Pine River defeats Morley Stanwood for Division 6 district championship

LEROY — Football can be compared to a chess match — trying to figure out what your opponent is going to do and then counter attack.

Pine River coach Terry Martin figured because his team had success against Morley Stanwood getting to the edge the first time the two teams played in the second week of the season, he had to try something else. That something else was trying to run the ball up the middle.

The Bucks enjoyed just enough success in the game plan to pull out a 14-7 victory over the Mohawks to claim the Division 6 district title Friday night at Pine River High School. Pine River advances to the regional final 1 p.m. Saturday at Ravenna.

“Our offense is kind of a big-play offense,” Martin said. “But (Friday) we had some good drives that ate up the clock and picked up some yards.”

The game-winning drive came less than a minute into the fourth quarter. Pine River quarterback Mason Powell started up the middle, but broke to the sideline and was able to scamper for a 46-yard touchdown. He then added the two-point conversion for the final points of the game.

Powell finished with 154 yards rushing on 27 carries and two touchdowns.

“I hit the middle, but I found an opening on the edge and then tip-toed down the sidelines,” Powell said.

Pine River took a quick 6-0 lead on its opening possession of the game, traveling 47 yards on five plays capped by an eight-yard run by Powell.

Other than first drive, Morley Stanwood coach Clark Huntey was pleased with the defensive effort of his team, which allowed just 87 yards of offense in the first half.

“We didn’t come out of the gate ready to play,” he said. “We played good defense the rest of the way with the exception of that one play.”

Morley Stanwood took the lead late in the second quarter as quarterback Nic Huntey found Jayson Ambler for a 58-yard pass. Alex Huberti made the extra point to give the Mohawks a 7-6 advantage.

Morley Stanwood also drove to inside Pine River’s 15 yard line in the fourth quarter, but a holding penalty and a delay of game penalty stalled the drive. Huntey led the offensive effort with 111 yards rushing, while Aiden Nelson added 57 yards on the ground.

“We had chances to score, but we had penalties and we couldn’t recover,” Huntey said.

Overall, Martin is pleased with how well his defense played as the unit allowed just 244 yards of offense.

“I thought our defense played well” he said. “It was a physical game and we gave a little bit, but we kept them out of the end zone.”