Reed City eyes title victory over defending state champions

REED CITY — A familiar opponent is on the agenda for the Reed City Coyotes on Friday night when they put a 10-0 record on the line against two-time defending state champion Grand Rapids West Catholic (8-2).

Reed City advanced to the district finals with a 50-27 win last Friday over Manistee. The Coyotes won their first district championship last season.

The Falcons defeated Muskegon Oakridge 28-14 last week and have won seven straight after a 1-2 start. The only losses were 22-21 to Jackson Lumen Christi and 48-15 to Forest Hills Eastern.

“They’re pretty talented across the board,” Reed City coach Monty Price said. “They’re a solid ballclub.”

The Falcons are led by quarterback Gaetano Vallone, who was 11-of-15 in passing for 301 yards and two touchdowns, plus two interceptions, against Oakridge, and ran for 84 yards.

“They’re a different team, but they do have some carryover from last year,” Price said. “They’ve really done a great job of building tradition and building the program to a competitive level.”

West Catholic was 14-0 last season and defeated the Coyotes 56-28 in the regional final. The Falcons also beat Reed City 42-7 in the 2011 district final.

“We’ll continue to do what we do, go back to work trying to fine tune it and make it better,” Price said. “We think we have a pretty good group of kids and a very talented team as well. We’ll stick to the game plan and stick to what we do and what we know best and hopefully that will be good enough. We think it can be if we execute at a high level.”

The Coyotes were plagued with turnovers in their win over Manistee.

“We have to be very sharp, very disciplined and take care of the football,” Price said. “It’s going to be two teams that know what it takes to get the job done, and it’s going to be a matter of the team that prepares the hardest and can connect at the highest level.”