Reeths-Puffer’s 1992 football team raises the state championship trophy after its victory at the Pontiac Silverdome 20 years ago. Reeths-Puffer will honor the team this weekend at the homecoming game against Zeeland East.
MUSKEGON — Reeths-Puffer will honor its 1992 Division 2 state championship team in a special ceremony during the Rockets’ homecoming game this Friday against Zeeland East. It will be the first reunion that the 1992 team has had since winning the title 20 years ago.
Alex Kops, who played center, linebacker and nose guard for the team, has played a large part in organizing the reunion, along with Rockets’ athletic director Tony Schmitt. Kops said he and a few other teammates used Facebook to get in touch with the rest of the team.
“A couple of us got to talking and thought it would be fun,” Kops said. “We thought we ought to try and get together. We got wind that the school was thinking about doing something, so we got in contact with Tony, and we sat down, had a meeting and it’s kind of gone from there.”
The Rockets won the championship over Thanksgiving weekend 1992, defeating Walled Lake Western, 21-18, on a flea-flicker touchdown pass from Geoff Zietlow to Stacy Starr with 23 seconds left in the game. DeMarkeo Hill would later seal the win with an interception in Rockets’ territory as the Warriors attempted to drive down the field.
The team remains the only state championship team in Rockets’ football history, and is one of only four Reeths-Puffer football squads to have an undefeated season. In fact, the Rockets’ 1992 team was the last to win a playoff game.
The reunion will include a chicken dinner for the team hosted by the Touchdown Club, Reeths-Puffer’s athletic boosters. There will also be a halftime recognition of the 1992 team on the field.
Asked what his favorite memory of the 1992 championship run was, Kops said the overall experience of the state championship game at the Pontiac Silverdome topped everything else.
“Playing for the school and playing for a 13-0 season, something our school system had never done before as far as the state championship,” Kops said.
Kops said he and his teammates are excited to get together to celebrate Reeths-Puffer’s first championship season and is hopeful that a solid majority of the team returns for the celebration.
“Everyone I’ve talked to is pretty excited about it,” Kops said. “We have some out-of-towners that probably won’t come back in, but I’m hoping 60-70 percent come back. Half of us still live in the area.”
The Rockets are 1-5 this year in Kyle Jewett’s first season as the head coach, but for the most part have been very competitive in each game. This weekend’s game with 6-0 Zeeland East will be especially difficult for Reeths-Puffer. Kops said he is hopeful that Jewett will get the Rockets’ program back to a consistently solid level.
Until that happens, Rockets’ fans will still have the memories of one team that would not be denied and provided the school with long-awaited football hardware.