The perfect pick-six: Hughes' interception leads to Reed City regional title

Coyotes will play Negaunee on Saturday in Gaylord for Division 6 semifinal

REED CITY – Bryson Hughes has made some huge catches and magnificent runs in his senior season for Reed City.

His biggest play to date arguably came on Saturday in the Division 6 regional title game against Millington. And it wasn’t even on offense.

Hughes returned an interception 47 yards in the third quarter for a touchdown and the game’s only points in a 6-0 regional title win for host Reed City (11-1) over Millington (10-2).

“It was a battle, it was a war,” Reed City coach Scott Shankel said. “We kept fighting the whole time.”

The Coyotes will make their second appearance in a state semifinal game 1 p.m. on Saturday against Upper Peninsula power Negaunee (12-0) at Gaylord High School. The winner goes to the state finals at Ford Field on Nov. 25.

“It’s always great when you’re playing football in November and you’re one of the final four 4 teams,” Shankel said. “The ultimate goal is to be one of the final two teams. The kids have battled all year and put the time in. Our community is unbelievably awesome too.”

Both offenses threatened all game long and it came down to Hughes’ big play on an Ian Crump pass attempt.

“It was tipped up and I caught it,” Hughes said. “I was touchdown all the way. I saw all green grass.”

In the second quarter, Millington drove to the Reed City 12 and it appeared the Cardinals were going to try for a field goal. But a timeout was called and the Cardinals instead tried a pass for a first down which was no good.

It stayed 0-0 going to the second half before  Hughes’ heroics which came off a tipped pass on a Millington sideline route.

“It’s one of our coverages we work on all the time,” Shankel said. “It’s been repped all year long

Millington moved the ball but couldn’t convert and Reed City didn’t actually start its first possession of the third quarter until just over a minute to play.

Millington recovered a Reed City fumble at its own and had a first down at the RC 11. But an illegal procedure penalty pushed the Cardinals back and on fourth down, Reed City’s Carter Gawne batted down a pass attempt.

The visitors had the ball on their own 35 with 5:22 to play but with only one timeout. They had a fourth and three at their 42 when Crump was inches short of the first down on the keeper. The Coyotes were able to run out the clock with Noah Morgan picked up a huge first-down run.

Millington had 96 yards rushing and 77 passing. Reed City had 43 carries for 149 yards. Hughes had 76 of those yards while Morgan had 43 yards and John Ondrus 26 yards.

Teddy Szymanski led the Coyote offense with nine tackles while Carter Gawne had five tackles and Hughes had four tackles.

“We gave up a few big plays here and there but we kept out wits with it and had a big stop there inside the 10,” Shankel said.

“The key was locking in reads and trusting each other, which was a big thing,” Hughes said.