REED CITY – Two fourth place games told the story of Reed City’s 35-22 loss on the field on Friday in the MHSAA Division 6 District Championship game.
The Coyotes, behind reigning state champion D6 Montague by a 28-22 margin with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter, faced a fourth and 1 situation at the 43-yard line. Wildcats.
A first try would keep the practice alive and bring the Coyotes one step closer to a possible touchdown with the playing time running out.
Junior half-back Bryson Hughes pushed forward but was stopped just before the scorer. The officials measured and there was about 6 inches between where the ball was and where the 10-yard chain extended.
Montague, who had been smothered on offense at this point in the second half after scoring on four of five possessions in the first half, took over with a six-point lead. The Wildcats continued to give the ball to their hobbyhorse, senior running back Dylan Everett, who carried the ball eight in a row, leading to a 4th-3rd situation on the Coyotes 23-yard line with less. a minute to go.
If Reed City could make one more save and force a turn-over on the downs, there was always the possibility of a late comeback.
Everett accepted the ball from Mustang QB Andrew Kooi and was immediately hit in the backfield by a blitz linebacker. It first emerged that Reed City would hold the fourth goal and regain possession of the ball.
But Everett somehow held his feet up, spun freely, and then found some open spaces after passing the line of scrimmage. Everett drove 23 yards to the end zone, sealing the tense 35-22 victory with 44 seconds left.
As Reed City coach Scott Shankel noted after the game: âThey made the plays and we didn’t. “
Reed City (9-2) showed a lot of courage as he came back twice from a two touchdown deficit to come close to six points midway through the third quarter, but in the end the visiting Wildcats made more than games that had to be made and walked off the field like deserving winners.
Montague (8-3) is now vying for the regional title against the winner between Millington (10-0) and number 1 ranked Catholic Lansing (9-1) on Saturday.
Montague, effectively mixing passing and running, scored on his first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead.
The Wildcats’ first practice featured 10 straight runs capped by Everett’s 2-yard tally. The visitors’ second score included the pass and a quick shot as Kooi found receiver Tugg Nichols for 51 yards.
“We came out a bit flat,” Shankel admitted.
“We made some adjustments at half time, going down to four and it was a lot more efficient, but in the first half they moved the ball pretty well against us.”
Reed City posted their first points on the board early in the second quarter when Hughes, who led the Coyotes with 100 yards on 20 carries, found room on a sweep and ran 36 yards, setting up a 5-yard tally. his sophomore Nick Wirgau. The conversion attempt failed, but the Coyotes reduced the lead to 14-6 with 9:41 left in the first half.
Montague scored on the possession that followed to move forward by two points again, 21-6, but the Coyotes also responded immediately, moving 80 yards on 10 plays to reduce the lead to 21-14 when the fullback Noah Morgan, who earlier in the Reader broke 32 yards on a trip through the guts, smashed from 3 yards, then Xavier Allen hit Seth Jackson on a slant pass for two runs.
The Wildcats were able to score on their last possession, however, as Kooi made five of six passes, ultimately hitting Paul Olson for 21 yards with just 8 seconds before halftime. The point after Kooi’s kick gave the visitors a 28-14 lead and a truck full of momentum.
Reed City however once again showed their resilience, moving methodically across the pitch during their initial second-half possession to once again make it a one-scoring game.
Morgan’s second short touchdown run of the night and Hughes’ conversion sweep reduced the lead to 28-22 midway through the third quarter.
Neither team scored again until Everett fled to fourth in the last minute of settlement, ultimately putting the game aside for the visitors.
Shankel expressed how proud he was of his team after the difficult loss and in particular of the senior eight in this year’s roster.
âIt’s one of the toughest, toughest teams we’ve had,â said Shankel. âI am so proud of these children.
Morgan generated 63 yards on 10 carries with two scores and Wirgau had 26 yards on 10 carries, including one touchdown.
Jackson and Logan Langworthy each made six saves and Logan Ringler made five.