Rivals go head-to-head in Friday football games

REED CITY — It’s rivalry week with two huge football games taking place in Osceola County Friday night.

Big Rapids at Reed City

The Coyotes, 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the Central State Activities Association, will be having their final home game of the regular season before embarking on a three-game road trip.

A win would also be No. 100 for Monty Price’s coaching career at Reed City.

“It’s safe to say it’s going to be one heckuva game because of the rivalry,” Price said. “No matter what the records are, we throw them out the door. It’s going to be very competitive. They’re going to bring their best and I hope our kids can bring their best.”

Big Rapids is 1-2 in the league and 1-4 overall.

“We have to play well,” Price said. “Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to piece together a complete game. We’ve gone back to work and to the drawing board to try to figure out what we have to do to play better.”

A win could be considered critical for the Coyotes considering they follow this game with stiff road tests at Central Montcalm, Chippewa Hills and Schoolcraft.

“As you can see, our opponents for those last three weeks are doing pretty well,” Price said.

It’s week six and the Coyotes could have some health concerns with a player or two entering this game.

“That’s how the game works, it’s life and reality we have to deal with,” Price said.”

Evart at Pine River

It’s Pine River’s final home game of the regular-season and comes against arch-rival Evart, which was off last week with a forfeit win over Marion. The Wildcats are 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the Highland Conference while the Bucks are 3-2 all told and 1-1 in the league.

“We had some injuries so we took a couple of days off,” Evart coach Pat Craven said of last week’s schedule. “We took the rest of the week to try to fix some of our bigger issues and things like making sure people are in the right spots.”

The winner of Friday’s game also picks up the Armed Forces trophy. Evart rallied from a 27-0 deficit last season to edge the Bucks 33-27.

“Pine River is very good, has good size and speed and we will have to play very well to compete with them,” Craven said. “It’s probably one of the better teams they’ve had in the last six or seven years. They have a lot of experience and a lot of depth. It will be a great test for our young kids.”

The battle at the line of scrimmage will be critical, Craven predicted.

“That’s been our Achilles’ heel so far,” he said. “We have not yet won the battle at the line of scrimmage. That’s hurt us as we go along. We’ve tried to fix things this past week and shore things up and hope our kids understand the philosophy better.”