Reed City looks to secure its first District Championship game appearance Saturday when it takes on Kingsford. The Flivvers will be making a 370 mile drive from the Upper Peninsula to try and knock off the unbeaten Coyotes.
The Coyotes, who have revived the punishing run game of years past in the form of a four-headed monster, come into Saturday's MHSAA Division 5 District Semifinal unbeaten and averaging 46 points a game. The Flivvers, who enter the game at 4-2, have allowed just over 10.
It will be a battle in the trenches. The Flivvers have plenty of size all over the field, including on the defensive interior. Elliot Johnson, a two-way tackle, stands 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, making him a tough matchup. The Coyotes will attempt to counter that with a front five that has had a lot of success over the course of the season.
The Coyotes hold the advantage in the backfield. Led by four seniors, Noah Jones, Landen Tomaski, Payton Hansen and Alex Wirgau, the Coyotes have run the ball at will against its first seven opponents. It may be difficult to run between the tackles against the physical Flivver offensive line, however Reed City can run wild if it is able to get to the edge.
Offensively, the Flivvers are led by Michael Menguzzo. Coach Mark Novara has plenty of weapons at his disposal, including running backs Carter Kreski and Ben Rumpf and lanky receivers Hunter Bilgreen and Zachary Person.
Both Person and Bilgreen stand above 6-feet tall, which spells trouble for the Coyote cornerbacks Tomaski and Isaac Williams. The size is a weakness, however Tomaski and Williams are good enough athletes to be competitive. Additionally, safety Seth Jackson has been outstanding in pass coverage this season.
The Coyotes should be fine against the run, as the front seven has been good all year long. Teddy Cross is as good a defensive lineman as they come, and the duo of Wirgau and Hansen stops runners from getting to the secondary.
Reed City may not win the battle of size Saturday afternoon. However, the Coyotes have more than enough athletes to win this game. It will be more competitive than last week's rout of Cheboygan. Yet, coach Scott Shankel should have his team ready for this test.
This will be one of the better games in Division 5 this week. It's only fitting that there is a trip to the district championship game on the line.