REED CITY — The number of returning players is low for the Reed City Coyotes, but hopes remain high for a team that opens the season Friday at home against North Muskegon.

Monty Price starts his 18th year at Reed City with an 114-60 mark as Coyote coach. The team has won five straight Central State Activities Association titles.

Key players are expected to include seniors Logan Straub at linebacker/running back; Brandon Evans at wide receiver/defensive back; Derrick Rasor at quarterback/defensive back; Trent Sturgell at wide receiver/defensive back and Tyler Kerr at linebacker and tight end; plus juniors Jackson Miller at offensive end and defensive line and Jeffery Phenix at tight end/linebacker.

Straub said he was optimistic about how his team played at Thursday’s scrimmage at Montague, and is confident of success when Reed City opens Friday.

As usual, the running game will be critical for the Coyotes.

“We need to improve in playing physical,” Price said. “The back end of our defense should be solid. We need to improve up front and develop experience.

“We want to compete on Monday through Thursday with extra hot sauce on Friday and be relentless in the classroom.”

Price offered his thoughts on Thursday’s scrimmage.

“We’re young, and playing way too high right now” Price said. “But our effort is very good and we’re actually playing a lot more physical than I anticipated. We have a lot of minor things we have to address. But overall I’m pretty please. We’ll go back to work on some things this week and see if we can get better.”

Price said North Muskegon returns all but three players.

“They’ve got some speed and they’re big,” he said. “They look very solid. I think it’s going to be a great challenge.”