By Craig Beilfuss

MONTAGUE–The Montague Wildcats are a rarity in this year’s high school football playoffs.

The Wildcats take a losing record (3-6) into their Division 6 opener against once-defeated Reed City.

Montague will travel to the home of the Coyotes (8-1) for a 7 p.m. game on Friday night.

Reed City finished in a three-way tie with Big Rapids and Tri-County for the Central States Activities Association-Gold Championship with a 5-1 record.

All six of the Wildcat losses were to playoff teams while the Coyotes lone loss came back on Sept. 1 to Tri-County, 48-40.

The Montague defense will have their work cut out for them as the Coyote offense averages 49.5 points per game.

“Reed City is a very physical and well coached team,” Montague coach Justin Dennett said. “They have a good combination of size up front and talented skill players.  Having played them last year, we feel like we have a good grasp of what they do.” 

Senior quarterback Chase Gowell leads the Wildcat offense. He completed 83-of-158 passes for 1,106 yards. Gowell threw for eight touchdowns and was picked off 10 times.

“In all of our losses, we have lost the turnover battle, and that has cost us,” Dennett said.

Junior running back Adam Baird rushed 119 times for 633 yards and scored seven touchdowns.

Leading the Montague defense is senior Silas Jancek, who led the Wildcats with 105 tackles.

“They (Reed City) are going to be very disciplined on offense and they run their wing-t offense very well,” Dennett said. “Defensively, they are athletic and physical across the board.  The main key to our success is taking care of the ball on offense.

“Defensively, we need to trust our keys and be the more physical team.  Overall, I feel confident in our players’ ability to execute the plan this week,” said Dennett.

Friday night’s winner will take on the winner of the Kent City-Muskegon Catholic contest.