REED CITY — Fresh off its first West Michigan Conference title since 1999 and a “Battle for the Bell” victory over rival Montague, Whitehall’s football team headed north and played in cold and rainy conditions Friday night at Reed City.
A 38-28 loss to the Central State Activities Association Gold Division champion Coyotes dampened the Vikings’ mood, but now it’s time to reset for the playoffs next week.
Division 4 fourth-ranked Whitehall (7-2) will wait for Sunday’s 5:30 p.m. playoff selection show on Bally Sports Detroit to learn its opponent and first-round game site.
“This whole environment led into them being successful: It’s a home game (for them), it’s a longer bus trip for us and they were remarkably physical up front. But, they’re a good football team and they make their advantages, too,” Whitehall coach Tony Sigmon said about Division 6 fifth-ranked Reed City (8-1).
“We had our opportunities, but it seemed like we were stuck in second gear … Any small issue we had here really got amplified against a good football team.”
With the chilly, soggy conditions, neither team was very successful in the passing game. Reed City’s well-executed rushing attack was the difference.
Reed City rushed for 268 yards and handed the ball off to three different running backs more than 10 times apiece. Five different players scored touchdowns for Coyotes.
Bryson Hughes led Reed City with 155 yards on 21 carries with one TD.
After a back-and-forth first half, the Coyotes held a 16-14 edge at the break. In the second half, they chewed up the clock and banked on their physicality up front to chip away at the Vikings’ defense.
Time of possession ended heavily in Reed City’s favor, 30:29-17:31.
Reed City quarterback Xavier Allen connected with junior Seth Jackson and senior Dylan Schebil on 22- and 14-yard TD passes, respectively. Allen finished 3-of-5 for 51 yards and the two TDs. The Coyotes’ defense was led by Blake Daggy with four tackles.
For Whitehall, senior Alec Pruett recorded his ninth 100-yard effort in as many games, finishing with 153 yards and two TDs. Sophomore Kyle Stratton was 3-of-7 passing for 59 yards with a TD to Nate Bolley as well as an interception. Senior Max Brown led the defense with 11 tackles, while junior Jaiden Altgilbers had nine stops.
Disappointing as it was, the Reed City game is in the past now. Time for Whitehall to focus on what’s ahead.
“I think it’s a double-edged sword: No. 1, you’re excited that your kids are passionate about the sport that they’re playing. The other part of is that we have to make sure we keep our emotions in check and we have to make sure we don’t lose our composure,” Sigmon said.
“We’re going to be able to find out who we play on Sunday. This is a mature football team and they’ve responded before and my expectation is that they will respond again.”
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