Pine River football had special 2014 season

Editor's note: This is another is a series of A Special Season stories. Stories are submitted, upon invitation, by current and former coaches.

LEROY -- It might be difficult for some local football fans to believe, but it has already been more than five years since the Pine River Bucks turned in what many consider to be the school's best team in recent memory.

When it was all said and done, Pine River compiled an 8-4 overall record, en route to the program's first-ever district championship, first-ever playoff victory and first postseason appearance since 2005.

Led by head coach Terry Martin, who is still the signal-caller for the Bucks and is nearing a decade in the position, the 2014 season was one that he remembers fondly to this day.

"The players believed in each other and down the stretch in some really tight games they were never nervous or doubted each other," Martin said.

The PR coach also recalled that the chemistry shared among his players played a large role in regards to the overall success the team experienced more-often-than-not.

Martin also said that he had confidence going into the 2014 season, and said his team exceeded the expectations he had prior to kick off.

"We knew we had a solid group with potential, but no one in PR history had ever won a playoff game, let alone a district championship," Martin said.

Pine River opened its 2014 campaign with a 39-6 victory over Kalkaska and followed up with a 55-13 win over Benzie Central a week later.

After back-to-back defeats in consecutive weeks, the Bucks came back strong to finish the regular season by emerging victorious in four out of their final five contests.

Included in this slew of late-season victories was a 35-18 road win over McBain, which ultimately led the way for PR's postseason berth and district title.

PR trailed 18-7 in the third quarter, but it was not enough for a McBain triumph.

Quarterback Mason Powell, along with running back Brandon Fulks, full back/defensive lineman Jeff Gross, linebacker Dominic Garcia as well as running back/defensive back Mitchell McDonald all proved to be key factors for the success of Martin's '14 squad.

Martin said that Gross, an All-State athlete, was "a force on the line."

Garcia compiled 109 tackles during what was his junior season.

As a team, the Bucks averaged 31 points-per-game and scored 341 points in total, which was second only to Pine River's 1999 undefeated campaign.

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