Rockford University looks to restore the roar in football

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 6:58 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Rockford University has not always been the Forest City’s first choice for college football, but the Regents have been working to turn that around. If the winter and spring taught us anything about RU sports, we could be in for a fun fall.

The Regents start the season with three straight at home. Rockford will have a nice mix of youth and experience. Running back Lavar Johnson returns for his fifth season looking to break some records, and starting quarterback Jaelen Ray will get his first full season after tearing his ACL in 2019. Rockford also has a handful of former area high school players on the roster. Head coach J.T. Zimmerman hopes this is the year the Regents restore the roar.

“There’s definitely a good group of returners that we’re excited about and they’re definitely setting the tone for the younger guys” said Zimmerman. “It’s good to get local guys on the roster. We’re going to have a few that are going to compete this year and help us take a step forward.”

“I think that guys in the community who see that, younger guys who are still in high school that see guys that they recognize their name, making plays for us on Saturday afternoon, helping us win football games, hopefully we just keep getting more and more that would be a great goal for us.”

The Regents won one of their four games in the spring. It’s as many as they won in 10 attempts the previous year. Zimmerman says the team played in more close contests, which shows the strides the program is making.

The Regents open against Grinnel College, a team they have never played before. Zimmerman hopes a slow and steady approach will put a big number one in the win column.

“We will just take it one day at a time,” said Zimmerman. “It’s what we’ve had to do with COVID. I think it’s what you have to do with football as well, make the most of everyday.”

“We talk about winning the day. Everyday when you wake up you have an opportunity to have a great day and that’s in the classroom and with your family and friends, but also on the football field. So that’s what we are going to do is take it a day at a time. We have a game on Saturday we aren’t going to look past that and we are excited for it.”

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

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