Reed City football rates as top Osceola County sports story for 2021

COVID, Evart sports also rank high

Reed City's Bryson Hughes and the Coyotes celebrated another championship season.

Reed City's Bryson Hughes and the Coyotes celebrated another championship season.

File photo

REED CITY – Osceola County had a busy and unique sports season which featured many high-profile events.

Here’s a top 10 Osceola County list to consider:

1-Reed City football

For the 10th time in the past 11 seasons, the Coyotes won the football conference title. They were 7-0 in the league, including a tough 18-12 win over Tri County.

The Coyotes lost to Montague in the district title game and finished 9-2.

2-COVID and sports

The first two months of 2021 were chaotic for sports with COVID still raging as a major disruption. Reed City was a regional finalist and facing the possibility of playing Freeland in early January with a small squad. But for COVID-related reasons, the Coyotes opted out.

The winter sports season didn’t start until early February, players had to wear masks and crowd participation was limited.

3-Evart baseball

Evart won another district title, and this time, the Wildcats captured their first regional crown since 1996 with coach Josh Johnson leading the way.

4-Evart softball

It was a big spring for Evart’s softball team, winning a district title and ending its 20-year title drought, with the Wildcat ladies emerging victorious 12-1 over Pine River in the championship game.

This was the second trophy claimed by Evart’s softball team, with the first one being a Highland Conference championship, secured less than a month prior. 

5-Evart football
It was another banner football season for the Wildcats who started out 7-1 before losing their last regular season game and their playoff contest against McBain.

6-Danny Witbeck

Witbeck completed a banner baseball season with a 16-2 record, 176 Ks, 0.232 ERA, 3 no-hitters, .431 batting average,  47 hits, 17 extra base hits, 34 RBIs, 21 stolen bases and a .989 fielding percentage.

He’s now attending Northwood.

He and the Evart sports program survived a scare in January when Witbeck collapsed from heart problems during a basketball practice but was revived with efforts from basketball coach Kris Morgan and others. He returned to the team later in the season.

7-Steve Ernst

A coaching change was made in Reed City boys basketball with Steve Ernst replacing Jesse Kailing. Ernst formerly coached at Olivet College and various high schools.

His father, Jerry Ernst, coached the Coyotes to the 1980 Class B state title.

8-Cole Hopkins

Evart’s sophomore wrestler was the state runner-up at 171 pounds. He was a district and regional champion and his only loss was in the state championship.

9-Pine River football

The Bucks forfeited their last two football games after administration officials cited what they said were bullying and hazing tactics used by some varsity players.

10-RC athletic directors

Long-time administrator Kris Griffin stepped aside after her second tour of duty as Reed City athletic director and was replaced by Ryan Hansen, a coach and former Reed City athlete.