Pine River junior lineman eyes winning season for Bucks

LEROY — Tyler McCurry is one of many juniors on a Pine River football team that will form a bulk of the talent for new coach Terry Martin.

McCurry and the Bucks football team began practices this week, but also did so with heavy hearts following the loss of one of their classmates in a traffic accident.

McCurry, 6-0, 200, will be on the varsity his second year. Last season, he was at center, guard and tackle as a utility offensive lineman.

“I feel I made a lot of progress last year,” he said. “The guys pushed me but they pushed me in the right way to get better.”

He expects to be a lineman both ways again.

“I lifted every Monday and Thursday with my team,” he said. “I did as much as I could. I went to a couple of camps and stayed after with coach, helping him out and trying to get ready.”

McCurry is looking for “100 percent” improvement this season.

He anticipates being stronger “and a little bit quicker. I’ll have more confidence in my teammates.”

McCurry indicated offense might be his best position but he enjoys hitting from his defensive duties.

“We’re trying to get used to the speed of our offense,” McCurry said. “We don’t have that much size. We have to rely on our guys to be quick off the ball and keep pushing.”

The Bucks were 2-7 last season but McCurry said they’re capable of a winning season.

The first game is Aug. 29 at Kalkaska and a win would be huge momentum for the team, McCurry said. The Green and White scrimmage is Saturday.

McCurry said many varsity team members were good friends with Pine River student Valerie VanAvrey, who was killed on Saturday in a traffic accident in Wexford County.

“She was a fantastic person and was at every one of our games,” McCurry said. “She was there for everything. She’s definitely going to be missed this year.”