Reed City football team overpowers Big Rapids

Reed City's Noah Jones stretched into the end zone on a two-point conversion play against Big Rapids on Friday night. (Herald Review photo/Joe Judd)

Reed City's Noah Jones stretched into the end zone on a two-point conversion play against Big Rapids on Friday night. (Herald Review photo/Joe Judd)

BIG RAPIDS -- There was no love lost, but plenty of respect gained when the Big Rapids Cardinals and Reed City Coyotes saw each other for their annual meeting on Friday night at Top Taggart Field.

Forty-eight minutes of football produced a rollercoaster of emotions between the pair of rivals, but more importantly, it produced a winner -- once again that winner was Reed City, to the tune of a 36-8 final score.

Separated by less than 15 miles, it was apparent from the opening kickoff that it would be a very physically contested game.

This resulted in a fair amount of unwanted penalty yards, which negated some big gains for both squads.

Reed City's run-first, Wing-T attack kept the Cardinals confused on defense all night and it accounted for each of the Coyotes' four touchdowns.

RC running back Auston Major paved the way for the Coyotes on the ground, averaging 10.8 yards-per-rush on 16 attempts. He finished with a total of 174 yards.

Fellow running back Payton Hansen amassed 126 yards on 12 carries and finding the endzone twice. Hansen averaged 10.5 yards-per-carry.

After the result, Coyote coach Scott Shankel applauded the efforts of his running game and offensive line.

"We've had a balanced attack lately with our three running backs. They were balanced with carries and yards," Shankel said. "We have the motto of: 'chase three rabbits, catch none.'"

Offense was a source of frustration in the early going for the Cardinals, who managed to use a mix of running and passing plays to drive the ball into RC-territory, but could not cross into the painted turf until much later in the game.

Big Rapids found itself in the red zone midway through the second quarter and appeared to be a step away from six points, but a fumble within the 10-yard line gave the ball back to Reed City, paving the way for the second Coyote touchdown of the game.

Reed City led 16-0 at halftime and quickly got the ball back to score its third touchdown of the game late in the third quarter.

This came after the Coyotes prevented BR from moving past the 50-yard line on the initial drive of the second half, which ended in a Cardinal punt.

BR notched its first points of the game with fewer than two minutes remaining in the third quarter, a 19-yard pass from junior Sam Alley to senior Cole McKenna.

Alley finished with 105 yards through the air with a touchdown, while completing 7-of-11 passes. On the ground, Alley gained 103 yards on 19 carries. Jack Cooley rushed the ball 17 times for an even 100 yards.

An onside kick recovered by Big Rapids moments later gave the Cardinals a short field to work with and began their next drive deep in enemy territory.

They made it to the 1-yard line, but after four failed runs up the middle, the Cardinals could not punch the ball through, and were forced to turn the ball over on downs, effectively ended any chances at a comeback.

Noah Jones officially put the game to rest moments later when he scored his 10th rushing touchdown of the season to put RC up by three scores.

Jones ended the game with 108 yards on 11 carries, averaging 9.8 yards-per-rush. He is inching closer and closer to a 1,000-yard rushing season.

RC would score once more before time expired.

As a team, the Coyotes picked up 450 yards on the ground. They completed one pass for 20 yards.