ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Rockford High School football hasn’t had to make many changes to the playbook over the past few decades. In fact, since 1992, you relatively knew what you would get out of the Rams on game day.
Yet, the program has a reputation over that time of being one of the better football schools in the area year in and year out.
That’s what Ralph Munger built. He developed a tradition around Rockford where earning victories was expected and making the playoffs was never in doubt. For the past 25 years, the Rams have qualified for the state playoffs.
Finding a replacement wasn’t something the Rams went far to find.
Brent Cummings, a former standout running back from Belding High School, joined the Rams coaching staff in 2008. Since then, he has been an assistant coach on the staff and was used as a strength and conditioning coach.
When asked about what it’s like to take over for someone like Munger whose name will echo the area forever, he made sure to point out that his legacy won’t be forgotten.
“We were fortunate to have the guidance of coach Munger for many years, and that lives on through our staff,” Cummings said. “We know as a coaching staff what it takes to prepare for a season because of his leadership.”
Of course, this season is a bit of an exception.
The Rams, along with every high school in Michigan, is waiting on the Michigan High School Athletic Association to decide the fate of its season. The coronavirus has already caused many cancellations at different levels of college football, including the Big Ten.
Cummings said he had a group of guys who were ready to show up and practice on Monday regardless of the situation.
“We were able to have some workouts way back in May and get used to some of these guidelines in place today,” Cummings said. “It has really helped with this process now. The guys and coaches were ready on Aug. 10.”
The MHSAA is currently planning to have a decision on the season by Aug. 20. Players are working out this week and can wear pads on Aug. 17.
With the status of the season hanging in the balance, Cummings’ message to his team is to keep living in the now.
“These guys are doing a great job of being thankful for having a practice each day and focusing on that day,” Cummings said. “We have a chance to get better and work on our offensive and defensive abilities. I’m really impressed with the way these kids are making (football) their front focus, it’s great to see.”
Cummings also made a point that even with this pandemic in place, sports are still important in high schoolers’ life.
“Having these human interactions and us as coaches being able to teach them is what sport is all about,” Cummings said. “Were fortunate just to have the ability to practice and have these kinds of moments right now.”