From staff reports
ROCKFORD — Things looked good early for Traverse City West.
Then the Titans — who said they needed to play a near-flawless game in order to beat juggernaut Rockford — made a few mistakes and it unraveled.
The Rams came back from an early 7-0 deficit to win the opening-round playoff game 38-7.
"There were a few turning points in the game," West coach Tim Wooer said. "We had opportunities. I don't think the score was indicative of how we played. We played well on special teams and limited a very good Rockford return team, and the defense had some good stops."
The Titans (6-4) went up 7-0 on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Donny Cizek to Tyler Johnson with 4:48 left in the opening quarter. Rockford responded with a 1-yard run by Sam Reinke to knot it up with 16.9 ticks left in the first.
The Rams led 17-7 at halftime, adding another Reinke TD and a Casey Watters field goal with 31.7 seconds before the intermission.
Reinke scored his third and fourth touchdowns, and quarterback Kyle Short connected with Ryan Donley for a 38-7 lead.
"It's an incredible group of seniors leaders and high-character kids that I'll miss," Wooer said.
The Rams outgained the Titans 436-256, holding West to 60 yards rushing on 23 carries.
"We had a difficult time runnnig the ball," Wooer said. "Their linebackers were amazing athletes."
Cizek ended up 18 of 26 passing for 196 yards, with Georden Carter hauling in 64 yards worth of catches, Johnson 49, Griffin Forrester 42 and Dustin Tucker 35.
On defense, West was led by 15 tackles from Derrick Diver, 14 by Tucker, 13 from Carter and 11 by Zack McGuire. Matt Lowe and Storm Eagle had eight each.