ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium was packed to the brim as two of the state’s best teams squared off on Friday night.
In a matchup that had all the intensity of a college-level atmosphere, points came at a premium as both offenses struggled throughout the game. In the end, the Lowell Red Arrows’ defense was the difference, as didn’t surrender a point en route to a 14-0 victory over Rockford.
Lowell got on the board quickly, as the Red Arrows’ offense marched down the field to start the game. Ben Lobbezoo capped off the opening drive with a rushing touchdown to put Lowell up 7-0.
The Rockford offense sputtered early, turning the ball over on both of its opening possessions.
An interception by Connor Douma gave Lowell the ball late in the first quarter, and a connection from David Kruse to Brady Douma on the ensuing drive put Lowell in Rockford territory early in the second quarter.
But the Rams’ defense held tough and forced a stop on fourth down to regain possession trailing 7-0.
After driving the length of the field on the next possession, Rockford’s offense stalled and was forced to attempt a field goal. However, the kick was wide right and Lowell took over late in first half.
The Red Arrows’ offense proceeded to move down the field, and ultimately Kruse punched the ball in from the goal line with four seconds remaining in the half.
Looking back on his quarterback’s touchdown late in the first half, Lowell head coach Noel Dean said he thought his quarterback made the wrong decision on the play considering the team had no timeouts remaining when Kruse opted to run for the end zone instead of passing.
“(Kruse) knew he had no choice but to score on the play or him and I were going to go at it,” Dean said. “You could kind of tell when he got into it that he needed to finish because we weren’t getting a play off if he didn’t finish it.”
The second half slowed down as both offenses struggled to move the ball. When Rockford finally got the ball in Lowell territory, head coach Ralph Munger opted to kick a field goal on fourth down from the Lowell 16-yard line, which was missed.
In the fourth quarter, Rockford made a switch at quarterback as junior Drew Bareno started to take snaps under center. The Lowell defense held tough for the rest of the game as they went on to win 14-0.
Looking back on the win, Dean said he was happy with his team’s defense being able to force turnovers early in the game, saying it helped his team set the tone early on in the game.
However, when asked if he thought Lowell’s second consecutive win of the season helped give his team more confidence, the Red Arrows’ head coach was skeptical.
“I think Lowell kids have confidence, I don’t think they need to play a football game to have confidence,” said Dean. “If they don’t have confidence then they’re not a Lowell football player.”
Lowell will be back in action next week as it plays host to East Grand Rapids. Rockford will move on to a matchup at Mona Shores.