Football team’s season ends with playoff loss at Reed City
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Reed City Coyotes defeated the Grayling Vikings by a final score of 54-8 on Friday night during a varsity football playoff game hosted by Reed City, ending Grayling’s 2017 season.
During the contest – a Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 5, Region 1, District 2 postseason match – the Vikings were not able to stop Reed City’s potent running game, and Grayling turned the ball over five times in the first half. The Coyotes capitalized on four of those takeaways with touchdowns, building a big lead for Reed City prior to halftime.
The Coyotes drove 71 yards during the game’s opening series, scoring on a nine-yard TD run on 2nd and 9.
Grayling started at its 44-yard line after the kickoff return. On the fourth play of the series – 4th and 5 – the Vikings completed a pass but did not get enough for a first down.
Reed City rushed for 49 yards on the next play. On 1st and goal, the Coyotes scored on a one-yard run. With the two-point conversion run, Reed City led 14-0.
The Vikings started at their 36-yard line after the kickoff. A pass from quarterback Justin Nicholas to Logan Joseph gained four yards. On 2nd and 6, Chris Hunter caught a pass from Nicholas for 26 yards. On 2nd and 10, after an incomplete pass on first down, the Coyotes intercepted a Grayling pass attempt. The resulting possession for Reed City ended with a punt on 4th and 3.
A pass from Nicholas to Osga gained 10 yards. A run by Nicholas picked up seven yards. A pass interference penalty on Reed City on 3rd and 3 gave the Vikings a first down. On 2nd and 13 following a QB sack, the Coyotes intercepted a Grayling pass.
Reed City drove 46 yards on five plays, scoring on an eight-yard TD run on 1st and goal. The Coyotes ran the ball for the two-point conversion. With 10:07 left in the second quarter, Reed City led 22-0.
A kickoff return by Zack Osga put the Vikings near midfield at their 45-yard line. On the first play of the drive, the Coyotes intercepted the ball on a Grayling pass attempt and returned it all the way to the end zone for a TD. They ran the ball across the goal line for the two-point conversion.
Reed City led 30-0.
The Coyotes squib kicked the ball and Grayling covered it. The Vikings started at their 48-yard line. A pass to Ken Dutton gained eight yards on 3rd and 10. On 4th and 2, Nicholas rushed for 14 yards. On 1st and 15 after a penalty, the Vikings fumbled and Reed City recovered the ball.
The Coyotes got loose for a 35-yard run, setting up a 19-yard touchdown run. After the two-point conversion, Reed City led 38-0 with 6:21 left in the second quarter.
Grayling’s next drive ended on downs with an incomplete pass on 4th and 7.
The Coyotes drove 71 yards on four plays – a nine-yard run, a 13-yard run, a four-yard run, and a 45-yard TD run – and they added the two-point conversion after scoring the touchdown. With 2:44 remaining in the first half, Reed City led 46-0.
Ken Dutton made a one-handed catch near the sideline for a 27-yard gain on first down. Later, on 3rd and 13, the Vikings fumbled the ball and the Coyotes recovered it.
Reed City took over at its 41-yard line with 1:40 left in the second period. A rushing play gained 22 yards. A completed pass picked up 10 yards. On 2nd and 9, a QB sack by Ty Withers brought up 3rd and 20. The Coyotes ran the ball, ending the half.
Reed City led 46-0.
The second half featured a running clock due to point differential rules.
Grayling’s first drive of the third quarter ended on downs with an incomplete pass on 4th and 9.
Reed City broke free for a 54-yard run on first down. The Coyotes scored on a seven-yard TD run on the next play. After the two-point conversion, Reed City led 54-0.
Grayling started at its 35-yard line after the kickoff. Passes from Nicholas to Rickey Heavner and Hunter gained 16 yards and a first down. Passes to Heavner and Hunter picked up 11 yards and another first down. Nicholas rushed for 11 yards on 2nd and 10. Nicholas ran for 12 yards on the next play. A catch by Dutton picked up seven yards. Nicholas ran for four yards on 4th and 3 to keep the drive going. Grayling completed the series with a two-yard TD run by Nicholas on 1st and goal. Nicholas threw to Joseph for the two-point conversion.
After that, neither squad scored in the final 11 minutes of regulation, and Reed City won 54-8.
Grayling ended its 2017 season with an overall record of 6-4 (4-3 league, 0-1 playoff).
“We are extremely happy with how our guys played this season. The expectations were low as we were supposed to be in a ‘rebuilding’ year. These guys wanted more and worked for it. To make the playoffs and set some historic records makes for a memorable season,” Coach Tim Sanchez said.
Nicholas finished the 2017 season with 3,188 passing yards (15th most in MHSAA history for a single season) and 40 total touchdowns (15th most in MHSAA history for a single season).