By Craig Beilfuss
The Crusaders fell 36-7 to the Reed City Coyotes.
The Crusaders and the Coyotes played in downpouring for a majority of the game.
In the end, Catholic’s defense couldn’t stop the Reed City rushing attack as the Coyotes rushed for 394 yards on 48 carries. Senior Bryson Hughes had 25 carries for 268 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Noah Morgan carried the ball eight times for 68 yards with two touchdowns and junior John Ondrus gained 52 yards on 13 attempts.
“It was a huge night for him (Hughes)” said Reed City coach Scott Shankel. “He’s a downhill kid. We do like to throw the ball weather permitting, but tonight the weather wasn’t good for throwing. Basically, because of the weather we just wanted to take care of the ball and not fumble.
“Hats off to our defense tonight,” Shankel said. “They (MCC) have a couple of good runners over there.”
Neither team threatened to put points on the board in the first half until Reed City scored on a 21-yard touchdown run by Hughes with 1:36 left in the first half. Reed City led 6-0 at the half.
Catholic came out and took a 7-6 lead with 7:21 remaining in the third quarter on a 13-yard TD run by sophomore quarterback Bryan Convertini. MCC converted the extra point.
From that point on, the Coyotes ran off 30 unanswered points.
Reed City quarterback senior Xavier Allen connected with junior Max Hammond on a 30-yard touchdown pass and the Coyotes went back in front with 2:19 remaining in the third quarter.
The Coyotes added three more scores in the fourth quarter on a Hughes 71 yard run and a pair of touchdowns from Morgan on runs of 3 and 48 yards.
The Crusaders (8-3) had 103 yards rushing on 29 attempts, led by Convertini with 15 carries for 64 yards. Senior David Hill closed out his MCC career with seven rushes for 22 yards. Convertini completed 4-of-12 passes for 47 yards.
Senior Sam Kartes led the defense with 10 tackles while junior Easten Cook chipped in seven.
“I was really proud of the kids,” said veteran Crusader coach Steve Czerwon. “We started the season 1-2 and the kids never gave up. We won seven straight games and that’s not an easy thing to do. We won a playoff game and did it all without being in a conference.
“I thought we had some good opportunities in the first half, but the weather just wasn’t conducive to throwing the ball tonight,” Czerwon said.
Reed City (10-1) moves on to host Millington next weekend in regional action.