Reed City blitzes Pinconning in playoff opener

REED CITY — Reed City has a knack for winning first-round football playoff games.

It happened for the sixth straight season with a 35-6 win over Pinconning in Friday’s Division 5 predistrict game.

The win gives Reed City (10-0) another home playoff game next week against Chippewa Hills for the district title. The Coyotes will be bidding for their second district crown ever and second in three seasons.

Logan Straub bolted 48 yards for a Reed City touchdown in the first quarter, moments after Phillip Jones dashed 38 yards for a score was nullified on a holding penalty.

Zach Wirgau ran 53 yards for a Coyote touchdown in the second quarter.

On both touchdowns, Reed City kicked the extra point, but Pinconning was whistled for being offsides. The Coyotes went for the 2-point conversion both times from the one-yard line with Straub and Jones getting the two-point runs.

It was 16-0 at halftime.

The Spartans penetrated inside Reed City territory to the 15 late in the second quarter but ran out of downs.

But to open the second half, the Spartans scored when Jacob Rittenberg ran the first play 56 yards on the quarterback keeper. He scored moments later on a one-yard run to make it 16-6.

But Reed City responded with a scoring drive that ended on Wirgau’s eight-yard run. Straub added a 10-yard scoring run later in the quarter. Derrick Rasor passed to Trent Sturgell 48 yards for another touchdown and 35-6 lead later in the third.

The Coyotes had 60 yards in penalties.

“We just had too many penalties,” Reed City coach Monty Price said. “We let them hang around. We put ourselves in bad situations. I thought we left some scores in the first half on the field. Defensively, I thought we played great but we have to clean up penalties which was uncharacteristic of us, especially those holdings. In the second half, we played much better.”

The Spartans (6-4), had their first winning season since 2009, which was also the last time they made the playoffs.

“Penalties killed us, we have to get smarter on that,” Straub said. “Offensively, I feel like we’ve made huge improvements from week one to now.”

Wirgau had 130 yards and Straub had 107 yards rushing. Reed City ran for 311 yards. Rasor had four completions for 95 yards. Sturgell caught three passes for 85 yards.

Rittenberg ran for 130 yards for Pinconning. The Spartans had 198 yards rushing and 19 passing.

“They caught us in a little misdirection stuff with their quarterback counter on that first drive (of the second half),” Price said. “That’s what led to their touchdown. We cleaned that right up. We made some adjustments on that.”

Chippewa Hills defeated Clare 32-27 to earn its rematch with Reed City.

“It’s bittersweet because I hate to play a league opponent,” Price said. ‘I have a lot of respect for coach (Larry) Jose and his program. It’s unfortunate we have to play in the second round and one of our league teams will have to be out of the playoffs.”

Earlier this season, Reed City won at Chippewa Hills 12-8 in a Central State Activities Association Gold Division game that ultimately was the difference in the Coyotes taking the league title over the Warriors.

“We had a battle in the regular seaon and I expect it to be much of the same thing, a physical battle,” Price said. “We’ll have to work hard. They’re a solid football team.”

“It’s been hard work, dedication and just doing what our coaches tell us to do,” Straub said.