Reed City opens CSAA season with win

NEWAYGO — That’s better.

A week after suffering a season-opening loss, Reed City’s football team started its Central State Activities Association Gold Division campaign with a 24-12 win over Newaygo on Friday.

The Coyotes (1-1, 1-0) scored on the game’s first play, built a 16-6 halftime lead and went on to their first win of the season over the host Lions (1-1, 0-1).

Despite the win, coach Monty Price still had some concerns.

“To sum it up, I told the boys we keep trying to figure out ways to keep teams in ballgames or get beat,” Price said, “instead of thinking of ways to dominate. Just on execution, we’re not thinking well enough, we’re not thinking fast enough and we’re not executing fast.

“We’re missing assignments, and it’s just killing us. Negative yardage plays are deadly for us and our offense. We have to get positive yards. That comes down to execution and blocking the right guy. We’re just not doing that consistently.”

The game starting out dramatically with Phillip Jones taking the opening kickoff 77 yards for the touchdown, and Connor Agan running for the two points and an 8-0 lead.

“It’s a good start,” Price said. “Phillip hit it quick and hit it fast.”

Reed City survived a fumble deep in its own territory in the first quarter as the defense kept the Lions off the scoreboard.

Quarterback Jackson Price scrambled 31 yards for a touchdown midway in the second quarter and Brandon Major’s two-point run made it 16-0.

Zachary Rodriguez returned the kickoff 50 yards to the Coyote 11, and Newaygo’s Connor Swinehart scored on the next play on the quarterback keeper. The PAT failed and it was 16-6.

Stephen Shewan had a 10-yard quarterback sack on fourth down at midfield late in the fourth to stop a lengthy Newaygo drive.

The Coyotes countered with their own 50-yard drive, capped off on Jones’ 9-yard scoring run with 9:52 to play. Jackson Price’s two-point conversion pass to Anthony Pelton made it 24-6.

Swinehart passed 50 yards to Brad Rogowski to spark a Newaygo drive. It set up an 11-yard Swinehart TD run, making it 24-12 with 7:45 to play. Newaygo had one final drive end at the Coyote 20 late in the game.

“We struggled a little bit, but we pulled through,” Jackson Price said. “Everyone kind of struggled, but we got the W.”

Reed City beat Newaygo 27-7 last season.

In season-opening games last week, Reed City lost to Montague 48-14, while Newaygo defeated Hopkins 42-21

Reed City had not lost its opener since 2009, when the Coyotes started out 0-2.

“We have to go back to work and figure out how to get better,” Monty Price said.

Zach Wirgau rushed for 91 yards and Jackson Price ran for 58 yards and had one pass completion for eight yards. Jones rushed for 53 yards. The Coyotes had 248 yards rushing.

“This should have been a blowout,” Wirgau said. “But you’re always happy with the win. We made big progress (from last week). The defense was a big thing.”

Newaygo had 57 yards rushing and 64 passing.

“He had a pick-six that was dropped and another pick that was dropped,” Monty Price said. “We’re just not valuing the football and we’re just not executing. That’s a recipe for disaster if we don’t get it fixed.”

Reed City has its home opener on Friday against CSAA Gold opponent Fremont.