ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Longtime Rockford football coach Ralph Munger will make a return to the sidelines this week, just in time for the Rams’ biggest test to date.
Unbeaten Rockford will tangle with top-ranked Mona Shores Friday night in a nonconference showdown.
The Sailors, last year’s Division 2 state finalist, are also perfect on the season. They have outscored their first three opponents 104-26.
“You don’t get to be rated No. 1 in their division by being a bunch of slugs,” said Munger, who underwent quadruple bypass surgery this summer. “They have athletes, and they are coached extremely well. Defensively, offensively and special teams, they are on top of their game.”
The Rams, who have lost three of their last four meetings against Mona Shores, have played well on both sides of the ball en route to their best start since 2014.
“Our guys have done an amazing job and our players have responded extremely well,” Munger said. “I couldn’t be prouder or happier, and they are a terrific group of young men who love to play football.
“Every year we’ve been blessed with a number of those guys, but this year it seems like this group is really together and the coaches have done a great job coaching and teaching what we do and how we go about our business.”
Munger said his team is embracing the opportunity to play against one of the top teams in the state.
“We’re looking forward to this game and we like challenges of this nature,” he said. “And we’re going to see that all the way through, however long the season lasts. We’re not going to shy away from challenges, and if you want to be the best you have to play the best and beat the best.”
Munger has been a part of the Rams’ program for the past 28 years, but was forced to miss training camps and the first three games.
And while the time away was difficult to endure, he’s thrilled to be back.
“I wouldn’t recommend it for any coach, but if that’s what needed to be done then that’s what needed to be done,” Munger said. “I know the program was in great hands and I don’t think there was a second of the day that I didn’t think about them or the staff. I’m grateful to our administration for their support and for their caring attitudes all the way through.”