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Back-to-back: Reading dominates Beal City for second straight title
Defense has been the strength for Reading their entire playoff run and the story was no different in the division 8 state championship game.
The Rangers defense allowed just six point and 157 yards against a Beal City (12-2). Beal City throughout the season and playoff run averaged 27.8 points per game.
“The credit goes to our kids,” Reading head coach Rick Bailey said. “We challenge them and that is not everyone’s philosophy, but that is our philosophy.”
Reading (13-1) broke open the scoring with an 18-yard pass from junior quarterback Porter Mauk to senior Jayson Scoville. Hunter Midtgard would take the pass from Mauk on the two point try to give the Rangers an 8-0.
The lead would not last for long as Jack Schafer would find T.J. Maxon for a 56-yard touchdown on a wheel route for Beal City.
“We practiced covering that wheel and give credit to him (Maxon) he’s faster than his time,” Bailey said.
After the Beal City touchdown, it would be all Reading as they rattled off 25 consecutive points to bring home the 33-6 victory.
“We worked hard over the summer and that first loss to Pewamo lit a little fire in us to get back here,” Nick Affholter said. “We realized we can matchup with anyone.”
Affholter and his brother Ben led the Rangers on defense. Ben Affholter finished the game with 10 tackles and 4.5 tackles for a loss. Nick Affholter finished with 8 tackles and 1.5 for a loss.
“It felt great because it was our team this year,” Ben Affholter said after the game. “That drove us all year.”
On offense the Rangers were led by Elijah Strine and Hunter Midtgard who combined for 140 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Midtgard also added a 40-yard touchdown reception.
“Beal City had a tremendous defense and game plan in the first half,” Bailey said. “We were able to make an adjustment we got established in the second half.”
With the win, Reading becomes the first team of the weekend to repeat as champions, but Bailey had other thoughts.
“You are not the defending state champions,” Bailey said. “I told these guys this season to establish their own legacy.”
The legacy was established with the win.