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Tag Archive | "Alan Beamer"

West Michigan Hawks call it quits


Three-year-old Libby Walla led the team onto the field to start the last home game they played on July 23. They raised $933 to help in her fight against periventricular leukomalasia.

Three-year-old Libby Walla led the team onto the field to start the last home game they played on July 23. They raised $933 to help in her fight against periventricular leukomalasia.

By Shae Brophy

In a surprising announcement, West Michigan Hawks owner David Lange has confirmed that the team has ceased operations after losing several players. Due to this, the team did not play in their scheduled playoff game on August 13 against the Battle Creek Coyotes. Their playoff spot was filled by the Lima Warriors.

“This stems beyond the issues that the Hawks had,” said Lange. “This is an issue with semi pro football in general. There are a lot of issues at this level that I do not find acceptable. Some examples include owners allowing their players to drink on alcohol free grounds; (players/coaches) starting fights with no consequence; players fighting with other players, refs, coaches, owners etc. These are only a few things out of many that cross my mind or that have happened. It was my dream and passion to not only put on a great family event, but to help those in need in the process. It takes a collective effort from all teams involved to make these things happen, and I do not feel that we can successfully do that, as there are only a handful of semi pro teams who aspire to do the same.”

The Hawks had a two-year run in the Minor League Football Alliance, which saw them win the league’s “Organization of the Year” award in 2015, the team’s first year of existence. The team won their first four games of the 2016 season, before dropping their last four to close out the regular season.

Over the course of their two years, the team was able to raise funds and awareness for numerous causes, including Brison Ricker (16 year old battling a brain tumor; Libby Walla (3-year-old battling Charlie Finch (who passed away in an auto accident); and Alan Beamer (suf periventricular leukomalasia); Shae Brophy (brain tumor); Stephanie Cornwell (breast cancer); the family of fering from advanced Alzheimer’s Disease).

“I’d like to sincerely thank every single person who helped with the organization over the last two years,” said Lange. “Everyone from those who ran the concession stands at our home games, to those who ran the chains during the games. Josh Morris, who controlled the audio/music at home games; Shae Brophy, who announced our home games; Scott Fuller, who painted the field for us before each game; Friends of Skinner Field for allowing us to play at their facility; all of our sponsors; the Cedar Springs Fire Department and medical response team; all the players who stuck it out until the very end; and coaches Rashaad Powell and Michael Henderson. And, last but most definitely not least, the fans/community. Without the support of the fans and the community, none of what we accomplished would have been possible.”

Lange has a unique appreciation for the game of football, and plans to continue getting valuable experience in the realm of coaching. “I am all about progression,” he said. “I will continue to learn the game of football, and continue to coach at the youth level until another progression opportunity arises. When one door closes another opens. I aspire to inspire.”

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West Michigan Hawks win over Grizzlies


West Michigan Hawk Ryan Williams holds on to the ball while being tackled by a pack of Grizzlies. Photo by M. Crouch.

West Michigan Hawk Ryan Williams holds on to the ball while being tackled by a pack of Grizzlies. Photo by M. Crouch.

By Shae Brophy

A soggy Saturday evening at Skinner Field saw the West Michigan Hawks start the conference portion of their schedule with a dynamic 50-8 victory over the Kalamazoo Grizzlies.

While both teams were fighting the turnover bug, the Hawks refused to let that stop them from having a big night. Running back Brant Brooks got the scoring started in the first quarter with a 31-yard touchdown run, and wide receiver Ryan Bell got on the board with his first touchdown of the season, an 18-yard catch from quarterback Charles Hodges. After one quarter, West Michigan led 13-0.

 WM Hawk Ryan Bell did a flip when he crossed the goal line to celebrate a touchdown. Photo by M. Crouch.

WM Hawk Robert Bell did a flip when he crossed the goal line to celebrate a touchdown. Photo by M. Crouch.

The second quarter saw the Grizzlies get on the board by way of a blocked field goal that was returned 70 yards for a touchdown. With a two-point conversion, the score was 13-8. Hawks recevier Monta Swanigan brought in a 10-yard pass from Hodges to close the scoring in the quarter, and the Hawks took a 19-8 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Brooks scored his second touchdown of the game early in the third quarter on a

15-yard run, extending the West Michigan lead to 25-8. Swanigan, having already scored earlier in the game, upped the lead to 31-8 with an 84-yard touchdown reception on the Hawks’ next drive. Next, cornerback Omar Haynes returned an interception 47 yards for a touchdown, making the score 37-8 after three quarters.

Safety Robert Bell continued the scoring early in the fourth quarter with an astounding 97-yard interception return for a touchdown, extending the lead to 44-8.

Haynes concluded the scoring with his second touchdown of the game, a 58-yard punt return.

“It was a great day to be a Hawk,” said head coach David Lange. “What’s not to love about a 50-8 victory over a conference opponent?  I think one thing we do need to work on is the exchange of play calling from sidelines to the huddle. I would also like to see a little bit more consistency on offense, as well as improved ball control. We had way too many fumbles on the quarterback/running back exchange that could prove to be costly in future games. But overall, I think it was a great performance.”

We hope to see you at Skinner Field this Saturday when the Hawks host the Southern Michigan Timberwolves at 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.

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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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