Reed City football coach reflects on 10-1 season

REED CITY — The transition from fall to winter sports is well underway, but there’s still plenty to remember about the past several weeks, including when it comes to Reed City football.

The Coyotes would have preferred to still be playing this week, which would have put them in the state semifinals.

But it was a season in which the Coyotes were 9-0 for the fourth time in five years. For the fifth consecutive season, they won the Central State Activities Association title.

The season ended in the district final with a 21-14 loss to two-time defending champion Grand Rapids West Catholic.

“We were very pleased with the season,” veteran coach Monty Price said. “You never want it to end with a loss, but such is life, it’s a tough life lesson to learn. I’m proud of our kids. They worked extremely hard. They represented our school and community with great integrity. It’s always sad to see your seniors leave. They certainly carried on the tradition of our successful program and in many cases have built on it.

“I’m very grateful for their time in our program. It will be tough without them, but life goes on and they’ve got bigger and better things to do with their lives as well.”

All 10 wins were sweet, but big ones included the triumphs over rivals like Big Rapids and Chippewa Hills to spur the Coyotes to the title. The season-opening win over Baldwin set the tone for the season, Price said, adding beating Manistee in the playoffs gave Reed City a shot at its second straight district title.

“Even the West Catholic loss, that was one heckuva game,” Price said. “We battled toe-to-toe with the defending two-time champions and made them earn every inch of the way. I was proud of their effort and the fight we showed West Catholic.”

The Coyotes have graduated key seniors in past seasons. This year, they graduate 14 of 26 players.

“We are a little senior heavy, but we bring back a good balance of youngsters,” Price said. “Obviously our JV team was very successful. There’s a lot of talent down there. It’s young and raw talent, but we hope to develop that. Our kids returning that played varsity for us...the offseason started yesterday for us.”

The JVs were 7-2 this fall.

The 2016 schedule will take on some new wrinkles. The CSAA Gold Division goes to eight teams with the inclusion of Fremont. The Packers will replace the non-league game Reed City had in the middle of its schedule with Grandville Calvin Christian. McBain will be a non-league opponent on the ninth date. The season opens with a new opponent when North Muskegon comes to Reed City.

“It’s been a struggle the last few years finding opponents,” Price said. “We’ve looked far and wide to find people willing to play us. North Muskegon has decided they’re willing. We’re fortunate and excited to get them on the schedule.”

Fremont is a large Class B school.

“They’re around 700 to 800 kids and almost double our size,” Price said. “I  think they’ll be a great fit to the league.”