Pine River football players ready for test at Evart

LEROY — Dominic Garcia, Alex Knapp and Tyler McCurry are among the Pine River players confident of success in the Wildcats final four games of the regular season.

Garcia is a sophomore middle linebacker and backup fullback for the Bucks who transferred to the school during the offseason.

“They put in a new offense (option) and everyone had to learn something new,” he said. “I have improved every week and think I’ve improved as an individual.”

As a defensive player “I read the quarterback and I anticipate every move. Wherever he goes I go,” Garcia said, adding that he’s working to improve on “wrapping up.”

Knapp, a junior, is a safety on defense for the Bucks. He’s made the transition nicely from JV to varsity but gives the coaching staff plenty of credit for that.

“They make everything more easier to understand,” he said. “Defensively, I feel I’m doing pretty good, getting a couple of tackles here and there. I can read a quarterback pretty easily.”

Knapp wants to improve on making the challenging passes thrown his way on offense but he said defense is his best position.

The Bucks were hoping to stop Drew Marion of Lake City last week and have him force his throws but fell short way short in a 48-0 loss. This Saturday, they’re on the road as they bid to knock off the Evart Wildcats.

“We have way more trust and way more chemistry than we’ve had in past years,” he said.

McCurry is a center on offense, and on defense shifts between tackle and end.

“It depends on where the coaches want to put me,” he said. “We have to keep working hard.”

The Bucks have only been performing with 16 players in recent weeks.

“We’re having injuries here and there,” McCurry said, adding that prior to the Lake City game, “everyone is healthy and ready to go.”

With four games to play, the Bucks are 1-4 and McCurry is anxious to see what the Bucks can do.

“We’re not done,” he said. “We’re shooting for a winning season.”

“We’ve played as hard as possible with only (16) players and without backups, things like that,” Garcia said. “We get tired pretty quickly.”