hand delivery to the MHSAA Office. More information about officials registration may be obtained by contacting the MHSAA at 1661 Ramblewood Drive, East Lansing, MI, 48823, by phone at (517) 332-5046 or by e-mail at register@mhsaa.com.

There is an officials’ registration test for first-time officials and officials who were not registered during the past school year. The test consists of 45 questions derived from the MHSAA Officials Guidebook, which also is available on the Officials page of the MHSAA Website. Additional 50-question exams must be taken by those registering for football or basketball for the first time or those who were not registered for those sports during the previous school year. Manuals for both sports also are available on the Officials page. New officials also must complete the online MHSAA Principles of Officiating course, also available on the MHSAA Website.

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Meet the Hawks: Nick Steimel

West Michigan Hawk Nick Steimel and his girlfriend, Brittney McCarthy.

West Michigan Hawk Nick Steimel and his girlfriend, Brittney McCarthy.

By Shae Brophy

Meet West Michigan Hawks defensive end/tight end Nick Steimel. Originally from Grand Rapids, Steimel moved to Cedar Springs during second grade, graduating from Cedar Springs High School in 2007. He has played football since his youth, and has also coached one year of rocket football. While in school, he also played baseball and was on the bowling team, and also played AYBT basketball during the summer.

Nick’s biggest role model is his father, Walter Steimel. “He’s the most hard-working person i know,” Nick said. “He’s the one that has shown me with dedication and hard work you can accomplish anything in life. Growing up he made sure i had all the right tools to succeed whether it was bringing me to practice, or in my later years helping me pay for college. I can’t express how grateful I am to have him as a father.”

When not on the football field, Steimel enjoys disc golf, recreational basketball and softball, and spending time with friends and family.

“What makes me want to be part of the West Michigan Hawks is the positive influence and impact the team strives to have on people,” he said. “You won’t see that out of other semi-pro teams. The fact that I can be part of a team that can help a person in need while doing what I love is truly a blessing. The people we dedicate games to are people that are part of the community I grew up in, which makes this team that much more special to me.”

“Nick has amazing work ethic,” said head coach/owner David Lange. “His motor never stops going, and he is a great teammate. He’s the kind of guy that any coach would be glad to have on their team.”

Steimel and the Hawks will be on the road again this weekend, as they travel to Kalamazoo for a matchup with the Grizzlies. As always, you are encouraged to make the trip with the team and cheer them on in enemy territory!

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Hawks improve to 3-0 with blowout win over West Michigan Bulls

West Michigan Hawks

West Michigan Hawks

By Shae Brophy

On the heels of the biggest win in franchise history, the West Michigan Hawks hit the road for their first game away from Skinner Field this season. The 1 p.m. start also marked the team’s first afternoon game of the season.

The Hawks would not allow either of those things stop them from showcasing a dominating performance on the field, as they came home with a 56-8 victory. Wide receiver Monta Swanigan had three receiving touchdowns on the day, while Robert Bell had two (one receiving, one fumble return) of his own. Dontae Ensley, also brought in a receiving touchdown, and Jeremiah Cochran took one to the house on a run. Cornerback Omar Haynes also found the end zone, taking an interception all the way back for the score. Quarterback Charles Manny Hodges threw for all five of the touchdowns that the team scored through the air.

“It was a great day to deal with adversity. Not the bad, but the good adversity,” said Bell. “We were tested in the first half and played comfortably, but the moment the second half started, we were able to take away from what we did a week ago and add to our great performance as a team.”

The Bulls found the end zone for the only time during the second quarter.

Although the Hawks only took a 14-8 lead into the locker room at halftime, the team knew that they were better than the performance they exhibited in the first half.

“We just had to execute better,” said head coach David Lange. “After a big win last week, I think we may have been guilty of not playing to our full potential in the first half this week, which is something that was addressed during halftime. As you can see by the final score, we turned it on in the second half, and brought home a really big win.”

Next up for the Hawks is another road game. The team will travel to take on the Kalamazoo Grizzlies on Saturday. We would like to see you travel with the team for another big matchup! For details on where the game will be played, be sure to follow the West Michigan Hawks on Facebook!

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Meet the Hawks: Jeremy Schreiber

Meet

West Michigan Hawks lineman Jeremy Schreiber

West Michigan Hawks lineman Jeremy Schreiber

. A 2008 graduate from Cedar Springs High School, Schreiber has played football since he was eight years old. He also threw shot put and discus on the track and field team from seventh grade until graduation, and coached rocket football all throughout high school.

Jeremy’s biggest role models are his mother Wendy Schreiber, and his uncle Travis Nichols. “My mom taught me to how to persevere when things aren’t going your way, and to make the best of what you have,” he said. “As for my uncle, he’s always been there for me, whether it was being in the chain gang of my first football game, or helping me catch my first fish.”

When he isn’t on the gridiron, Jeremy enjoys shooting, working on cars, and spending time with his kids.

“I had heard about the Hawks, but I didn’t really consider playing for the team until Coach Lange contacted me and asked me to come out to a practice,” said Schreiber. “After I got to see what the organization is all about, and the work I saw from the guys on the team, I figured it would be great to lace up the cleats and play again for my home town team.”

Head coach David Lange enjoys Jeremy’s work ethic, amongst many other things. “Jeremy is a very hard working football player. He is smart and consistent, especially with his play recognition. He is a very solid lineman who does very well fighting in the trenches.”

The Hawks will hit the road for the first time this season on Saturday, as they travel to Kalamazoo to take on the West Michigan Bulls. As always, you’re welcome to make the trip with the team!

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West Michigan Hawks improve to 2-0 in conference play

Running back Brant Brooks running to the end zone. Photo by M Crouch.

Running back Brant Brooks running to the end zone. Photo by M Crouch.

Fresh off a 50-8 drubbing of the Kalamazoo Grizzlies to open the conference portion of their schedule, the Hawks welcomed highly touted Southern Michigan Timberwolves to Skinner Field on Saturday. The Timberwolves had scored 84 points in a non-conference game this season, and were coming off a 62-24 victory the week prior. To say the odds were against the Hawks would be an understatement.

With emotions running high, the Hawks took the field on a mission to make a statement. In the end, they did just that. West Michigan squeaked out a 19-18 victory in double overtime, officially putting the rest of the Minor League Football Alliance on notice.

Running back Brant Brooks started the scoring on a 30-yard touchdown catch on a pass from quarterback Charles Manny Hodges, putting the Hawks up 6-0 in the first quarter. From that point on, the game turned into an intense battle for field position. The score remained 6-0 at halftime.

Both teams continued their defensive intensity in the second half. The Timberwolves were finally able to break into the end zone with 12 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, evening the score at 6-6.

Fireworks ensued in the final minute of regulation. With the Hawks pinned down at their own one-yard line, Hodges found wide receiver Monta Swanigan on a deep pass for a 99-yard touchdown with 43 seconds remaining, the longest scoring play in team history. That made the score 12-6 in favor of the Hawks. Southern Michigan responded by marching down the field and scoring the tying touchdown seconds later, but opted to go for the two-point conversion for the win, which was stuffed by the Hawks.

The overtime session was played under NCAA rules, with both teams getting a chance with the ball. Neither team scored in the first overtime. The Timberwolves found the end zone in the second overtime period, pushing the score to 18-12 in favor of Southern Michigan. On the following Hawks possession, Hodges found the end zone on a one-yard quarterback sneak, tying the score at 18, and setting up a dramatic extra point attempt for kicker Dontae Ensley. After missing on his first attempt, a penalty on the Timberwolves gave him another chance to seal the deal. His second attempt was up and good, securing the 19-18 Hawks victory.

“We knew this game was going to be a tough one,” said Ensley.  We were facing the best opponent we have seen yet. We stuck to our game plan, and blocked out all of the predictions saying that we would be blown out. We showed them that we are not a push over team. It may have taken us two overtimes to do it, but we came home with the win.”

Omar Haynes, Robert Bell, and Darnell Madison all had interceptions for the Hawks, and Javon Welch also secured a fumble recovery.

“I think all questions concerning the heart and dedication of the Hawks have been answered,” said head coach/owner David Lange. “We played against a team with a 56-man roster who had fresh legs almost every play, and still found a way to win in. It was very inspiring.”

This week, the Hawks will find themselves playing in enemy territory for the first time this season. The team will travel to Kalamazoo for a matchup with the West Michigan Bulls. For information on this matchup, be sure to follow the team on Facebook.

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Rockford senior heading to National High School Rodeo finals

Riann Graff and Cool Cash Seven

Riann Graff and Cool Cash Seven

Riann Graff, a 17-year-old senior year at Rockford High School, has qualified for the second year in a row to represent Michigan at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyoming July 17–23.

The NHSFR is the “World’s Largest Rodeo,” featuring approximately 1,500 contestants from across the United States, Canada and Australia. The national finals can be seen live on CINCHtv.com

Riann qualified for barrel racing at the 2015 finals but due to no fault of her own was unable to attend. This year she stepped it up and qualified in both barrel racing and pole bending. She also will be representing Michigan as a member of the highly sought after Cinch All Star Team.

When asked after she found out she had qualified Riann said, “I worked really hard to make it again this year. My horse was injured at the beginning of the season and I couldn’t run her at two of the rodeos. I wasn’t sure if I could actually make up those missed points. Every rodeo and every point is so important because there are great riders with some really good horses in the Michigan High School Rodeo Association! “

Riann also graduated from Rockford this year with Magna Cum Laude honors, is a member of the Kent County 4H, and was part of the Rockford Jr/Sr High School Equestrian Teams for 6 years. She would like to thank the many people who helped her make it to the finals this year; her sponsor Razerhorse, her past coaches and trainers, the MHSRA family, Julee Pavelka, and her veterinarian, Jeffrey Bunn, at Equine Medical who took such great care of her horse when she was injured.

Riann is accepting donations and/or sponsorships to help fund her trip to Wyoming. Anyone interested please send correspondence to nangoblue@aol.com

For more information on joining the MHSRA, please visit their website at www.mihsra.com

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Two Red Hawks compete at state track finals

Remington Sawade (left) and Dallas Mora (right) at the Division II State Finals on June 4.

Remington Sawade (left) and Dallas Mora (right) at the Division II State Finals on June 4.

Two members of the Cedar Springs High School boys track team competed at the Division II State Finals on June 4 in Zeeland, Michigan.

Sophomore Dallas Mora finished 34th in a packed field in the 3200m on Saturday.  Dallas cut 15 seconds off his previous personal best time at the regional track meet two weeks ago to qualify for the state meet with a time of 9:58. By qualifying for the state track meet, Dallas is a two-time State qualifier as a sophomore. He qualified for cross country last fall and track this spring.

Senior Remington Sawade was the regional champ in pole vaulting, which qualified him to compete at the state finals. He ended his high school vaulting career as an All-State vaulter, earning a 5th place finish with a vault of 13’10”.  Next fall he will be heading to Michigan State University to study engineering as part of the Air Force ROTC program.

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MS boys track team goes undefeated

S-Track-MS-boys

 

The Cedar Springs Middle School boys track team had an outstanding performance this spring. Coached by Kevin Martens and Steve Banagis, the boys finished their season undefeated. The season came to a close on June 1 at the Megastar meet in Shepherd. Athletes qualified for this meet by ranking in the top 16 for each individual event and in the top eight for relay teams. The coaches accompanied 10 young men to the meet, and they competed in the large school division. While there, the boys displayed just how much they had learned from their coaches through their amazing performances, including personal bests, medals, and even new school records.

Individual medal winners for the meet included Michael Pigorsh placing fourth in the 800 meter with a time of 2:13.67; Jaydon Moleski placing third in the 1600 meter with a time of 5:00.51; and Nate Perry placing fourth in the 400 meter with a time of 55.56. Corey Bowers and Landon Totten also represented the school in the 3200 meter and the shot put, respectively. The school also had three qualifying relay teams. Landon Totten, Da’Monte Barnett, Ben VanDusen, and Ben Shaw represented the Hawks in the 800 meter relay. A close race was had in the 1600 meter relay, where Jaydon Moleski, Zak Schmid, Michael Pigorsh, and Nate Perry received a third place medal for the event with a time of 3:51.74, finishing just 1.32 seconds behind the overall event winner. While not quite fast enough to win the event, the boys did leave their mark with a new school record.  The school record for the 3200 meter relay was also broken at the Megastar.  The team of Michael Pigorsh, Zak Schmid, Brendon Carlson, and Jaydon Moleski finished with a time of 9:12.65 seconds to become not only the division champion, but the overall event champion as well.

Congratulations to not only these athletes, but the entire Cedar Springs Middle School track team and coaches on a great season.

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