Fantastic defensive performance leads to a Reed City win in overtime

The Coyotes would hold No. 18 ranked Cadillac to eight points in 16-8 win.

REED CITY—After averaging over 54 points per game over the course of the season, it would come as a pleasant surprise to the Coyotes faithful that the defense would lead the charge to a win against No. 18 ranked-Cadillac in overtime.

Reed City scored on its first possession of the game and on its last, but 50-plus minutes of game time in-between saw the Coyotes put together their best defensive performance of the year. The Coyotes would hold Cadillac to 207 yards of offense and eight points, pulling off a dramatic 16-8 win in overtime.

"That was what we want before playoffs right there," coach Scott Shankel said before talking about the one score loss to open the season to Cadillac in 2021. "It's a good team and got some strong dudes, hats off to my kids, man. They didn't back down and they came to play. Defensively, I couldn't be prouder of them."

The first score of the game came off a 30-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Xavier Allen to wide receiver Seth Jackson. Jackson would reel in three deep passes for 118 yards on the evening, setting the Coyotes up with good field position.

"We practice it over and over and over again. When we can't run the ball, we've got to be able to pass it well," Jackson said.

The game would then become a defensive slugfest, with Reed City getting into the redzone twice in the first half, but coming away with no points. Cadillac would open the second half in similar fashion, getting stopped on fourth down at the 1-yard line. They would also reach the redzone in the next drive but would come up short on fourth down.

Leading the team in tackles was Logan Langworthy with seven. Morgan would earn three tackles, a tackle for a loss, and a pass breakup on the evening, also serving as the team's best pass rusher, getting to the QB on multiple occasions, forcing bad throws.

"We just didn't let them move the ball. We were playing physical and our line started up and linebackers were filling holes and didn't get any yards really," Morgan said.

After Cadillac scored with four minutes left and tied the game at 8-8, the Coyotes were able to set themselves up at the goalline with less than a minute to play off a 40-yard reception by Jackson. Cadillac would come up strong at the goal line, forcing overtime.

The game winning touchdown came in the first possession of overtime off a QB sneak by Xavier Allen, with Noah Morgan getting the 2-point conversion. Allen would finish the night passing for 119 yards and one touchdown, going 5-of-8 on pass attempts. 

"It was crazy. I mean, you don't get two times to think so you just just go at it and worked in our favor," Allen said on keeping his composure in overtime.

The Coyotes defense would step up again to close out the game and improve their record to 8-1 heading into the playoffs.

"It helps you to get healthy guys, guys are getting more and more comfortable with their role," Shankel said of the team's improvement defensively. "We've been able to tweak a few things, we're moving a few kids and doing a few things. So it's working out and they're starting to believe and trust in the system. So they know they can play."

Overall, the Coyotes totaled 326 yards of offense, rushing for 207 yards off of 51 attempts. Bryson Hughes led the team with 89 yards off of 21 attempts. Morgan would run for 62 yards on 14 attempts. 

The Coyotes are all but guaranteed to get a home playoff game next weekend. They will learn who that opponent is on Sunday.