Game Recap: Rockford 44, Sterling Heights Stevenson 30

Written by
Tate Baker

Rockford 44, Stevenson 30

It's an understatement to say it was an eventful night in Rockford for the kickoff of the high school football season. The game which was centered around the rededication of long-time head coach Ralph Munger included a 90-minute lightning delay, 74 combined points scored, and a miniature power outage to top it all off. Yet amongst all the excitement and chaos was Rockford quarterback Zak Ahern, who stole the show with his dazzling three rushing touchdown and two passing touchdown performance.

Stevenson Rallies Back After Going Down 16-0

It looked like Rockford was about to roll in the season opener after scoring touchdowns on two unabated drives and a defensive stop that resulted in a safety, making it a 16-0 game in the first quarter. The next Stevenson drive, Titan backs Jordan Ramsey and Jordan Kwiatkowski put together a couple of impressive runs to help the Titans get on the board. After another Ram touchdown, the game went into a lightning delay with Rockford leading 23-7. After the 90-minute break, Stevenson swung the momentum and scored back-to-back touchdowns complemented by two successful two-point conversions to tie the game at 23 going into the half.

Zak Ahern Shines

Zak Ahern’s ability to create positive plays and avoid sacks was the biggest difference maker in my opinion. Time and time again he scrambled out of trouble and either found an open receiver down field or got positive yards with his legs. Zak also flashed his arm talent with a beautiful fade route to receiver Tyler Vroman in the corner of the end zone in the first half. When it was closing time, Ahern sealed the game with a 70-yard touchdown run down the sideline. In a game that featured two high powered offenses, the dual threat talent of Ahern was too much for Stevenson to overcome.

Stevenson’s Backs Impress

Jordan Ramsey and Jordan Kwiatkowski lived up to the billing and had their way with the Rockford defense for almost a full four quarters. The speed and strength that each back possesses will be a calling card for the Titans this season. I was equally impressed with how each back fought after initial contact and churned out yardage when it looked like they might be hit in the backfield for a loss. Kwiatkowski also made his presence felt on the defensive end, delivering big hits on several plays.

Kade Kostus Anchors Rockford’s D Line

In the first half, Central Michigan commit Kade Kostus made a living of blowing up the Stevenson offensive line and making plays in the Titan backfield. His get off at the line of scrimmage was timely and led to a Rockford safety in the first quarter. Last night’s game didn’t feature many stops, but when it did, it was Kostus who was leading the charge for the Rams. He’ll continue to be a focal point for opposing offensive coordinators, which should lead to opportunities for Rockford’s other defensive playmakers to step up.