Lions hand Coyotes first regular-season loss since 2010

REED CITY — Newaygo only completed one pass Friday night. But it was a big one.

Jack Boyd’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Cole Chesley in the second quarter proved to be the winning play in a 14-6 Newaygo victory over Reed City that snapped the Coyotes’ 31-game regular-season winning streak.

The Coyotes, who hadn’t lost in the regular season since week seven of the 2010 campaign, couldn’t get the offense moving against a stingy Newaygo defense during a downpour that lasted the entire game.

Both teams entered the game 2-0 and 1-0 in the Central State Activities Association (CSAA) Gold Division. The Coyotes came into the season with three straight 9-0 regular-season records and CSAA titles.

“That’s a phenomenal team,” Newaygo coach Andy Busch said of the Coyotes. “Reed City’s tough and the perennial powerhouse. They’ve owned this conference and the CSAA for several years. They’re still a fine team.”

Reed City coach Monty Price’s message to his players after the game was clear.

“It was to not let this define us, that life is full of adversity and a true test of a man’s character and a team’s ability to be a championship caliber team is how they respond to adversity,” Price said. “That’s just the way it is.”

Newaygo had the field position early in the game and it paid off when a penalty on a punt return put the Coyotes at their own 7-yard-line in the first quarter. On the first play, Cole Chesley recovered a fumble at the Reed City 6. On fourth down at the 2, Reo Heinzman scored on a left end sweep and it was 6-0.

Early in the second quarter, Boyd passed 37 yards to Chesley for the touchdown and Matt Milbourne ran in for the two points and a 14-0 lead. Patrick Jobes’ 47-yard kickoff return got the Coyotes back in business and set up a 1-yard run by Green who had some key gains during the 33-yard touchdown drive. The try for two points failed.

The Coyotes had some chances in the second half including early in the third when Trenton Sturgell recovered a fumble at the 34 of Newaygo. Reed City couldn’t score but Newaygo mishandled a punt moments later and the Coyotes recovered at the Lions’ 5. Three plays later, the Coyotes were at the same spot. On fourth and goal at the 5. Patterson, on a keeper, nearly scored but was stopped at the 1.

“Our defense stepped up big time (Friday),” Busch said. “I’m so proud of our guys. In past weeks, we’ve gotten by with offense. This week, we made it happen with defense.”

In the fourth quarter, the Coyotes struggled with field position and went to the air late in the game but were unable to get the tying points on the board.

“They dominated us up front,” Price said. “I thought our defense played a fabulous game, holding a Newaygo offense to 14 points and one touchdown that we gave them at our (6-yard line). Their defensive line and defensive players dominated our offensive front and we couldn’t get anything going.”

Green had 95 yards rushing but Reed City was only able to generate 135 total yards. Newaygo netted 188 yards on the ground.

“These are two teams that score 50 points a game,” Busch said. “The weather set us both down. Our kids worked hard in practice and kept playing.”

Reed City is home against Grandville Calvin Christian next Friday in non-league action.

“Reed City’s a fine ballclub,” Busch said. “They’ll come back. We’ve been down this road. I’m sure we’ll see each other before it’s all said and done this year again.”

“We were fighting,” Price said of his team’s 14-0 deficit. “We just couldn’t overcome it. We came into this game banged up and are leaving it a little more banged up than we were. I’m not going to make any excuses. They were better (Friday).”

The Coyotes will focus in practices next week on starting another streak.

“Streaks start somewhere and unfortunately they end somewhere,” Price said. “Maybe it will be a little bit of relief to get that monkey off our back. Everyone’s been making a big deal out of it and it’s been a lot of pressure on our kids for a lot of years. It’s gone now. Now we can focus on being a football team, executing and playing the game because we love it. There’s a lot of season left and we’re not going to quit now.”

NEWAYGO 14, REED CITY 6

N     06     08     00     00     —     14

R     00     06     00     00     —     06

Scoring summary

First Quarter

N — Reo Heinzman 2 run (2-pt run failed), 2:25.

Second Quarter

N — Jack Boyd 37 pass to Cole Chesly (Matt Milbourne run), 9:28

R — Jon Green 1 run (Run fails), 5:01

Third Quarter

No scoring

Fourth Quarter

No scoring

Individual Statistics

Rushing: Reed City  43-120 (Collin Hatfield 5-18, Andre Jones 12-2, Jon Green 21-95, Nolan Patterson 5-5)

Passing: Reed City (Patterson 1-5-0-15)

Receiving: Reed City (Green 1-15)