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Tag Archive | "David Lange"

Hawks fall on Saturday, still clinch playoff spot


Brant Brooks celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter. Photo by Marcie Crouch.

Brant Brooks celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter. Photo by Marcie Crouch.

By Shae Brophy

With the top spot in the MLFA’s Big Eight division on the line, the West Michigan Hawks hosted the Toledo Thunder on Saturday evening at Skinner Field. The teams shared identical 4-1 records coming into the game, and a win for either team would put them in the drivers seat for the top seed in the division.

A tough, hard fought game saw the Thunder come out on top with a 12-7 victory. After returning the game’s opening kickoff 99 yards to the one-yard line, Toledo opened the scoring with a one yard scamper on the game’s first play from scrimmage. After missing the extra point, the score remained 6-0.

The Hawks responded late in the second quarter, when Brant Brooks hauled in a five yard pass for a touchdown from quarterback Charles Manny Hodges. The extra point gave the Hawks a 7-6 lead, which they took into halftime.

Toledo was able to answer early in the third quarter, regaining the lead on a 26 yard touchdown run. Their two-point attempt was stuffed by the Hawks, keeping the score at a reasonable 12-7 margin.

With the score still the same late in the fourth quarter, the Hawks got the ball back at their own nine-yard line with just over a minute remaining. A big play brought them out to the Toledo 45-yard line with 24 seconds left, but a holding penalty and the subsequent 10-second run off put the Hawks in a tough spot, with the ball on their own 45-yard line and seven seconds remaining. On the final play of the game, they completed a long pass down field, but they were not able to find the end zone. Overall, Toledo outscored West Michigan by a margin of 393-242.

Cornerback Omar Haynes finished the game with three interceptions for the Hawks, while linebacker JaVon Welch had 12.5 tackles.

Despite the loss, the Hawks still clinched the franchise’s first appearance in the playoffs as a result of losses from other teams across the league.

“I thought we played a solid football game,” said head coach David Lange. “We missed a few opportunities to take the lead, but overall I thought we adjusted nicely. All we can do is look to the next game.”

The Hawks will be in action again this Saturday at Skinner Field when they host the West Michigan Force. Tickets are $6 a piece, with children eight and under free. The Hawks will be raffling off numerous items from local businesses, such as pizza from Hungry Howies and Vitale’s, gift cards to KC’s, and much much more! We hope to see you there!

FROM OWNER DAVID LANGE:

“An incident occurred in the stands of Saturday evening’s West Michigan Hawks game. Members from the West Michigan Force attended the game to scout our team before our game against them this upcoming weekend. I’d like to personally and formally apologize to the fans who witnessed this incident. The actions from these players were unacceptable, and will not be tolerated by the Hawks or Skinner Field. The Force were reprimanded by the league for their actions, with eight of their players being suspended for this weekend’s game. I have also ensured that there will be a heightened police presence at the game, and a security presence on the field. Our fans and the safety of our fans is our highest priority when we play at home, and we have taken steps to ensure that the integrity of the upcoming game will be of the highest quality.”

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Meet the Hawks: Rick Loper


West Michigan Hawks defensive end Rick Loper.

West Michigan Hawks defensive end Rick Loper.

Meet West Michigan Hawks defensive end Rick Loper. Originally from Grand Rapids, Loper attended and graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1998. He started playing football in third grade, and played all the way through school until graduation. He also wrestled and ran track in school, and found himself in the sport of mixed martial arts later in life.

Known primarily for his classic “hat and shades” look, and his classic laugh, Loper has entrenched himself as a big piece of the team. Some of his role models include Michael Jordan, Barry Sanders, Shae Brophy, and his father Harrison Loper Sr. When he isn’t on the gridiron, some of Loper’s favorite things to do include hunting, fishing, camping, or anything else that involves being outside.

“When David (Lange) found me in the cage and told me he was starting a team, it was a calling from God,” said Loper. “Ever since high school, I have wanted to play one more time. Playing for two years has been an amazing adventure. I love the coaches, the fans, this team, and Cedar Springs.”

Loper has high praise for head coach David Lange. “What I love about Coach Lange is that he has brought this team together to help the community. It means that I am able to make a difference in my community through playing football. Coach also cares about every single person on this team, and the community as well. It means the world to us players to be able to raise money to help others who are struggling in life, and to help put a smile on their faces in truly priceless.”

Lange’s praise for Loper is quite high, as well. “Loper has heart and dedication like no other. The excitement that he brings to this team when he steps on the field is a huge motivation for not only myself, but for the team as well. He has proven he can be a play maker and I have no doubt that people will continue to hear his name.”

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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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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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West Michigan Hawks fall to Bengals


The West Michigan Hawks stepped up their game last Saturday against the Wayne County Bengals with 10 turnovers. Photo by K. Alvesteffer.

The West Michigan Hawks stepped up their game last Saturday against the Wayne County Bengals with 10 turnovers. Photo by K. Alvesteffer.

By Shae Brophy

The West Michigan Hawks hosted the #10 ranked Wayne County Bengals, in a divisional matchup Saturday, June 27. The Hawks came up short, in an exciting game, falling 48-34.

Wayne County scored the first touchdown of the game and took a 6-0 lead, after failing to convert on the first two conversions. The Hawks then scored 18 consecutive points in the first quarter. Joel Paasch intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it 103 yards to the three yard line. On the ensuing drive, quarterback Jeff Krebs found Omar Haynes in the end zone for a touchdown. Defensive end Corey Steele returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown, and Dontae Ensley caught his first touchdown of the season as well. The Hawks led the game 18-14 after one quarter.

After a very defensive second quarter, Wayne County led 26-18 at the half. The Bengals proceeded to build a 40-18 lead after three quarters. The Hawks made things interesting late in the game, but were unable to close the gap on the scoreboard.

Wide receiver Dontae Ensley finished the game with two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions. Wide receiver Omar Haynes scored a touchdown, and quarterback Jeff Krebs pounded one in on his own from the two-yard line. Defensively, cornerback Joel Paasch wound up with two interceptions. Safety Nate Johnson also had two interceptions, and cornerback Omar Haynes finished with one interception. All together, the Hawks forced 10 turnovers for the game (5 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 turnovers on downs), while only committing five of their own. The 34 points were more than twice as many as the Hawks had scored in any other game this year, and the most the Bengals had allowed to any team this season.

Ensley remarked: “We started out better than we ever have. I knew it was going to be a good game until (we gave up) the two straight scores, then we fell apart a little bit. That didn’t keep us down too long though, because we started fighting back again. In the end it’s all about having fun.”

Head Coach David Lange had this to say about the game: “We played a hard fought game which I think we could have and should have won. We put up 34 points and forced 10 turnovers, which is outstanding. However, the one thing we as a team need to work on is keeping our foot on the gas the whole game and not let up. We are a first year team; we are going to run into problems along the way. All we can do is overcome these problems and move on. In our next game, we face the Michigan Renegades in Detroit and I can promise that we are going to take it to them.”

After taking this weekend off to celebrate Independence Day, the team will be in action again on July 11, traveling to Detroit to face the Michigan Renegades.

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Meet the Hawks: Darren Trader


Darren Trader

Darren Trader

By Shae Brophy

Meet offensive/defensive lineman Darren Trader. Darren, a 2007 graduate from Tri County High School, is one of a few players who see time on offense and defense. Primarily used on offense, his 6 foot 4 inch frame comes in handy on the defensive line as well. Trader has been involved with football since he was in the third grade, and played baseball at Tri County his junior and senior years of high school.

When he isn’t on the gridiron, Darren enjoys hunting, fishing, and golfing. Some of his idols include (Houston Texans defensive end) JJ Watt, (former NFL defensive end) Reggie White, and Michael Jordan.

According to Trader, the chance to play football again was a chance to fall in love with the game all over again. “I got a phone call from (Hawks captain) Ryan Bell saying there would be a semi-pro team in Cedar Springs. I had my doubts at first, but he assured me that I would fall in love with the game all over again, and he was right. After the very first practice, I had made up my mind that I would join this team, and help build it in any way possible. Plus, my Mom went to Cedar Springs, and she always wanted me to play after high school. I know she’s looking down on me smiling and cheering the team on. The became a member of this team because the owner is a class act man, and the Hawks play football the way it is supposed to be played: hard, and to the whistle with no quit.”

Owner/head coach David Lange added: “Darren is one of our bigger guys. He is an anchor for our linemen. He hits hard and he creates the holes needed for our backs. Darren is not afraid to get down and dirty in the trenches. He is a very physical player with a lot of heart.”

On July 18th, the Hawks will host the Grand Rapids Thunder, in the inaugural William W. Phillips Memorial game, which is dedicated to Darren’s grandfather, who recently passed away. It will also be a military appreciation night.

The Hawks will be off this weekend, as the league celebrates Independence Day. The team will be in action again on July 11th, as they travel to Detroit to take on the Michigan Renegades.

Shae Brophy is the Media/Public Relations Director for the West Michigan Hawks.

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Meet the Hawks: Ryan Bell


S-Meet-the-Hawks-Ryan-Bell-web

By Shae Brophy

Meet wide receiver Ryan Bell. Originally from Howard City, Michigan, Bell is currently leading the Hawks in touchdowns, with two receiving touchdowns through three games. He has been involved with football since his days in high school, where he won numerous awards. Some of those awards included a four-year player award, a captain’s award, as well as the Hammer Award, for the hardest hit of the season. Bell is a veteran in the league, having played for the Grand Rapids Thunder last season. He holds the league record for most tackles in a season, with 103 total tackles last year—a year in which he was also chosen as the third overall draft selection in the league all star game.

Some of Ryan’s hobbies other than football include going to church and carpentry. Bell also dedicates a significant amount of free time to the Grand Rapids Recovery Committee, which is an organization designed to help those with drug addictions. A few of Bell’s idols include Tim Tebow, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and author James Patterson’s fictional character Dr. Alex Cross.

When asked why he chose to be a member of the Hawks, Bell had a very specific answer. “2014 was a rough rookie year (with the Thunder) having not won a game all year, and not to mention never being given a real chance to show my versatility and play offense, despite accumulating 110 yards and a touchdown in the final two games of the season. The Hawks gave me a fresh start and a chance to be an integral part in building a successful franchise from the ground up.”

Owner/head coach David Lange had this to say about Bell: “Ryan is a leader, point blank. He knows the game and does an awesome job with making sure everyone is on the same page. Ryan is what I consider our possession receiver. Though he may not be the fastest, he is definitely one that can always find a way to come down with the ball when it is sent his way.”

Shae Brophy is the Media/Public Relations Director for the West Michigan Hawks.

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Hometown Hero


David Lange, a 2007 Cedar Springs graduate, will be leaving for Afghanistan at the end of March, for a 9-month tour of duty.

Specialist Lange joined the Army National Guard, while still in high school, in 2007. In Dec. 2009, he went on active duty and was assigned as a Cavalry Scout to Ft. Carson, Colorado. Three months later, his unit was deployed to the Basrah region of Iraq, and returned last March. He recently received additional training at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, in preparation for his Afghanistan deployment.

David will be home on leave from March 8-16, and then return to Ft. Carson to ship out. While in Afghanistan, he hopes to meet up with his best friend, Jeremy Laatz, also a 2007 CS graduate, who was deployed earlier this year.

David is the son of Dave and Cyndy Lange of Cedar Springs.

 

 

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