Reed City players excited with another playoff game

REED CITY – Reed City football players will bid for a 2-0 season sweep over Newaygo to improve their overall record to 11-0 Friday night as the Coyotes face the Lions for the second time this season.

Tight end Ryan Willis was impressed with his team’s 48-14 victory over Manistee on Friday in a first-round playoff game.

“I thought we came out focused and ready to play,” Willis said. “I felt we played a complete game. Our defense stepped up and our offense, with around 500 total yards, that’s pretty good.”

Previous playoff experience and being at home has helped.

Newaygo “is a better ball team now,” Willis said. “We can’t underestimate them. They’re undefeated just like we are now in the playoffs, 1-0. They like to run counters. We have to read our keys and shut it down and play a compete game like we did against Manistee.”

Willis has had a strong season as an offensive end, blocking and providing holes for the Coyote running backs and catching some passes.

“We’re really excited, we’re coming a lot closer together,” Willis said. ”We’re excited to have another game at home.”

Junior tight end Derek Lodholtz, after being sidelined with Achilles tendinitus, has been healthy enough to see some action in recent weeks and has seen action at tight end in his first varsity season.

“I thought we played really good against Manistee,” he said. “Our offense is doing good and our defense is stepping it up too.”

Against Newaygo, “you never know, things could be different but we’re hoping to come in strong. They like to run counters a lot.”

The Coyotes would advance to the regional finals if they win Friday night.

“We want to keep going as long as we can,” Lodholtz said.

If they do win Friday, it would mean the first time Reed City has gotten this far in the playoffs, noted two-way lineman Justin Danneels.

“I think we played great (against Manistee),” Danneels said. “We didn’t let them have too many rushing yards. Our offense moved the ball.”

Newaygo “has a strong defense and a good offensive line,” Danneels said. “Our defense will have to play strong against them. It’s a whole new game now. It’s tough to beat a team twice. But we won’t change anything. We’ll try to do the same thing.

“We’re really confident. We want to win the district championship and be the first Reed City team to do that. We have a chance.”