Pine River junior reflects on first varsity football season

LEROY — Matthew Stone and the Pine River Bucks completed a challenging season on Oct. 23 with a 41-14 loss to Berrien Springs.

Stone, a junior wide receiver, was on his first varsity team.

“Throughout the summer, I showed up a lot and knew it wasn’t going to be like JV where I would just show up,” he said. “I knew I would have to work at it. I started my first game at wide receiver.”

He also played wide receiver on JVs. But on the varsity, “the expectations for you are different,” Stone said. “On varsity, you have to do a lot more. You have a lot more responsibility like who you’re supposed to block.”

A major highlight was his first touchdown in a game against Lake City on a halfback pass from Matt Goodenow.

“Blocking is a major thing on varsity,” he said. “That’s what we really stress is getting our blocks down. As a receiver, I think I have really good hands and I’m pretty quick. I run my route pretty well.”

He played cornerback on defense.

“I play quite a bit there,” he said. “My strengths there are probably matching my speed and the fact I also play wide receiver. I can relate to the guy I’m guarding so I’m not surprised by anything he does. I know how to defend it.”

It was an injury-plagued season for the Bucks.

“Coach tells us it’s next man up,” Stone said. “We had to be ready to go in at any time.”

Stone also plays basketball and baseball. His best sport is probably football, he indicated.