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Tag Archive | "Minor League Football Alliance"

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 open preseason Saturday


N-West-Michigan-Hawks1-web

N-West-Michigan-Hawks2There’s a brand new semi-pro football team in town—and unlike past semi pro teams, many of the players are from right here in Cedar Springs.

The West Michigan Hawks are associated with the Minor League Football Alliance (MLFA), and will be hosting their first pre-season game on Saturday, May 2, at 7 p.m. at Skinner Field, against the Lake Michigan Havoc. Tickets are $3 a person and children ages 8 and under are free.

According to owner and coach David Lange, the Hawks have been very involved in various community service activities. Not only have they donated money to organizations such as the Down Syndrome Awareness, but they have put in their time and effort in helping Cedar Springs with various clean up events as well.

“It’s not just about playing football. It’s about making a positive impact within your community. It’s about creating a team that strives for excellence on and off the field. Cedar Springs has been an amazing place for the Hawks and we could not be more proud to represent Cedar Springs and West Michigan. Community service is not a punishment for our guys. It’s a privilege and it’s our way to thank the community for their support,” remarked Lange.

Fans will recognize some of the names on the roster. Austin Hilyer played quarterback for the Cedar Springs Red Hawks. Jeff Newland played linebacker and fullback. Kameron Snyder also played for Cedar Springs. According to Lange, several players are from Cedar Springs, and the rest are from Sparta and Grand Rapids. And two members of the team are veterans—head coach Lange, who served seven years with one combat tour in Iraq, and middle linebacker Stan Scott, who is still serving.

Lange said that the West Michigan Hawks have been hard at work for seven months in hopes to have a successful first season. They are determined to make every game an exciting one—a game to remember. “Without a doubt the work has been put in,” said Lange. “The only thing left to do is strap the pads on and play.”

On top of the great food that the Skinner Field concessions offers, you may also run into the Lady Hawks, otherwise known as the Hawkettes. The Hawkettes are not only there for entertainment, but also will have pictures taken with the fans, which will be posted on the West Michigan Hawks Facebook page. The Hawkettes will have T-shirts and other apparel for sale, which will go towards the funding of the West Michigan Hawks.

Come on out and support your West Michigan Hawks football team! The gates open at 6 p.m. at Skinner Field, next to Morley Park.

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