ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Rockford and Mona Shores each opened up a new season with impressive wins.

On Thursday, the perennial powerhouses from the area will clash in a pivotal Week 2 non-conference match-up.

The Rockford Rams kicked off the season with a 48-7 win over East Grand Rapids, while the Mona Shores Sailors defeated Manitowoc (WI) Lincoln 48-20.

“I believe we played very well in Week 1,” Rockford coach Brent Cummings said. “Our players had a great off-season and we did a lot of things really well during our opener.

“At the same time, we found some techniques that we can improve. Overall, it was a good start.”

Mona Shores coach Matt Koziak was pleased with his team’s overall effort as well, especially physically.

“I thought our kids played hard in the first game,” Koziak said. “They hit, and that’s what I think I was proud of most. Our kids came out and hit.”

Rockford, which won the OK Red conference championship, went unbeaten in the regular season before losing to Grand Blanc, 28-27, in a Division 1 regional final. 

The host Rams have won 20 of their last 22 games, but Cummings knows this week will provide a stern challenge.

“Mona Shores is once again a very good football team,” he said. “They execute very well on offense and have the ability to attack a defense with their speed and an aggressive run game.

“They play disciplined defense as well. All the things you would expect from a quality coaching staff.”

After winning a state title in 2020, the Sailors finished 8-3 last season and lost to Caledonia in a Division 2 district final. 

“Rockford looks really good on film and they are a perennial power,” Koziak said. “We will have our hands full for sure.”

Rams’ senior quarterback Mac VandenHout made his first start and tossed six touchdowns and threw for 324 yards in last week’s win. Alex McLean caught 11 passes for 260 yards and a score, while Brody Thompson had a pair of touchdown catches.

Senior Dahmir Farnum scored a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Sailors in their victory, while Jaylen Vinton also scored twice.

Rockford and Mona Shoes last played in 2019, with the Rams earning a 34-21 victory.