Reed City, Pine River football teams are the top sports stories for 2014
It was another memorable year in area sports.
Here's are the top memories of 2014.
1 Reed City football
One streak ended for the Reed City Coyotes, but a coveted goal was reached for the first time in Coyote football history. Reed City entered the season with three straight CSAA titles and a 27-game winning streak during the regular season.
The streak ended in a 14-6 loss to Newaygo in week 3, but the Coyotes came back to share the title with the Lions for No. 4.
In the playoffs, they avenged their regular season loss to Newaygo and edged Chippewa Hills 22-21 for their first ever district crown. They lost to eventual state champion West Catholic in the regional final.
All-stater T.J. Patterson and Ian MacDonald were two talented linemen for the Coyotes, while Jon Green and Andre Jones keyed another strong running attack. Logan Straub and Taylor Pelton were among two key defensive players for coach Monty Price's Coyotes.
Price passed a milestone with his 100th career victory at Reed City.
2 Pine River football
It was quite a turnaround for the Pine River football team, which was 3-6 in 2013. This year, the Bucks were 6-3 for a playoff spot, the first since 2005. They won their first two playoff games over Tawas and Sanford Meridian to take the district title. Terry Martin was named the Pioneer's Dream Team coach of the year.
Brandon Fulks ran the opening kickoff of the season for the touchdown and set the tone for a memorable finish after a 2-2 start. Tyler McCurry led a power offensive line, Jeff Gross was strong on the defensive line and Mitchell McDonald had a strong season in the defensive backfield.
3 Pine River basketball
Pine River's boys basketball team was solid with an undefeated run for the Highland Conference title. In the district, the Bucks advanced to the final, but fell to host Beaverton.
Mitch McDonald again had a big season for the Bucks. Pine River graduated talent seniors like Brandon Hoaglund and Skyler Nelson.
For the girls, Kassy Nelson had another strong season as a junior and the Bucks were able to overcome an injury to key player Cheyenna Rizor. Nelson, prior to the 2014-15 season, signed a letter of intent to play at Saginaw Valley State. She was averaging in the 20s during December for the Bucks.
4 Reed City basketball's success
It was another banner season for Reed City basketball with seniors like Chad Samuels, Kyle Wright and Josh Saez leading the way. The Big Rapids-Reed City rivalry was as intense as ever. The teams met twice during the regular season and split. Big Rapids won the district semifinal and went on to make another appearance in the state quarterfinals.
5 Jessica Tea-hui
Evart's boys track team won state titles for MITCA in 2012 and 2013. This year for the girls, Jessica Tea-Hui was an MHSAA high jump state champion at 5 feet, 4 inches in Division 4, ending a solid season for the Wildcat program. The Evart girls were second in the regionals.
6 Pine River wrestling
It was another strong year for coach Tim Jones' program. The Bucks were conference and district champs and also had a 25-2 dual record. Jones was awarded the Regional Coach of the Year by the Michigan High School Wrestling Coaches Association.
The Bucks have won 13 of the past 14 conference titles as well as 16 of the past 17 district championships. Jones has won numerous regional championships and has helped many qualify for the individual state tournament.
Kyle Nixon, fourth in the state, had one of the top records for the Bucks.
7 Evart boys track
The Wildcats didn't get a MITCA state title in their bid for a three-peat, but they did win the Division 3 regional meet at Marion. The boys also won the Highland Conference title. Max Hodges, Dean Marsh and Santana Scott were the individual conference champs, along with the 3,200-meter relay team.
8 Pine River baseball
Pine River was the defending district and regional champion. It was another solid baseball season for the Bucks who claimed the district title again, but their quest fell short for another regional crown. Seniors like Skyler Nelson and Brandon Hoaglund again had a huge season.
9 Reed City wrestling
Adam Kehr of Reed City finished his career with a strong third-place finish at 145 pounds in Division 3 at the wrestling state final. In the third place match, Kehr, 47-4, had a 4-3 decision over Kevin Briscoe of Chippewa Hills.
10 New Evart wrestling club
A new sport came to Evart this winter with the wrestling club. Football coach Pat Craven was among those spearheading the effort to bring the sport to the high school to provide another varsity sport in the future to those currently in the youth program. Wrestlers coached by Ryan Hopkins, are currently under club status.