Pine River defensive back excited with team’s success

LEROY — Alex Knapp and his Pine River football teammates have been enjoying this season, and for good reason.

The Bucks are in the playoffs this week after beating McBain in Friday’s regular-season finale.

A key moment occurred earlier when the Bucks held back Evart 16-6 in a game that included an interception by Knapp from his defensive back spot. Pine River was up 14-0 at halftime.

“It was interesting,” Knapp said. “The first half went really well. Things were working for us. Defense was working phenomenally. The offense was working on all cylinders. The second half was going more downhill. I think we got too relaxed about the situation and thought we were going to run over them. 

“But any team will not cower down. They’re going to fight. That’s what Evart did. Evart did fight throughout the whole game.”

Pine River traveled to Manton and lost 30-27. The Bucks got a forfeit victory on Oct. 17 over Marion, which dropped its varsity team. That set up a shot at the playoffs.

“We’ve been going hard at practice,” Knapp said. “We are intense. Monday we go through film and look at what we need to do to get better. We prepare (the other days) and Friday we execute.”

The interception against Evart’s Trevin Ladd was Knapp’s first of the season.

“I remember Brandon Fulks knocked the ball, it went up in the air and went my way and thankfully I had the reaction time,” Knapp said. “We have a no fly zone concept to us. We play aggressive, we play tough. We stay back when we need to and (come up) when we need to.”

It’s the first playoff appearance since 2005 for the Bucks.

“We have to execute all our plays and be smart with the ball,” Knapp said, while adding that the team is confident and excited with the success so far. “We are really happy.”