Pine River fullback off to solid start


LEROY — Pine River is off to a 2-0 start in the football season and Jeff Gross is making sure his presence is known on the ballfield.

Gross rushed for 93 yards on five carries in a 55-13 victory over Benzie Central last week.

It’s his second year on the varsity. He recalls a major highlight was defeating Manton during homecoming.

“It was pretty good,” he said of his season at fullback. He’s also a defensive tackle this season.

The Bucks opened the season with a 39-6 win over Kalkaska.

“Everyone was doing their jobs,” Gross said. “I feel like we wanted it more.”

Gross said his role at fullback is about the same this season when it comes to power running and blocking.

“I feel like I’m quicker,” said Gross, adding that he’s more comfortable on the varsity level this year.

Defensively, he feels he’s improved on knowing where the ball is going and reading the offense.

Gross and his teammates were confident of success over Benzie Central. “I think we can make it to playoffs,” Gross said, adding that key each game is “everyone sticking together.”

The win over Kalkaska was a confidence builder for the Bucks, Gross agreed. Kalkaska had won last season in the opener but the Bucks were able to get the job done this time.

Friday night, Pine River opens the Highland Conference season against Beal City.