Parker Ward playing key role for Coyotes

Parker Ward
Parker Ward

REED CITY — Parker Ward is among the Reed City seniors who doesn’t want to see his Coyote football career end on Saturday.

Ward and his teammates play Menominee at home in a Division 5 regional title game. They want to win their first ever regional title, and head for the state semifinal contest next week.

Ward has been a starting safety for the Coyotes, who are 10-1 and holders of seven straight Central State Activities Association Gold Division titles.

He’s been safety for two straight seasons and finally got his chance to be a starter this year.

“This year we lost all of our starters in the defensive backfield last year other than Phillip (Jones),” Ward said. “We had to step up and lead the team in pass coverage and help out around the edges.”

As a safety, “my role is to read the offense and try to call it out for everybody else so they can rally to the ball. I’m the only senior defensive back so I have to take charge for everyone else,” Ward said. “I can see the field pretty well when I’m back there. I understand route combinations as far as it goes like slants and all of that.”

Ward had an interception in the first-round playoff 54-8 win over Grayling.

“We were actually out of formation so I was playing over my guy,” Ward recalled. “He ran a post and I broke on the ball, caught it and returned it 20 yards.”

It’s among his top thrills. But Friday, Reed City faced a 9-1 Clare team.

“We have to stop their top running back and have to be physical against their line,” Ward said prior to the game. “They’re pretty big. We have to execute our assignments.”