Reed City clinches playoff spot; set for homecoming contest

PRESSING FORWARD: Reed City's Paris Jones (11) tries to escape from the Chippewa Hills defense. (Herald Review photos/Justin McKee)
PRESSING FORWARD: Reed City’s Paris Jones (11) tries to escape from the Chippewa Hills defense. (Herald Review photos/Justin McKee)

REED CITY — It’s homecoming week for the Reed City Coyotes and it’s obviously a game on a football schedule that any squad wants to win.

But a victory over Hesperia for the Coyotes means more than just winning their homecoming game.

The Coyotes, at 6-0, have clinched a post-season playoff spot but would like to get more wins to solidify homefield advantage. There’s also a matter of winning another CSAA trophy and going 9-0 for the second straight season.

Hesperia enters the game with a 3-3 record and Price cautions that the Panthers are much improved from previous seasons when they would struggle for wins. Hesperia defeated Big Rapids last season, for example.

“I’m expecting a team that’s hungry to get a W and get closer to making the playoffs,” Price said. “I’m expecting a team that plays very aggressive and physical. I don’t think they’re the Hesperia team of old. They’ve been very competitive thus far. We’re expecting a tough match.”

After six games, the record shows six Ws.

“I’d hate to make the notion that we’re just ecstatic because there’s a lot of things we’re not doing well and a lot of things we need to improve on,” Price said. “Certainly, we’re pleased with where we’re at in terms of our performance and record. We’re realistic and know we’re certainly not perfect.”

Meanwhile, Price would like to get one thing straight — the Reed City offense isn’t as easy as it looks.

Even though the Coyotes rolled to an easy 38-14 victory over Chippewa Hills on Friday night, looks can be deceiving

The Warriors fall to 3-3 on the season.

The Coyotes scored on their first four possessions of the game — on 5- and 13-yard runs by Jordan Straub, a 5-yard scamper by Chad Samuels and a 21-yard field goal by Ricky Droke.

Reed City racked up 229 yards of offense in the first half in taking a 24-7 lead into halftime.

“We were taking what they were giving us,” Price said. “I think people mistake our offense for what it’s not. It’s not simplistic. We have a plan, it’s what we do and that’s why we do it.”

You would get no argument from Chippewa Hills coach Larry Jose.

The Warriors struggled in trying to stop the Coyotes in the first half, only getting the Coyotes to punt the ball once just before half in the first two quarters of action.

“Reed City fired off the ball better than we did,” Jose said. “They did a few things differently blocking wise, but they fired off the ball and went downhill and executed.”

The execution wasn’t limited to the Reed City offense.

The Coyotes ran only five offensive plays in the third quarter, yet scored 14 points on a 15-yard fumble return by Garrett Benson after Chippewa Hills quarterback Jake Tarbell had the ball slip out of his hands when he was winding up to throw a pass.

That was followed by a 59-yard interception return by Eric Bradford off a Ty Schaffer pass on the next possession.

“(The defense) was outstanding,” Price said. “We were a little worried about their big-play threats. We were able to take away those threats and tried to have them get us bit by bit and I don’t think that is what they want to do.”

Jose agreed.

“A lot of credit goes to Reed City,” Jose said. “They took stuff away from us that we have been executing really well by scheme and by players. We are a big-play team and we count on those and we were just a little off on those big plays.”

Pioneer Prep Editor Bob Allan also contributed to this report.