Undefeated Reed City, Chippewa Hills set to square off in CSAA showdown

STIFF-ARM: Chippewa Hills senior DJ Lowery breaks away from defenders earlier this season. (Pioneer file photos)

STIFF-ARM: Chippewa Hills senior DJ Lowery breaks away from defenders earlier this season. (Pioneer file photos)

REMUS — Reed City and Chippewa Hills’ annual matchup has had major Central State Activities Association implications in recent years.

The stakes will be as high as ever Friday when both teams square off at Chippewa Hills with 5-0 records.

The Coyotes are in search for their 15th straight league win, while the Warriors are looking for their first win over Reed City since 2010.

Despite the fierce rivalry, both longtime head coaches have developed a tremendous amount of respect for each other.

“Anytime we play Chip Hills, it’s a big matchup, especially the past five-six years,” said Reed City’s 17-year head coach Monty Price. “Coach (Larry) Jose has a great program established. They’re always good. They have good kids, they’re well coached and the last six years, this has been a game with league championship implications. So it’s no different this year. They look really good.”

Jose, who is in his 19th season as Chippewa Hills’ head coach, added: “I have a lot of respect for their coaching staff and what they do. They have been able to shut our run game down in the last four or five years. We haven’t had a whole lot of success of knocking off Reed City in the past few years. Until we do that, they are the king of the mountain. I’ll just let Friday speak for itself.

“We have to establish the run game, which we haven’t been able to do against them in the last few years.”

The Warriors struggled running the ball against the Coyotes in a 26-7 loss last season, but they have trampled opposing defenses on the ground this year. They have rushed for 1,410 yards, with junior David Spedowski leading the way with 632 yards and 12 touchdowns.

A veteran offensive line also has paved the way for three other 100-yard rushers this season.

“We have a special bunch here that takes their job seriously,” Jose said of his team. “They go to work every day. It is a pleasure coaching them.”

Reed City’s formula for success has been similar, using its run game and physical front seven on defense to establish a point differential of plus-160 this season. Chippewa Hills has outscored opponents 192-25.

“They run the ball down people’s throats and no one can stop them,” Jose said of the Coyotes. “They block better than anyone in the league and they tackle very well. They are a disciplined football program.

“Now I don’t think it’s possible to stop Reed City’s run game, but we have to slow it down or keep them from getting big gains. “We have to limit our penalties and not have any big mistakes or turnovers.”

If the Warriors can do that and win, they will have a clear path to ending the Coyotes’ five-year run as conference champions. If they can’t, Reed City’s sixth CSAA title becomes closer to reality. Every other team in the league has at least two losses.

“It is definitely important,” Reed City sophomore running back Phillip Jones said of a CSAA title. “Before the season started, that’s what we’ve been working for. That’s what we’re striving for right now. We want it bad.”

avatar

Posted by Ryan Zuke

Ryan is the sports editor for the Big Rapids Pioneer, covering local prep sports and Ferris State athletics. He can be contacted at (231) 592-8363 or rzuke@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply