Esiline sparking the Bucks in many ways

LEROY — Hunter Esiline was expected to be a key part of Pine River’s football team this season as a senior.

So far, that’s proven to be the case.

Esiline made some huge catches, including a 58-yard touchdown pass from Mason Powell to get the Bucks back in the game against Morley Stanwood and post a 27-21 victory. He also combined with Powell for the game winner and intercepted a Mohawk pass to seal the win.

The Bucks are 3-1 after beating Beal City and McBain the following two Fridays. Esiline caught some more TD passes.

Esiine (6-4, 180) plays wide receiver and safety for the Bucks. Last year, Pine River was 4-5.

“Teamwise, it was not as good as we hoped,” he said. “Individually, I thought I had a strong season. We can come back even stronger.”

Esiline feels he’s talented in catching the deep ball, something he proved in the win over Morley Stanwood.

“I can go up for the ball and I have soft hands,” he said. “At safety, I’m big so I can go up and get the interception. I can make a lot of tackles as a safety.”

Esiline had a busy summer getting ready for this season.

“We’ve been hitting the weight room four or five times a week,” he said. “We’re trying to get faster and working on verticals.”

It’s Esiline’s third varsity football season.

“My first year I got moved up as a sophomore in our district (title) run” he said. “I wasn’t very fast and my cuts weren’t very good so I worked on a lot of footwork last year. I ended up being our top receiver. This year, I’ll come back again and hope to do the same.”

The play of the line will be critical to the team’s success, Esiline indicated.

“A lot of our lineman we lost last year,” he said. “Our quarterback, receivers and linebackers are back. We should have a strong year this year.”

Pine River is at Lake City on Friday.