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Remembering the Rockets

Former high school football teammates Rich Bolhuis and Dan Roeloffs did a little reminiscing about their glory days during the Kelloggsville High School football team’s 75th anniversary celebration. Part of the 1971 undefeated Rocket varsity team, Roeloffs, of Marne, remembered beating Middleville High School, ranked fourth in the state, as a major highlight. Bolhuis held a T-shirt from a 40th anniversary celebration of that season.

But the memories go deeper than wins and losses, they said. “The relationships that we made here are ones that will last a lifetime,” said Bolhuis, of Hudsonville, who also served as a football coach. “I definitely would not miss a night like this.”

Decades of Memories

Several dozen and players and coaches from as far back as the 1940s stopped in East Elementary School for the celebration, held prior to the high school’s game against Hopkins High School, which they attended together. (From left to right) Rich Bolhuis and Dan Roeloffs were on the 1971 undefeated Kelloggsville High School football team

Kelloggsville Athletic Director Bruce Foster said the celebration was a way to honor a strong tradition of football. Since 1938, the team has had 16 championships. The Rockets have qualified for playoffs five out of the past six years and won one conference title.

“They are bringing their Rocket pride with them even after all these years,” he said.

Coach George Ewing, varsity coach in the ‘70s, said he loved seeing his former players. He recalled “the memory of a lifetime” as beating Hudsonville High School for the league championship.

“We had kids that had the pride of Kelloggsville. Tough, hard-hitting kids that loved football,” said Ewing, of Byron Township.

Ed Dyer, an All-Conference linebacker who played on the undefeated1971 team, went on to be a Kelloggsville coach and longtime teacher. He retired from teaching three years ago. “This makes you proud that the school’s still here. It’s still vibrant. It’s a good community,” he said.

The small school meant lots of playing time, said Dyer, of Alto. “We didn’t have very big teams as far as numbers. In 10th grade, I never sat a second of the season,” he said. Mostly, it was “just a lot of fun. “These are the things you remember,” he said.

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

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