Wirgau plays key role in Reed City regional win

Reed City players sign fight song after taking regional title.
Reed City players sign fight song after taking regional title.

REED CITY — It was going to be difficult, the host Reed City Coyotes acknowledged, against Upper Peninsula football power Menominee in Saturday’s Division 5 regional title rematch.

But the Coyotes were confident that it was also going to be different this time.

It was.

Menominee came down to Reed City last year and prevailed 40-14 to advance to the Division 5 state semifinal. The Coyotes have never advanced past the regional final. They were looking to change that on Saturday.

They did.

Wirgau ran for a TD and caught a scoring pass in Reed City’s 46-34 win over Menominee on Saturday.

The Saturday game, football coach Monty Price said, was arranged to accommodate Menominee’s travel plans. The time was designed to keep the game under the lights for the Coyotes.

Wirgau, a junior running back and linebacker, has been playing a key role for the Coyotes and has been starting both ways.

He remembers playing Menominee a year ago.

“I don’t think they had the size they did last year,” Wirgau said prior to the game. “But that will play a major part in the game. I think we have a good chance.”

Menominee had an impressive 24-21 district final win over Kingsford. The Coyotes looked impressive in a 34-7 win over Clare.

The key to victory will be “our O line and our defense,” Wirgau said. “If our O line is blocking and our defense can shut them down, I think we’ll win the game.”

The Coyotes have won 11 straight since a season-opening loss to Montague.

“It’s been our defense,” Wirgau said. “They’ve really stepped it up.”

Wirgau’s emphasis has been on outside containment as a linebacker.

“Being physical is probably my best feature to the defense,” he said.

Phillip Jones is the state’s top running back in touchdowns. Wirgau, as a running back, was hoping to help take some of the pressure away from Jones.

“I just get the yards I can,” he said. “Usually there’s not the holes inside. You have to make one. I block a lot.”

Menominee’s defense was tough against the Coyotes last season.

“We’re pretty confident this year,” Wirgau said. “I think we’ll be able to move the ball against them”

It was cold, but the Coyotes were happy to be playing in November.

“I think it’s great,” Wirgau said prior to the game. “It’s not too hot, maybe be a little cold. We like playing at home because of the crowd.”

On Saturday, Reed City plays 1 p.m. at Greenville against Saginaw Swan Valley in the state semifinals. Both teams are 11-1.