MARION — Pine River’s football team picked up a 45-28 road victory over Marion on Friday to improve to 3-5 overall.

The Bucks trailed 22-20 heading into the half but netted two rushing touchdowns (8,4) in the third quarter by Brandon Fulks and Pine River got a one-yard rushing touchdown by Skyler Nelson and a one-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Fulks in the fourth quarter to come away with the victory.

“I was really pleased, especially with our second-half performance,” said Pine River coach Terry Martin. “Marion came out with their homecoming and senior night and were pumped up. They played well in the first half. Then we came out in the second half and our defense stepped up and played a lot better.”

Nelson led the Bucks by going 9-for-15 for 131 yards and three touchdowns and an interception through the air and added a two-yard rushing touchdown on the ground. Fulks rushed for 131 yards and two scores while also catching two touchdown scores.

Nelson had a 12-yard pass to Brandon Hoaglund, a 32-yard pass to Fulks and a 2-yard run in the first quarter.

“Fulks did a nice job running the ball,” said Martin. “A lot of it was outside with him. Our other running back, Mitchell McDonald, went out with an injury early in the third quarter. In the second half, Brandon really stepped up.”

Martin said he was hopeful that Mitchell, who hit his head on a play, will return to action this week.

Jeff Gross had two rushes for 63 yards. Kyle Nixon caught two passes for 50 yards.

Dominic Garcia led the Bucks’ defense with 10 tackles.

Pine River finishes the season by hosting McBain next Friday.

“I’m expecting it to be a pretty good game,” said Martin. “They still have an outside chance of a playoff spot. We’re both young teams. Both our our offenses have played better the last couple of weeks.”

Martin said his team has adjusted to the new offense over the year rather well.

“We’re to the point now where at the end of our first season, everybody is understanding the offense well and understands the big picture of what we’re doing on each play,” Martin said “We return nine starters to that offense next year will be a pretty good thing to hang our hat on.”

Pioneer sports writer Greg Buckner contributed to this report.