Game Preview: Cedar Springs (1-0) @ Rockford (1-0)

Written by
Tate Baker

Game Info

Cedar Springs @ Rockford

Thursday, September 2nd @ 7 pm

Carlson-Munger Stadium

Series History: First meeting since 1981. Rockford leads the all-time series 10-1-1

A 60-year old rivalry between two former Tri-River Conference members will renew this Thursday as Cedar Springs and Rockford will share the field for the first time since 1981. Both Rockford and Cedar Springs are coming off impressive week one wins and will look to continue their momentum heading into conference play in week 3.

Both teams feature high-powered offenses that operate in different gears. Rockford, led by All-State quarterback Zak Ahern, likes to spread things out and get the ball to its playmakers in space. Cedar Springs relies on a run-heavy style led by junior back Antwaun Nichols and a couple of All-State maulers on the offensive line in Cam Heiss and Josh Kriekaard. The contrast between the two neighboring teams should lend to a highly entertaining game.


1-0, Defeated Sterling Heights Stevenson in Week One

Players To Watch

Zak Ahern, QB, 2022”

Zak is one of the premier quarterbacks in the 2022 class in the state. His running ability is as good as any quarterback in the state and he’s shown he can make as good of plays with his arm. Zak’s vision and ability to extend a play after a breakdown is as good as I’ve seen from the quarterback position.

Kade Kostus, DE, 2022”

Kade is the anchor of the Rams defensive line and has the next-level ability to take over a game. He has a quick burst and frequents the opposing backfield using a number of speed and power moves to break through opposing offensive lines. He’s the type of athlete that requires constant double teams.

Tyler Vroman, WR, 2022”

Tyler transferred in from Lowell for his senior season and has made an immediate impact, adding another dimension to Rockford’s already potent attack. He can spread the field and has the speed to get behind the best defensive backfields the west side has to offer. In game one, Ahern and Vroman connected for a beautiful fade route in the corner of the endzone.

Sam Watts, DB, 2022”

Sam is the leader of the Rockford defensive backfield. Sam is one of the more cerebral defensive backs in the area and also one of the hardest hitting DB’s I’ve seen in the past two seasons.

Cedar Springs

1-0, Defeated Saginaw Swan Valley 48-16

Players To Watch

Antwaun Nicholls, RB/CB, 2023”

Antwaun is the most explosive weapon the Redhawks feature and is a threat to take it the distance whenever he gets to the second level. Antwaun displays great vision out of the Wing-T and makes appropriate cuts to get positive yardage on a consistent basis. Defensively, Antwaun is a sure tackler at cornerback. My best guess is that Antwaun will be tasked with defending Rockford’s star wideout, Tyler Vroman. The one-on-one battle between those two will be highly entertaining.

Aiden Brunin, RB/FS 2022”

Aiden is the second part of the two-headed monster in Cedar Spring’s Wing-T. Aiden isn’t afraid of contact, in fact he tends to seek it out when he’s running between the tackles. He does a great job of keeping his feet moving to pick up extra yards after contact. Defensively, Aiden roams the Redhawks secondary as the last man standing between him and the endzone. He will bear the responsibility of not letting any of Rockford’s weapons get behind him.

Cam Heiss, OL/DL, 2022

Standing 6’3” 260 lbs, the Redhawk rushing attack is at its best when Cameron is delivering clearout, pancake blocks, opening up alleys for Antwaun and Aiden. Cameron has quick feet and clears space in a hurry. Defensively, Cameron’s speed is evident with his ability to go sideline-to-sideline to track down opposing ball carriers.

Josh Kriekaard TE/DT, 2023”

Similar to Cameron Heiss, Josh’s 6’2” 250 frame serves as a focal point in the Rehawk rushing attack. His footwork he uses to gain leverage and secure blocks is also valuable in Cedar’s passing attack as he’s been a frequent target in passing situations. Josh has sure hands and can clear out space, leading to favorable reads downfield.

Keys To The Game

Can Cedar Springs control the time of possession battle? It’s no secret that Cedar Springs success relies heavily on its ground game. With that being said, in order for the Red Hawks to pull off the upset, I believe that they will need to capitalize on long drives that eat up a considerable amount of clock. Rockford has the firepower to score in a hurry, and the fewer offensive drives Rockford has, the better the odds for Cedar Springs.

In order for Rockford to come away with the win they need to play clean football without any costly turnovers or penalties. If they can shore up some of the mistakes that led to a Stevenson comeback in week one, the Rams should start their season 2-0.


Rockford 35, Cedar Springs 20