REED CITY — Devin Ward has had a solid season for the Reed City football team, which is 9-2 and headed to Grand Rapids West Catholic Friday in quest of the school’s first-ever regional title.

He’s been a nose guard and fullback in his senior season for the Coyotes. His improvement from last year in all aspects of his game has been “substantial.”

He’s been starting at nose guard and figures that during the regular season, one of the defense’s best games might have come against Central Montcalm.

Many observers considered the Coyotes’ win over the Green Hornets at Central Montcalm as a turning point victory that gave them momentum to vault to the CSAA Gold Division title.

The key was “locking down their ball carriers and not letting anyone get through,” Ward said, adding that the strength of his defensive play has been being “fast off the ball, fast off the block.”

Improvement has been extensive since August and the Coyotes late in the season were obviously playing some of their best football. Ward concurs the loss to Newaygo in week 3 was a turning point. The Coyotes avenged it with a win over Newaygo to open the playoffs.

The key for success in playoffs “is play your hardest and don’t quit even if you’re down,” he said.