Ground game helps Reed City stay perfect
REED CITY — It wasn’t the typical “grind it out” effort the Reed City football team was used to on Friday, but the results were very similar in a 40-20 win over Hesperia.
With Hesperia’s defensive front selling out to stop the Coyotes’ inside trap and off-tackle runs, Reed City coach Monty Price knew his team would have to take what the Panthers were giving them.
The Coyotes went outside, running a number of sweep plays, which resulted in a number of big plays on the ground in the win. Reed City finished with 428 yards on the ground on 47 carries.
“They’ve got some big kids on the inside, and it looked like they were scheming to take away our inside run game,” he said. “As always, we’ll take what they give us and we had some success running on the outside with the athletes we have.”
The Coyotes (7-0, 7-0) got 137 yards on the ground from Garrett Benson, while Jordan Straub went for another 118 yards in the victory.
Benson scored Reed City’s first touchdown on a 16-yard run as he broke outside to make it 7-0 midway through the first quarter. Reed City then went play-action on the next drive, when quarterback Chad Samuels hooked up with Benson for a 43-yard touchdown with 51 seconds left in the quarter.
Benson, who finished with four touchdowns on the evening, said the outside sweep ended up being the Coyotes’ bread and butter on Friday.
“When we watched film on them, they seemed to stop the off-tackle stuff pretty good,” he said. “We thought we would stick with traps and off-tackle stuff, but they were giving us that outside sweep, so we took it.”
Reed City temporarily lost some momentum in the second quarter when Samuels tossed a pick-six that was returned 21 yards by Hesperia’s Brett Salisbury to make it 14-6 with 8:09 in the second quarter.
The Coyotes would score on their next offensive play, however, when Straub busted a run outside and sprinted 77 yards to get the lead back up to 21-6.
Straub said he thought the Coyotes’ offensive line held its own despite the Panthers loading the box.
“It was tough, because the defense was pinching down,” he said. “They were bigger than most of our line, but I thought our line did a good job.”
Hesperia’s biggest offensive play of the game got the Panthers on the board with 1:30 remaining in the half on a 43-yard touchdown pass from Kaleb McAree to Salisbury to make it 21-12 with 1:30 left in the half.
Benson, however, broke yet another long run on the Coyotes’ next drive — this time a 73-yard touchdown — to make it 27-12 at the half.
Outside of a couple of big plays, Price was happy with his defense’s performance.
“I think our defense was dominating,” he said. “Two scores were on two plays, an interception and the pass play and then a drive late in the game against our second defense. I credit them, they’re a solid team that has improved.”
Benson added his fourth touchdown of the evening with 6:42 left in the third quarter on a 13-yard scamper. Reed City’s Paris Jones added a 10-yard touchdown dive to make it 40-12 with 8:30 left.
Hesperia added a late score on a 14-yard rumble by McAree. Reed City was led defensively by Jake Vincent with 12 tackles, while Jordon Rolston had nine stops.
Reed City is in action again on Friday when the Coyotes travel to Central Montcalm.
Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from this game.
REED CITY 40, HESPERIA 20
RC 14 13 7 6 — 40
HES 0 12 0 8 — 20
RC — Garrett Benson 16 run (Ricky Droke kick), 6:36
RC — Benson 43 pass from Chad Samuels (Droke kick), :51
HES — Brett Salisbury 21 interception return (kick failed), 8:09
RC — Jordan Straub 77 run (Droke kick), 6:57
HES — Salisbury 43 pass from Kaleb McAree (kick failed), 1:30
RC — Benson 73 run (kick failed), 1:09
RC — Benson 13 run (Droke kick), 6:42
RC — Paris Jones 10 run (kick blocked), 8:30
HES — McAree 14 run (McAree to Elijah Olsen), 4:44
Rushing: Reed City 47-428 (Benson 9-137, Straub 11-118, Travis French 5-62, Chad Samuels 5-42, Jonathan Green 5-25, Jones 6-24, Josh Saez 5-18). Hesperia 42-185 (McAree 10-67, Colin Kleiner 9-46, Cash Bolles 11-38).
Passing: Reed City 2-4-1-61 (Samuels 2-4-1-61). Hesperia 1-9-0-43 (McAree 1-9-0-43).
Receiving: Reed City 2-61 (Benson 1-43, Bradford 1-18). Hesperia 1-43 (Salisbury 1-43).