Reed City holds back Manistee 50-27

Reed City quarterback Leland Yonkin jumps over a Manistee player during the heat of the action on Friday night. (Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

Reed City quarterback Leland Yonkin jumps over a Manistee player during the heat of the action on Friday night. (Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

REED CITY — Reed City opened the football playoffs three years ago with a victory over Manistee, and the Coyotes were more than happy to duplicate the results on Friday.

The Coyotes (10-0) defeated the Chippewas (7-3) 50-27 in a Division 5 predistrict game to open the playoffs. In 2012, the last time the two teams met, Reed City won a home playoff game 48-14.

They will host defending state champion Grand Rapids West Catholic (8-2) next week in the district finals.

Andre Jones scored four touchdowns, and Logan Straub added three for the Coyotes.

Reed City built a 28-6 halftime lead.

“A win’s a win and we’re very proud of our resiliency tonight,” Price said. “It was a good lesson for us tonight. Manistee came out and socked us in the mouth. They’re a physical team, and I think our kids took them for granted a little bit. They’re a solid ballclub.”

“It was a hard-fought game by us,” Manistee coach Tod Miller said. “Early turnovers hurt. You can’t have three turnovers in the first half.”

Manistee started off with a 6-0 lead with an offense the Coyotes had problems containing in the early going. Both teams turned over the ball on their first possession.

Quarterback Tai Allen drove his Manistee offense down the field and Brandon Wick’s 5-yard run gave the visitors a 6-0 lead.

The Coyotes then scored 28 unanswered points. Logan Straub had a 40-yard scoring run and Leland Yonkin ran for the two points.

“We had to respond and I thought our kids did very well at that,” Price said.

Seth Root made a key defensive stop for Reed City on a fourth-down play. Jones scored on a 28-yard run and followed with the two-point conversion scamper in the second quarter for a 16-6 lead. Leland Yonkin and Trent Sturgell would combine for passes of 54 and 21 yards that would set up scoring runs of 8 yards by Jones and 13 yards by Straub. Reed City failed to convert on both conversion attempts.

Manistee was hurt by a fumble and Reed City interceptions by Taylor Pelton and Jones in the first half.

Reed City opened the second half with two third-period touchdowns on a 25-yard scamper by Straub and 31-yard run by Jones, who had the two-point run on the first score. That made it 42-6 but the Chippewas, sparked on Wick’s 64-yard kickoff return, turned off the running clock on Allen’s 3-yard touchdown run. After recovering an onside kick, the Chippewas scored on Carter Eckhardt’s 21-yard run and it was 42-19 going into the fourth.

Jones scored from 28 yards out midway in the fourth quarter for Reed City and Eckhardt followed with a 10-yard run late in the game for Manistee.

“We played hard, we kept coming after them,” Miller said. “They did what we thought. (Reed City) is very physical up front.”

Reed City had 265 yards rushing, led by Jones with 99 and Straub and Collin Hatfield with 75 apiece. Yonkins passed for 115 yards.

“I was very pleased with the effort,” Price said. “We scored a lot of points and controlled the line of scrimmage on the ground and threw the ball very well tonight. Leland Yonkin had a great game and Trent Sturgell had some awesome catches.”

“We came out kind of sluggish,” Jones said. “Manistee has a program and a good team. We had to get our act together.”

Manistee had 242 yards rushing and 48 passing. Allen passed for 48 yards and ran for 106. Eckhardt had 107 yards rushing.

Reed City had 95 yards in penalties compared to 76 for Manistee.

“We know what we have to clean up,” Price said. “We had some foolish penalties. It got pretty chippy out there. Our kids didn’t respond very well. We’ll address that and clean that up and hopefully it won’t put us in a bad position anymore.”

Reed City was making its sixth straight playoff appearance. The Coyotes have a 6-5 playoff record since 2010.

“We’ll have to be very sharp,” Price said, looking ahead to West Catholic. “They’re two-time defending state champions for a reason.”

It was Manistee’s first playoff game since the 2012. The Chippewas were looking for their first playoff win.

“It’s a good season to build on,” Miller said. “We need to play more quality teams throughout the year. We need to be able to play these kind of games. We want to be in the show and be a part of it. (Next year), we don’t just want to play one (playoff) game.”

 

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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