Swan Valley ready for regional matchup against Reed City

Quarterback Alex Fries is a running back and passing threat for Swan Valley. (Photo/Sports Scene Magazine)

SAGINAW — Swan Valley was state football runners-up in Division 5 last season and among its victims was Reed City in a 29-14 verdict at Greenville in the state semifinal.

The two teams meet at Swan Valley for a regional title game and both are 11-0. Saginaw Valley is state-ranked No. 1 and Reed City No. 3.

In terms of wins over state-ranked playoff opponents, Reed City had an impressive one against Montague in the season opener and has beaten other playoff teams, including Tri County, Big Rapids, Chippewa Hills and Newaygo.

Swan Valley’s list of conquered opponents include Cedar Springs (10-1), Frankenmuth (9-2), Freeland (7-4) and Alma (9-2).

Kevin Gavenda is the Vikings coach and also teaches science at the high school. His team lost 34-7 to West Catholic in the state title game last season and has been on a mission since then to win a state crown.

“The key to our success this year has been our senior leaders, they are focused and very driven,” Gavenda said. “They lead by example and have taught the younger guys how to be successful.”

But Reed City has also been on a mission since its loss to Swan Valley in the semifinal last year.

“Reed City is an excellent team, they are big, strong and fast,” Gavenda said. “They do so many things very well.

“The keys to the game will be to eliminate the big plays, win the turnover battle, and compete for a full 48 minutes.”

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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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