Reed City set to host Big Rapids in opener

REED CITY — Ready or not, the Reed City football season opens on Friday when the Coyotes welcome arch-rival Big Rapids.

But after last week’s scrimmage, Reed City coach Monty Price acknowledged it would take awhile before his team was ready.

“We’ve got some work to do,” Price said, “I wasn’t dissatisfied but I think it was a good opportunity to see where we’re at against some good quality competition and I think we have a lot of work to do.”

The Coyotes faced Muskegon Catholic Central, Montague and Shelby.

Price said on Sunday he hasn’t made a decision yet on who his quarterback will be. Senior Mike Barton and sophomore Chad Samuels have both been taking snaps.

“They’ll both see time,” Price said.

Samuels was on the JVs as quarterback last season.

“We did pretty well,” he said. “We went 6-3.”

On defense, he’ll play safety.

As a quarterback, Samuels is looking forward to being a leader. He has confidence in both his passing and running abilities.

Barton also plays cornerback on defense. It’s his second year on varsity.

“Last year, I was injured,” he said. “I got to play the homecoming game and playoff game.”

He had a separated shoulder the first week of camp and later re-separated it.

Barton considers himself more of a running quarterback. He also is set on using his leadership skills.

“If I need to pass, I can pass too,” he said.

Last season, Reed City got off to a huge start by defeating Big Rapids in the opener. The Coyotes were 6-3 during the regular season and lost to Menominee in the playoff opener.

“I’m anticipating a very solid football team that’s going to be ready to play,” Price said of the Cardinals. “It appears they’re going to be doing different schemes and are running more option than in previous years. We’ll have to be very disciplined defensively. They have some big kids up front. They look very good.”

“We need to focus, be disciplined, have a positive mindset and be ready to go,” Barton said.

Getting off to a 1-0 start would be sweet again for the Coyotes.

“The rivalry is self-explanatory,” Price said. “Then you throw on top of that week one. You always want to start out with a victory. That first game is so important for the mentality of your kids. So to go in an get a W to get confidence and get the season started on the right foot … if you go in and get beat, the confidence goes down.

“There’s a lot of ramifications for this game. We have to work very hard this week.”

“I think were going to do good this year,” Samuels said. “We just have to keep working hard.”

Samuels was moved up for playoffs last season.

“I feel pretty comfortable,” he said. “It’s a lot quicker than JV level, more physical.”