Reed City tops Big Rapids in season opener
By Martin Slagter
Pioneer Sports Editor
REED CITY — It took two weather delays to slow down a Reed City offense that was rolling in the first half of its game against Big Rapids. The delays weren’t enough, however, in the Coyotes’ 32-18 win over rival Big Rapids on Friday.
An hour of delays due to lightning gave the Big Rapids offense the jolt it needed to get things going in the second half, but Reed City was able to come up with key stops when it needed to in getting the victory.
Reed City got out to a 24-6 lead with 42 seconds remaining in the first half before lightning struck, causing the game to go into a 30 minute delay. Another strike of lightning delayed the game an additional half hour.
The break may have caused Reed City to come out a bit rusty, coach Monty Price said, but the Coyotes made enough stops to compensate for the lack of offensive firepower.
“It appeared to slow us down a little,” he said. “It’s hard when you’ve got to wait an hour. I thought we’d have a little more energy coming out.
“I have to give Big Rapids credit, though,” he added. “They’re a talented and well-coached team that executed well against us in the second half.”
Reed City got on the board first on its opening drive of the game on a 26-yard touchdown run by Trent Sims to make it 6-0 with 9:41 in the first quarter.
Big Rapids countered on the ensuing drive with a methodical drive capped off by a 10-yard touchdown run by Joe Martinez to knot the game at 6-6.
It only took the Coyotes one minute to answer on a 9-yard touchdown by Sims to make it 14-6 going into halftime.
Sims said he thought the offense was clicking on all cylinders in the first half.
“Everybody was doing their job,” he said. “I felt we were really playing as a team in the first half. We were just rolling.”
Sims led the Coyotes with 153 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns.
After a Reed City safety when Big Rapids’ Martinez was unable to gain control of an errant snap on a punt made it 16-6, Reed City was able to put another score on the board heading into the end of the half on a 1-yard plunge by Garrett Benson to make it 24-6 going into the half.
Big Rapids showed plenty of fight in the second half, taking the opening drive for a score on a 12-yard run by Nick Baldwin, who injected new life into the Cardinals’ ground game in the second half. The touchdown was set up by a 47-yard run by quarterback Derrick Defever.
Defever said he was proud of how the Cardinals battled back after falling behind early.
“We just had a lot of guys that were playing their first game that I don’t think knew what to do when we had our backs against the wall,” he said. “I think this game will help us the next time we’re in that situation because of how we fought back.”
Trailing 24-12, Big Rapids was in a position to score to get the game within one score when Defever was intercepted on fourth down by Jacob Vincent to kill the Cardinals’ momentum.
Price credited the defense for getting Reed City back on track.
“The defense really stepped up for us,” he said. “They were able to get the ball back to our offense.”
Sims would add another score on an 8-yard scamper to increase Reed City’s lead to 32-12.
Big Rapids would put another long drive together midway through the fourth quarter, capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Defever to make it 32-18. Reed City would make the stops defensively, and hang on to pick up the win.
Price said he didn’t feel his team had the best week of practice heading into the game, but is pleased with the result and where his team stands after week one.
“I like where we’re at right now,” he said.
Big Rapids faces Central Montcalm in its home opener next week, while Reed City travels to Hesperia.
REED CITY 32, BIG RAPIDS 18
RC 14 10 0 8 — 32
BR 6 0 6 6 — 18
RC- Trent Sims 26 run (run failed), 9:41
BR- Joe Martinez 10 run (kick failed), 5:57
RC- Sims 9 run (Sims run), 4:51
RC-Safety, Martinez tackled in end zone, 9:24
RC- Garrett Benson 1 run (Chad Samuels run), 4:42
BR- Nick Baldwin 12 run (run failed), 10:38
RC- Sims 8 run (Samuels run), 7:48
BR- Derrick Defever 1 run (run failed), 5:35
Rushing: Reed City: 44-277 (Sims 17-153, Benson 13-55, Nate Kailing 11-53, Jordon Rolston 2-9, Samuels 1-7). Big Rapids: 39-214 (Nick Baldwin 9-89, Defever 21-76, Jordan Straub 4-28, Martinez 5-21).
Passing: Reed City: Michael Barton 0-1 0-0. Big Rapids (1-4 1-7)
Receiving: Big Rapids: Bobby Gilbert 1-7.