Coyote first-year coach reflects on season

REED CITY -- It was a memorable first season for Reed City football coach Scott Shankel.

The Coyotes were 6-4 overall and 5-2 in the Central State Activities Association Gold Division.

"I am very proud of what the team accomplished this season," Shankel said. "We battled adversity all season long and had another successful season. I am very proud of the senior class for their leadership and work ethic, they continued to show the underclassmen the CUJO way of football."

CUJO stands for Coyotes United Jeopardizes Opponents.

"We fell a little short on winning conference, but met the expectations of making the playoffs," Shankel said. "I'm very pleased with how the season ended up, we had tons of players with little varsity game experience. When we found our groove, everything come together.

"Top highlight were making the playoffs for the 10th consecutive year in a row, beating Central Montcalm when they were undefeated, and seeing another senior class having a successful season.

"We were replacing a large senior class from the year before, so we had low number issues all season which makes it difficult to practice. We lost to Grant early by two points, and lost against Newaygo in week 8."

Top athletes were Jeffrey Samuels, Austin Whitehead, Austin Fowler, Auston Major-Kailing, Noah Jones, Payton Hansen, Joseph Shewan and Darrin Halladay.

Key graduates are Samuels, Whitehead, Fowler, Major-Kailing and Halladay.

Key returners are Hansen, Jones, Shewan, Alex Wirgau, Teddy Cross, Landon Tomaski, Chaz Davis, Seth Jackson, Isaac Williams, Dylan Schebil and Blake Vanalstine.

"Next year looks very positive," Shankel said. "We have a few pieces to put into place, but have a strong returning class coming back that has shown they are willing to put the work in to get better. I'm very excited with the group and look forward to getting to work and getting better.

"I am super proud of this team. The seniors and underclassmen were very commitment to the process from the start of summer to the last practice. It was a huge accomplishment to make it to the playoffs for the 10 straight year."