McDonald set to be key football player for Pine River team

LEROY — Mitch McDonald didn’t get much sleep Sunday night and Monday morning. But he didn’t really mind.

McDonald and his Pine River football teammates were a part of the sleepover his team had as a part of the bonding program leading into the first day of practice.

“We usually do this every year,” McDonald, a senior, said. “Last year, we skipped it for personal reasons within our community. But it’s usually an every-year thing. We came here around 5 p.m. (Sunday) and had a couple of meetings about football. We hung out as a team and did a lot of team bonding stuff. It’s a lot of fun.”

They were on the field by 7 a.m. There were around 45 players. McDonald smiled while admitting he didn’t get any sleep.

“But everyone else did,” he added.

McDonald, a three-sport athlete, participated in several football-related activities during the summer. He and his teammates are coming off a 3-6 season from a year ago.

“Last year was an improvement but we know we could have done better,” he said. “We let a couple of games slip through our fingers. That’s heartbreaking as a team.”

McDonald is looking at a linebacker spot defensively and will be a leader of sorts.

“One of my goals is to be among the leading tacklers on the team,” he said. “It will help us out as a team.”

McDonald figures on being stronger this season. He’ll be a slot back along with Brandon Fulks.

The season opens at home Aug. 28.

“We want to win some playoff games,” McDonald said. “We need to stay together as a team. We have a lot of good athletes. We have two guys fighting for the quarterback spot.”

The team will have more numbers and depth, McDonald pointed out.