Four-peat: Coyotes win league football championship

REMUS — Coming into Friday night’s Central State Activities Association (CSAA) Gold Division heavyweight bout between the Chippewa Hills Warriors and the Reed City Coyotes, the Warriors had given up just 72 total points through seven weeks of football. Against Reed City, they surrendered 60 in a lopsided 60-32 setback.

With the victory, the Coyotes (7-1, 5-1 CSAA Gold) share the CSAA Gold Division title with Newaygo, who also has a 5-1 record in CSAA action at the end of conference play. Reed City won the previous three CSAA titles before the conference split into two divisions prior to this season.

The highly-touted Warriors’ defense struggled early, surrendering a 9-yard score to Andre Jones on Reed City’s first drive and a 25-yard score to Jon Green later in the quarter, but the Warriors answered the first Reed City score with a 1-yard dive from Brendan Barry, resulting in a 16-6 Reed City lead in the early going.

Nolan Patterson connected with Patrick Jones on a 25-yard touchdown strike on a wheel route, giving the Coyotes a 22-6 lead with 11:03 left in the half.

“You’ve got to be willing to take risks, and our kids were confident,” Reed City coach Monty Price said. “We’ve been working on that play throughout the season. You’re always trying to save something and have it in your back pocket and the kids executed it well.”

John Wixson brought the Chippewa Hills crowd back into the game on the ensuing kickoff, returning the kick 70 yards to the Reed City 19 to set up a 13-yard score for Quentin Gossett, but the Coyotes were quick to answer again, with Green capping off a Coyote drive from 10 yards out for his second score to put the Coyotes up 30-12 after Patterson found Schuyler Smith on the two-point conversion.

The Warriors answered back minutes later, cutting the deficit to 12, but the Coyotes cruised down the field in their two-minute drill to end the half, thanks in part to a 55-yard run from Green which led to a 14-yard strike from Patterson to Chris Barton. Hatfield added the two-point run to send the Coyotes into the half with a 38-18 advantage. 

The Warriors made it 38-25 with 7:31 left in the third.

The CSAA Gold heavyweights traded scores from there, first with Reed City reaching the end zone on a 41-yard rush on a fourth down from Hatfield, then Chip Hills scoring again, resulting in a 44-32 Coyote lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Coyotes scored on the first play of the fourth as Patterson found Smith for a 27-yard touchdown.

As the Warriors tried to battle back, Patrick Jobes picked off a pass, and Jones made the turnover count with an 8-yard score with 6:14 to go, capping off the scoring.

“Our game plan was just to try to fine-tune what we do and throw some unbalanced stuff at them,” Price said. “We didn’t really catch them off guard, I think we really just won the physical battle in the trenches.”

The regular season ends at Schoolcraft Friday night.