Reed City out to defend CSAA gridiron title

RUNNING STRONG: Reed City football players work on a running play during a Monday practice. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)
RUNNING STRONG: Reed City football players work on a running play during a Monday practice. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

REED CITY – The regular season in 2011 was a dream for coach Monty Price’s Reed City football squad which went 9-0 and claimed the Central State Activities Association title.

Price and his squad would like that dream to continue this season, but they’re also hoping to avoid injuries, bad luck and other negative things that sometimes can turn that dream into a nightmare.

The season opens on Aug. 24 against rival Big Rapids and continues Aug. 30 in the home opener against another arch-rival, Morley Stanwood. There are six starters back from last season on both sides of the ball.

“We’ve had a lot of enthusiasm since the end of last year,” Price said. “We had a great summer. They’re really dedicated and have committed themselves. We had one of the best turnouts we’ve ever had in the offseason. The kids seemed eager and fired up to get things started. Hopefully, we can build on what we did last year.

“We’re happy where we’re at but we have lots of things to do.”

Price anticipates having about 30 on the varsity, which is a higher number than usual.

The Coyotes put in an extensive amount of work opening week with Thursday being a huge day when each player started putting on the pads.

“We’ve come a long way to be honest with you,” Price said. “I would say we’re ahead of schedule from last year. The kids have been working hard. The attitudes have been good. They’re picking it up quick and doing a good job.”

Offensively Justin Danneels returns to the center position for Reed City. Jake Vincent returns to a tackle position while Matt Crysler is at guard. Ryan Willis is back at tight end, Garrett Benson at running back and Chad Samuels at quarterback.

Defensive returnees include Samuels and twins Eric and Michael Bradford plus Sean Woodside in the backfield, Vincent and Jordan Rolston at inside linebacker, Danneels and Crysler at defensive line and Willis at outside linebacker.

“We have a good group of kids,” Price said. “We have a good group of juniors coming up that had a lot of success with the JVs. It’s never an easy season.”

Prior to playing Big Rapids, the Coyotes were set for a scrimmage on Aug. 16 at Montague at 6 p.m.

“We will go and find out where we’re at,” Price said. “In my opinion, we scrimmage in one of the toughest scrimmages in Class C and D in the state of Michigan. With Montague and Muskegon Catholic Central and Shelby there we’ll get a real test of where we’re at and what we need to do to improve.

“Last year we were pretty physical and had some good size. This year I think we’ll have to utilize more of our athleticism and speed on the edge. The biggest strength of this group is team chemistry, the work ethic and attitude.”

It’s a nine-game CSAA schedule.

“Every week, you have to come out and bring your best,” Price said. “Every team goes into every game wanting to win no matter who you’re playing. Last year was last year, that’s how we look at it. It doesn’t have anything to do with this year. We’ve got to go out and perform, do what we do, play football and the rest will take care of itself.”