Pine River football team opens practice season

LEROY — It’s a warm week but for the Pine River football team, it’s the ideal time to get ready for the 2016 season.

Coach Terry Martin ends his fourth year as head coach with the team for the first day of practices.

The Bucks are in their first week of practices in preparing for a season that kicks off Aug. 26 at home with Kalkaska.

“(Monday morning) we ran through most of our base offensive stuff,” Martin said. “We’re trying to get kids familiar with our base offensive scheme and get them into a little bit of conditioning. We were on the field, blowing the whistle starting at 7:30 (a.m.). We’ll put pads on the first time on Friday.”

Players stayed overnight at the school on Sunday during a bonding period.

“(Monday) all the families come in and we eat dinner at 5:30,” Martin said. “From there, everyone disperses.”

Martin said he has 25 players on the varsity and at 25 for the JVs.

“That’s up a little bit,” he said. “We’re usually at low 20s both levels.”

Martin was happy with what the Bucks accomplished during the summer.

“We had 30 guys, a big core of our varsity and our JV offense, going down to a three-day camp at Montrose which was pretty good,” he said. “We had 40 kids go to a one-day camp at Clare as well.”

On Friday, the Bucks have just one practice. They have an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday.

“We start at 10 and divide our team in half,” Martin said.

The Bucks have a scrimmage Aug. 18 at Manistee.

“In our skill positions, we have a lot of seniors returning,” Martin said. “We have a lot of seniors on the team, about 18. A couple of them are first-year kids. We have 11 returners from last year’s team.”

After the season opener, the Bucks will also be home Sept. 1 with Morley Stanwood and Sept. 9 with Beal City.