Coyotes open summer football schedule

REED CITY — Collin Hatfield had been waiting for summer football for a long time.

Hatfield and the Coyotes participated with Genesee in a 7-on-7 passing scrimmage on Saturday at Alma College’s Bahlke Field.

It was the Coyotes’ first 7-on-7 for the summer.

Hatfield, a senior running back and defensive back, was injured during the final game last season against Grand Rapids West Catholic in the regional. He had  ACL surgery on his knee, putting him on the sidelines for several months. He said he’s back at 100 percent and able to participate in summer activities.

“I finished therapy a couple of months ago,” Hatfield said.

The main objective of the 7-on-7 scrimmages is “to get better on defense,” he added.

Schuyler Smith, a tight end and outside linebacker, was impressed with his team’s performance on Saturday.

“Our first session on offense was really great,” he said. “Our second session we started slacking and then we picked it up.”

Smith said there were 15 Reed City players at the scrimmage.

“We usually run the ball during the season, but this helps us bring out our passing in case we need it,” he said.

The four-time defending Central State Activities Association champions will be having lifting sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer. The team takes a break June 29 through July 3 for the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s mandated dead week.

Blocking camps will start on July 6 with sessions every Monday and Wednesday night for three weeks. Other 7-on-7 passing scrimmages are scheduled for July 11 at Ferris State University and July 31 at Alma College.

“I think it helps us (on both sides of the ball),” Hatfield said. “It really helps us defensively, too.”

“It gets us ready for the season,” Smith said. “We face a couple of throwing threats.”

He anticipates Baldwin, Chippewa Hills and Tri County will be among the most dangerous passing teams the Coyotes will face. The season kicks off Aug. 28 at Baldwin in nonleague action.