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Tag Archive | "Charlie Finch"

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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Hawks win last game of season 49-6


S-West-Mich-Hawks1

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!

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