February 2020 ROAR

jeanniegregory

Coverage of Rockford athletics at all levels.

The RHS Freshman Boys Basketball Team (L-R): Front Row: Liam Peterson, Cohen Overholt, Sho Clay, Asher Erickson, Chris Cool, Austin

Harvey, and Colin Murphy. Back Row: Brody Thompson, Jake Brown, Ben Brough, Joey Pitsch, Caden Pokorzynski, Cayden Lepper,

and head coach Jeff Cole. ~ Photo by Douglas Photography

Frosh Team Plays Inspirational Ball

JEANNIE GREGORY

ROAR Editor

The boys freshman basketball team has amassed an impressive

9-1 record on the season. The team is coached by firstyear

coach Jeff Cole, a 2002 Rockford High School grad. Having

played under head coach Steve Majerle, he understands the

rich Ram basketball tradition.

The team has done extremely well, and Cole is quick to answer

why.

“This group of young men are extremely close both as

teammates and friends off the court. Many of them have competed

together in a variety of sports, including basketball. The

way they approach the game of basketball is inspiring. They’re

extremely talented, selfless and play hard for one another. I

think the latter has been the most impressive to me as their

coach. When they suit up to play wearing our traditional orange

and black uniforms, they conduct themselves to the

highest level of character and integrity. They play the game of

basketball the right way in every way and represent Rockford

to the highest standard. As their coach I couldn’t be prouder

of them.”

His team’s first OK Red opponent was Grandville. No walk

in the park, as it’s always a challenge to face off against the

Bulldogs. The Rams prevailed by a 71-63 score, and the history

isn’t lost on the coach.

“It is always challenging to win on the road and certainly

against a conference opponent,” says Cole. “Grandville has historically

been a rivalry game for both schools. In these types of

games, I believe you can expect that both teams are going to

give you everything they got, and this was certainly the case

in this game.”

Cole points to his captains Brody Thompson, Cayden Lepper

and Liam Peterson as another reason his team is so solid.

“Leadership plays a huge role in our program’s culture

and it’s no exception to our team specifically,” he shares. “We

currently have three captains on our team that were voted by

their teammates.”

“Aside from being voted upon by their teammates, these

three individuals also had to submit an essay to me outlining

their role as team captain and each explaining what characteristics

are vital with accepting a leadership role on this team.

Upon my review of the essays and their actions as student-athletes,

I had the final say on who was accepted. All three young

men passed with flying colors and are yet another huge reason

for our team’s success.”

According to Cole, Ram pride is also a key to his successful

team.

“This team, and these young men, understand the importance

and responsibility they have to representing Rockford,

the right way. In this day and age of competitive sports, it’s

become increasingly challenging to make a team sport. Competition

is ultimately very high with the number of talented

youngsters who try out, and here in Rockford we’ve certainly

been blessed with the sheer number of talented athletes to

choose from. They understand that it’s a privilege to wear our

jersey and they have done so and much more to be a part of

this great tradition.”

FEBRUARY, 2020 ROCKFORDROAR.COM 17

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