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Tag Archive | "Kalamazoo Grizzlies"

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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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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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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