Reed City rolls past Grayling
By Maxwell Harden
Herald Review Sports Writer
REED CITY — It didn’t take very long for the Reed City football team to get rolling.
The Coyotes outscored the Vikings of Grayling 46-0 at halftime on their way to a 54-8 win in Division 5 predistrict play Friday at home.
The 54 points scored by the Coyotes bring their season total to 452, breaking the school record of 448 set by the 2013 team in one less game played.
“I thought we played pretty darn good, to be honest with you,” head coach Monty price said. “The offense was rolling, the defense was locking them down. We were really anticipating them presenting us with some challenges.
“We kind of devised a gameplan to put us in good positions. I love it when stuff works.”
Reed City tallied 419 yards of offense — 409 yards coming from the ground. Philip Jones continued his stellar play with 15 carries for 181 yards and four touchdown runs and added an interception on defense. Quarterback Jackson Price was 1 of 2 passing for 10 yards while rushing six times for 60 yards and one touchdown and a pick-six on defense.
Zach Wirgau had 10 carries for 78 yards and Connor Agan added four rushes for 73 yards and a touchdown.
“We were chewing up the clock and the time of possession was in our favor,” Price said. “It was good football all the way around.”
The Coyotes faced a true test in the Grayling offense, which utilizes a pass-heavy spread. Grayling senior quarterback Justin Nicholas passed for 995 yards and 15 touchdowns over the final two games of the regular season to push the Vikings into the playoffs.
“We broke their film down,” Price said. “They do what they do well. We were a little on edge this week in preparation, but our gameplan came together, the kids got better every week and I think we took everything away from them. The defense played lights out.”
Reed City installed new schemes on defense this week to neutralize the Vikings’ passing game and it worked. Nicholas completed 14 of 33 passes for 147 yards and one touchdown run. The Vikings had five turnovers in the game.
“We put three linemen in the box and a couple of linebackers and then put extra defensive backs outside to stop their passing game,” Jones said. “We played double coverage on their best receivers and it worked pretty good.
“We were taking a risk with their running back by leaving three linemen in the box. Our linemen really stepped up this week.”
Jeffery Phenix had seven tackles to lead the defense and Charles Jones added five. Parker Ward added an interception.
Reed City moves to 9-1 on the season and hosts Clare (9-1) in the Division 5 district title game. Clare defeated Chippewa Hills 47-7 in its predistrict game.
“We know Clare is a really good team coming in,” Jones said. “We need to go back to the lab and work up a scheme and do what we do best to get the win.”