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Tag Archive | "Skinner Field"

United Methodist Church to Celebrate Sesquicentennial 


The original Methodist Episcopal Church built on the corner of Main and Church Streets in Cedar Springs. Its cornerstone was laid August 17, 1870 and the church was dedicated June 7, 1871. This newly built Methodist church cost $6000 and was the tallest building north of Grand Rapids in 1871. The spire with the bell tower could be seen for miles.

The original Methodist Episcopal Church built on the corner of Main and Church Streets in Cedar Springs. Its cornerstone was laid August 17, 1870 and the church was dedicated June 7, 1871. This newly built Methodist church cost $6000 and was the tallest building north of Grand Rapids in 1871. The spire with the bell tower could be seen for miles.

by Sue Harrison

The roots of religious heritage in Cedar Springs are as deep and long as the history of the people who settled it. No group or community can survive long without some common belief or religions commitment to bind them together.

The very first sermon in Cedar Springs was preached in 1855 by a Methodist Episcopal preacher, Rev. W. W. Johnson, a circuit rider. Those services were held in the little log schoolhouse, which was then located on the southeast corner of Main and Muskegon Streets. A class of eight persons formed and continued to be served by Laphamville Circuit riders. (Laphamville was the original name for Rockford, Mich.)

The Methodist Episcopal Society was organized on October 6, 1866, with Preacher in Charge, Rev Burton Smith, along with four circuit riders who served eight other outposts in the North Kent area. Thus, the Methodist Episcopal Church became the second organized church in Cedar Springs.

This year, 2016, marks a milestone for the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, which will be celebrating 150 years serving Cedar Springs through Christian worship. As part of its Sesquicentennial celebration, the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church has planned the following events open to the public throughout the summer and fall.

June 25 – Following a week of Vacation Bible School, there will be a Field Day held at Skinner Field with games, bounce house, and face painting. Hot dogs, chips and water will be provided.

July 31 – Hymn Sing and Ice Cream Social held at the church.

August 28 – Tent Revival in Morley Park, with hot dogs, chips, and water served afterward.

Oct. 1 – Red Flannel Day. Parade entry of circuit rider and a horse-drawn float.

Oct. 16 – Jubal Brass Concert at the CS United Methodist Church with a reception following the concert.

Nov. 20 – Rededication of the church cornerstone. Former pastors will be invited. A potluck will be held after the morning church service and before the ceremony.

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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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West Michigan Hawks start season with 46-0 victory


The Hawks start season with big win.

The Hawks start season with big win.

The West Michigan Hawks didn’t let the rain dampen their spirits on Saturday evening, April 29. Although the playing conditions weren’t ideal, the Hawks put together a complete effort in their 46-0 victory over the Highland Park Polar Bears at Skinner Field.

Acclimating to the weather was a bit of a challenge, as the team got off to a bit of a slow start offensively. But it was the defense that set the tone. The Hawks forced a safety midway through the first quarter to start the scoring, taking a 2-0 lead. Wide receiver Monte Swanigan hauled in a 60-yard pass from quarterback Charles Hodges on the next drive, and the two point conversion attempt was good, giving the Hawks a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Things really came together for the Hawks in the second quarter. Hodges scored on a two-yard quarterback keeper, running back Brant Brooks scored on a run, and cornerback Omar Haynes returned an interception 63 yards for a touchdown in the quarter. The Hawks took a 32-0 lead into the locker rooms at the half.

The second half was played on a running clock, but that didn’t stop the Hawks from continuing what they started. Ryan Williams returned a punt for a touchdown during the middle portion of the quarter, and the Hawks led 40-0 after three quarters. Brooks scored his second touchdown on the last play of the game, making the final score 46-0.

“It was inspiring to see all of the new elements of the team come together with such enthusiasm,” said lineman Neil Gillett. “We have a lot of new guys on the team this year. The ability for us to come together and play so cohesively in such a short amount of time really speaks for the selfless quality and team focus of our men.”

Safety Robert Bell was also quite satisfied with the team’s effort. “This was a great first test for our team. We mentioned throughout the practice weeks about answering the call when adversity dials the number. We opened our arms to our brother Brant Brooks, who prior to the game lost his brother. This game allowed our team to solidify our brotherhood and turn life’s negatives into a community of positivity. It was also great to see Alan Beamer and his family accept the #12 jersey in his recognition of his battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Life is bigger than self. Welcome to the West Michigan Hawks!”

Head coach David Lange was ecstatic after the game. “I’m very proud of our guys and what they have accomplished. We still have work to do, some corrections we need to make, but we did an outstanding job. We had our fun with this win, but now its time to move forward and focus on the next game on May 14th against the Lake Michigan Havoc.”

The game on May 14 will be played at Skinner Field, and is a benefit for Cedar Springs resident Brison Ricker, who is fighting a brain tumor. Doors will open at 5 p.m., with kickoff scheduled for 6. Tickets are $6 a piece, with children 10 and under free, and proceeds will go to Ricker’s cause. We hope to see you there!

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Hawks win last game of season 49-6


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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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Cloud formations are pure Michigan


N-Cloud-Michigan-MittenReader Andrea Martin took this photo last Saturday evening, July 25, at the West Michigan Hawks football game at Skinner Field. It’s a great shot of what looks like the Michigan mitten! Thanks, Andrea, for sending it our way!

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Hawks game rescheduled


 

The game between the West Michigan Hawks and the Motor City Jaguars, which was scheduled to be played in Detroit last weekend, was postponed until August 1, because of issues with the scheduling of the field.

But the Hawks will be in action at home this weekend, when they host the Wayne County Bengals, in a divisional matchup. The game will be held at Skinner Field on Saturday, June 27, with the doors opening at 6 p.m., and kickoff slated for 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 a piece, and can be purchased at the door. Hope to see you there!

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West Michigan Hawks fall in home opener


 

The West Michigan Hawks played host to the top ranked Michigan Lightning on Saturday evening at Skinner Field, in their first home game of the season. The Lightning won the contest, by a final score of 48-14. The game got off to a rocky start for the Hawks, as they trailed 28-0 after the first quarter, and 35-0 at halftime.

Things started to turn around for the team in the second half, however. Wide receiver Darwin Mathis was able to reel in a 66-yard pass from quarterback Jeff Krebs for the Hawks’ first touchdown of the game. Krebs then ran the ball into the end zone for the two-point conversion. Wide receiver Ryan Bell, team captain, also recorded a touchdown in the game, also bringing in a pass from Krebs, for an eight yard score.

Jeff Krebs finished the game 16-33 passing, with 194 yards. He threw for two touchdowns, one interception, and also carried the ball 8 times for 24 yards. Wide receiver Darwin Mathis led the Hawks with 7 catches for 117 yards, and a touchdown, while also picking up 23 yards rushing on 5 attempts. He also had an interception for the second consecutive game.

“We got off to a slow start to begin the game, but we improved as the game went on. Our goal everyday is to improve as a team,” said Mathis.

Defensively, linebacker Kam Snyder led the team in tackles, with 8. Linebacker Stan Scott had 7 tackles, and safety Nate Johnson had 5. Defensive end Corey Steele picked up the lone sack of the game for the Hawks.

Said Head Coach David Lange: “I think it’s fair to say that we have one of the toughest schedules in the league. It was very clear last night that we are coming together as a team. To score more points than any other team has this year against a team who travels the country is something to hang your hat on. With the exception of one or two bad apples, which have already been dealt with, the team is really coming together. I’m excited to see what we can do as we enter the midway point of our season!”

The Hawks travel to Detroit this Saturday, to take on the Motor City Jaguars (0-3), in a game that will see both teams looking to win their first game of the season. For information on where the game will be played, be sure to follow the West Michigan Hawks on Facebook!

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West Michigan Hawks fall to Havoc


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The West Michigan Hawks held their first ever pre-season game last Saturday evening, May 2, and came up short 55-21 against the Lake Michigan Havoc.

“There was a lot of adversity that we as a team had to overcome,” noted Hawks Coach David Lange. “We came out of the gates playing a team who won the championship last year and stuck with them for most of the game. To put up 21 points in your first game, with people you’ve never played with, against a team like the Havoc, is outstanding. There were mistakes that were made, which is to be expected, as a first year team. We will correct these mistakes and move forward. I was beyond pleased and grateful for the fan support that we had,” he added.

The Cedar Springs Fire Dept. was also in attendance with their fire trucks to support the Hawks. “When those trucks hit the sirens and blew the horns, you could see the excitement on the players faces, which I think helped keep them motivated,” remarked Lange.

N-West-Mich-Hawks2The West Michigan Hawks look forward to hosting the Detroit Diesels this Saturday May 9, 2015 at Skinner Field at 7:00 pm. The Cedar Springs Fire Dept. will also be in attendance for the game.

When asked what the team will do differently for this game coach Lange stated, “We are going to correct the mistakes, as well as build on the positive things that we did last week. We have made some position changes defensively in the secondary that I think will give us the edge. Offensively we need to mix up the plays a little better so we are not so one dimensional.”

Come support your West Michigan Hawks this Saturday at Skinner Field, gates open at 6:00pm with kickoff at 7:00.

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West Michigan Hawks open preseason Saturday


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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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