Target on their backs

Reed City adjusting to pressure of being defending CSAA champs

This season figured to be a little different for the Reed City football team.

For the first time in a few seasons, the Coyotes entered the year as defending Central State Activities Association champions.

That is no small accomplishment. However, that has clearly put the bullseye on Reed City’s back.

How they respond to that pressure will determine how the Coyotes will do the rest of the year.

FOCUSED: Reed City running back Jordan Straub looks to take the hand-off while offensive lineman Matthew Crysler (right) prepares to throw a block for him during Thursday’s win over Morley Stanwood. (Pioneer file photo)

Reed City is 2-0 after victories over Big Rapids and Morley Stanwood. Neither of those victories could be described as easy.

The Coyotes struggled to move the ball in the first half against both the Cardinals and Mohawks.

In fact, they were held scoreless in the first half by each team and the Mohawks forced four turnovers, none of which translated into points.

“I’ll take bad wins over good loses any day,” Reed City coach Monty Price said.

He is right.

Sitting on top of the CSAA standings at 2-0 is better than being at the bottom at 0-2.

But he does know this — because the

Coyotes are on top of the mountain, other team’s will be gunning for his the entire season.

“I don’t like to boast, but we’ve had a lot of success and our kids expect to win and we are usually on the end of the other team’s best game.”

That is why, if you look closely on the Reed City sideline, you will see a black lunch pail, sitting by itself.

It is there for one purpose, to remind the players it is going to take a hard day’s work every single day if they want to stay on top of the mountain.

“We have a target on our back and we know teams are going to come after us,” Reed City running back Garrett Benson said. “We have to stay strong and bring it every week.”

The Coyotes perfect start hasn’t been up to Price’s standard. The slow first halves has put the defense in a bind.

Both Big Rapids and Morley Stanwood had plenty of opportunities to jump all over Reed City, but the defense has rose to the occasion each time.

“They were bending, but not breaking,” Price said. (The defense) has been our life blood right now.”

If there has been one positive, it has been that defense. The unit has not allowed a point in the first half, which would have allowed teams to gain momentum.

The longer a team stays in a game, the more confidence they have and the better opportunity it has to pull off an upset.

That hasn’t happened and Price hopes it doesn’t. He knows the sooner the team figures out it is going to get the best shot from every single team and rises to that level, the better his team will be for it.

“It is easier to be the hunter than the hunted because it is easier to get up for one game than nine,” Price said. “To come into the season as conference champs, it is harder to stay on top of the top and maintaining it and the quicker we find that out, the better we will be.”

Leave a Reply