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Game Preview: Caledonia (6-0) @ Rockford (6-0)
Caledonia (6-0) @ Rockford (6-0)
Friday, October 8th @ 7 pm
Series History: Rockford leads the all-time series 6-1, won last year’s matchup 49-7.
Rockford and Caledonia each sit at 6-0 entering what looks like the game of the year in West Michigan. The winner of this game will be in the driver's seat to capture the OK Red title and bolster their playoff points heading into the final stretch of the regular season. At the beginning of the season, many predicted the Rams to be in this position, however, not many could have foreseen Caledonia running through its schedule unblemished with only three weeks left.
Both Rockford and Caledonia are led by dual-threat quarterbacks who thrive in the big moment, and defenses that swarm to the ball and create momentum-turning plays. Caledonia’s defense has surrendered 12 points per game, tops in the OK Red, while Rockford has the league’s highest-scoring offense at 42 ppg.
6-0, Last Week: Defeated Jenison 52-17.
Players To Watch
Zak has played like the area's best quarterback all season long, carving up defenses on a weekly basis. While he's widely known as the area's best running quarterback, he put his arm on display last week when he completed 16 of 17 passes for 298 yards and four touchdown passes in Rockford's win over Jenison. Limiting Zak's big plays will be the focal point of Caledonia's defensive game plan. However, as we've seen on a weekly basis from Zak, he's at his best when he's forced to improvise after a play breaks down. If he's on-point with his reads and makes accurate throws like he did last week, Caledonia won't be able to slow his running game down as easily.
Tyler has ascended as the area's best deep threat wideout, averaging over 28 yards per completion. The Lowell transfer didn't take long to establish a connection point with Ahern, and it's shown on a weekly basis. Tyler has the size and speed to take the top off defenses. I'd expect Caledonia's Caleb Townsend to take on the primary duties of limiting the big plays that are intended for Vroman.
Kade is a true disrupter on the defensive line and has a unique ability to take away a large portion of the field for offenses. The Central Michigan commit has a great first step that he uses to get off blocks and make plays in the backfield. He’ll be going up against one of the larger offensive lines in what should be a key matchup to watch in the trenches.
Leo has served as a consistent and reliable target for Ahern all season and has made huge plays downfield, adding another reliable threat in Rockford’s passing game. Leo has shown he can go up and make a play against the majority of defensive backs he’s across from.
Samuel is one of the hardest hitting defenders I’ve seen on film in the past two seasons. He fills gaps efficiently, and does a great job of not letting wideouts get behind him in pass coverage. Rockford will need to lean on him as they go up against one of the best quarterbacks they’ve faced all season.
6-0, Last Week: Defeated West Ottawa 45-22
Players To Watch
Through six weeks, Mason has played like one of the best quarterbacks in the state in the 2023 class. Like Rockford’s Zak Ahern, Mason is a viable threat with his legs and can maneuver his way out of would-be tackles and get to the second level of a defense in a hurry. He’s also shown the ability to go through his progressions and throw accurate passes to his wideouts.
Brock Townsend, RB/DB, 2024”
Brock is the best athlete I’ve seen in the 2024 class this season. Physically, he doesn’t look like a sophomore, nor does his play indicate that he’s an underclassmen. He’s played like one of the best two-way players in the OK Red, and will be near the top of Rockford’s scouting report.
Andrew transferred in from Zeeland East and has made an immediate impact, especially on defense. His presence alone dissuades offenses from running in his direction. He’s one of the key reasons Caledonia has the best scoring defense in the OK Red.
Caleb is another gap filler and playmaker in the trenches for the Scots. He does a good job of helping Caledonia generate a push in the run game and also shows good technique in pass protection.
Jimmie is a true playmaker in the Caledonia secondary. Don’t let his lack of size fool you either, as he’s more than capable of making a play on the ball against bigger wideouts. Caledonia will need his pass coverage skillset to help slow down the Rockford attack.
Keys To The Game
Playing mistake-free football has been a key to the success that each of these teams have had this season. In a game with as high of stakes as this one, there’s bound to be a turnover that will lead to a change in momentum. Whichever team can avoid turnovers and capitalize on each of their offensive possessions will have the upper hand.
I’m most looking forward to seeing the Ahern-McKenzie matchup and how each defense plans to slow the opposing quarterback. Keeping each quarterback contained and not letting him make plays out of the box will be crucial.
The positional matchup to watch is Rockford’s wideouts vs Caledonia’s secondary. Each group has been somewhat of a force this season with little to no resistance. If Caledonia can mitigate Rockford’s big plays, their chances at coming away with a win increase drastically.
Rockford 28, Caledonia 24