***Article by Josh Longstreth
It’s been a bit of a dream season for the Bullock Creek football program. Decimated by injuries for much of the year, Bullock Creek found a way to get hot at the right time this season. The Lancers were dominant in their District Title win over Chesaning last week. That gave Bullock Creek their seventh win in the last eight games, and their first District Championship since 2005. The scary part of what has happend over the latter of the season is that the Lancers are believing and showing that they can go toe to toe with anyone that stands in their way. This week they would face a Reed City team that has been on a bit of a heater of their own. The Coyotes, who started at 1-3 on the season, have put together a seven game winning streak. They’ve dominated their first two playoff opponents by a score of 91-31. This one was tight throughout, as expected.
Bullock Creek would come out with a different look early in this one. Showing it at times in weeks past, they would line up standout running back Bo Schwartz at quarterback in a split -back shotgun look on their first possession of the game. The Lancers picked right up where they left off last week. With a heavy dose of the run-game, Bullock Creek would strike first on a Bo Schwartz touchdown dive. Eating up nearly half of the 1st quarter, this put the Lancers up 7-0. Reed City would bounce right back on their first drive of the game. Using their own run game to get deep into Bullock Creek territory, the Coyotes would catch the Lancers by surprise when Landen Jackson connected with Max Hammond on a 2-yard touchdown pass. It was clear that possessions were going to come hard to find as both teams only had one full possession of offense before the quarter ended. This one would head into the second, knotted, 14-14.
Early second quarter, the Bullock Creek offense would have some things rolling again. Not shying away from the same formation, again, the Lancers would make their way into Reed City territory. They would grab the lead right back on another Bo Schwartz touchdown run. This gave Bullock Creek the momentum back at 14-7. It looked like the Lancers would take complete control after a big defensive play from Brandon Porcaro put the Coyotes offense in trouble with the clock winding late in the quarter. Then disaster would strike for the Bullock Creek defense. Jackson would throw a bullet to Jack Deitsch and the sophomore would do the rest scampering in on a 60-yard connection. All of a sudden we had a brand new ball game tied, 14-14, after one half of play.
The Lancers would try and grab much of that momentum back coming out of halftime with a short kick but Reed City would jump on it and set their offense up at midfield to begin the third. They would take full advantage. Run, run, run, and boom is what much of the wing-t offense will do to opposing defenses. And again, they would hit Bullock Creek with another. Jackson would throw his third touchdown pass of the night when he hit Spencer Hansen on a 23-yard scoring strike. Reed City had their first lead of the night, 21-14. Bullock Creek would drive the length of the field again on their next drive. This time the Coyotes defense would come away with a big turnover on downs on their own 7-yard line. We had a tight one after three.
This would set up what was quite a wild final quarter with a lot of intensity coming from both sides. Reed City would eat up some clock to begin the fourth quarter but the Bullock Creek defense would force a punt. In quite possibly the biggest play of the night, the Lancers would fumble the punt return and the Coyotes would jump on it setting up their offense deep into Bullock Creek territory. A few short plays later, Hammond would reach the endzone again on a 4-yard run. This would put Reed City up, 28-14, with 6:27 left to play. Still with plenty of time, the Lancers would need to do it by air. A Coyotes onside kick recovered by Bullock Creek would give the Lancers some life but it would be derailed after an interception at about the six minute mark. Reed City would take more clock up by getting the ball into Bullock Creek territory again but a fumble would leave some hope for the Lancers. It just wouldn’t be enough on this night as the Coyotes defense would limit the Bullock Creek offense the rest of the way. The Lancers season comes to an abrupt end on a very cold night in Reed City, falling to the Coyotes 14-28.
Reed City wins their now eighth game in a row. With the win the Coyotes have now won their second straight Regional crown in a row. Their run game was able to open up their pass game for much of the night. Landen Jackson finished with 85 yards passing and 3 touchdowns on the night. Max Hammond finished with 2 touchdowns and added 63 yards on the ground. Zach Erickson added 57 yards rushing. With the win Reed City will take on Kingsley next week in semi-final play. The Coyotes and the Stags faced each other in week one with Kingsley taking that one, 46-12. The Stags have run through most of their opponents this season, outside of a couple losses, and defeated Gladstone on Friday night.
In what turned out to be a great season for Bullock Creek, that season will stop here. There’s no doubt, the Lancers had their chances and this night could have gone a lot different for them. Unfortunately, a few costly mistakes were too much to overcome for a team that had been limiting them for much of the season. With that, this turned out to be a great season for Bullock Creek and one that would ignite much of the community. The Lancers were dominant in many of their wins this season. Two of those came against other playoff teams. A third came against a playoff team in Swan Valley, one that they had not beaten since the 2007 season. That win ignited Bullock Creek in heading to Clare to knock off the Pioneers in the first round of the playoffs and propelled them to keep riding that high into Chesaning to secure a District crown last week. They’ll lose seniors Landon Tarkowski, Nick Schneider, Treyvion Toliver, Zane Schwartz, Troy Limmer, Bo Schwartz, Lawrence Harding, Cohen Novy, and Caleb Wishowski. They will have talent returning, however, led by Caden Tate, Matthew Griese, Brandon Porcaro, Elliot Bass, Kuper Wiklanski and Caden Lickfeldt.