Wirgau hopes to lead Reed City past Menominee

Zach Wirgau (7) has had a strong season for Reed City.

REED CITY — It’s 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 are confident that it’s also going to be different this time.

Menominee came down to Reed City last year and prevailed 40-14 to advance to the Division 5 state semifinals. The Coyotes have never advanced past the regional finals. They are looking to change that 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. “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 10 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, but is likely to draw plenty of attention from Menominee’s defense. Wirgau, as a running back, is 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 will be cold, but the Coyotes are happy to be playing in November.

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

 

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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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