Pine River linebacker says McBain game was turning point


LEROY  —  Dominic Garcia was among the key reasons the Pine River Bucks had success on the gridiron and ended the season with an 8-4 record.

He was a starting linebacker and second-string fullback.

The season ended with a 28-16 loss at Boyne City in the regional final last Friday.

Pine River defeated Sanford Meridian 34-27 for the Bucks’ firstever district title.

It all started the week before with a 25-19 win over Tawas.

“The keys for winning that game was attacking the outsides,” Garcia said. “They were really fast so we had to be persistent.”

The Bucks were 2-2, but went 6-2 since.

“The biggest turning point as a team was the McBain game,” Garcia said of the win in the regular-season finale. “We knew if we didn’t win that we wouldn’t be able to participate in a playoff game. That’s also our biggest rivalry.

“It’s the best game we’ve had all year.”

It was the first time since 2005 the Bucks were in the playoffs. But they’ve been a confident team.

“We’ve worked hard to make it there,” Garcia said.

Garcia, the team’s leading tackler, has had some huge performances. He had 89 tackles after the first 10 games.

“I feel like I’ve played pretty well,” he said, adding that from last year he’s improved “tremendously.”

The playoff atmosphere was well received by the Bucks.

“There’s a lot of emotions,” Garcia said. “We want to take it.”