Coyotes take on defending state champions Friday

REED CITY – Grand Rapids West Catholic will come to Reed City Friday night in the Division 5 district final football playoff game with an 8-2 record and also as the defending state champions.

The Coyotes, 10-0, will bid to make it 11-0 and play for another week. But, Reed City coach Monty Price and his players admit, it won’t be easy. “They’re a good solid football team,” said Price. “They’ve got good tradition and are very talented.” West Catholic defeated Manistee 49-14 in a first-round game last week. Jaylon Faison is among West Catholic’s top runners, Tommy Staskiewicz is dangerous at quarterback and Kyle O’Hearn is tough as a receiver. Dan Rohn is West Catholic’s coach. His team won the O-K Blue Conference at 6-0. “We had some young kids to start the season, but they’ve really grown up and I think we’re playing better right now,” Rohn said. “We’re managing the game well. We’ve improved each week on special teams. Offensively, we’ve only turned the ball over six times all year.” The Coyotes could occasionally see the ball in the air. “We’re committed to running the ball,” Rohn said. “If we want to spread things out, we have the ability to throw down field. Our young quarterback is doing well. He’s a senior, but I say ‘young’ because he didn’t start last year.” “They have a lot of good athletes,” Price said. ‘When you play an opponent like West Catholic, you have to bring your A game. We’ve been playing good football.” West Catholic was 13-1 last season but has lost twice this year, indicating the Falcons could be more vulnerable. “Anybody is vulnerable,” Price said. “Their losses are to Muskegon Catholic and Orchard Lake St. Mary. Everybody knows those two programs have always had a lot of good teams.” Rohn has plenty of respect for the Coyotes. “When I was in Fremont, I had the opportunity to play Reed City and Monty’s teams,” Rohn said. “I know his kids will be physical. They’re committed to what they do offensively and defensively. We know they’re going to play a good football game. We look forward to the challenge.” The Coyotes will have home field for another week. “That has to be an advantage,” Price said. “You don’t have the distractions of what’s going on the road and our parents and fans are there.”