LEROY – They’re off to an 0-1 start but junior quarterback Skyler Nelson and senior running back Dakota Wieczorek are hoping to help the Pine River Bucks get back to the .500 mark while they’re on the road this week against Benzie Central.

Nelson played as a sophomore last season.

“Last season I don’t think was a success at all,” he said. “We had some pretty good players. We didn’t compete as well as we should have. This year, I think we’ll compete much better. We lost quite a few. But our starting 11 is (strong).”

Nelson is confident that he’s improved a lot this season.

“I think my passing game is going to be a lot better this year,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll run it a little more this year.”

As a passer, Nelson notes that he has a good arm.

“We did a lot of 7-on-7’s during the summer,” he said. “Mentally, I’m a lot better than I was last year.”

Staying healthy will be a key, said Nelson, noting that the varsity has less than 20 players. Defensively, he’s also playing monsterback.

Wieczorek is in his second year on the varsity. He’ll also play cornerback on defense. Like Nelson, he’ll be a two-way starter. He and Abel Langworthy split ball-carrying duties last year.

“This year, I’ll definitely be carrying it a lot more,” he said. “I like to juke people out, make them miss. I definitely have worked at making it to my advantage to hang onto the ball better.

“Last year, I had a big play dropped on the 1-yard line. I should have covered it up. It’s pretty much having two hands on the ball. We can’t stress that enough.”

This season, “I think we’re going to be explosive,” Wieczorek said. “We have a lot of small guys, but they’re quick.”

Staying healthy will be a key, Wieczorek said.

“We just have to have the determination to do it,” he said. “If we have the confidence, we’ll do good.”