Pine River lineman ready to take on Kalkaska


LEROY — Mike Jones is among the seniors hoping for a big football season with the Pine River Bucks.

Jones is in his third varsity season with Pine River.

“My second year, I made a very big improvement,” he said. “My first year on varsity was my very first year of football. I got to know the plays better and got faster and stronger. I move around better.”

Jones participated in a lot of weight-lifting during the offseason. He’ll be starting at offensive guard and defensive end.

On offense, “I can stay in front of my guy and get him out of the hole,” Jones said, adding that defensively, “I’m quick off the ball and I can get it to the quarterback and hit him if we need to.”

This season, Jones considers himself to be “faster, stronger and more of a leader. I’ve been working on to get off the ball and get into my guy and get him out of the hole we’re running through.”

The Bucks, coming off a 3-6 season last year, open at home Thursday against Kalkaska.

“I think this team looks a lot better than last year,” Jones said. “We have a lot more bigger people, faster and stronger and wanting to win and get to the playoffs.”

The Bucks will need to win six games at least to qualify for playoffs.

“We have to play together and don’t make any mistakes,” Jones said. “You want to get as far as you can get.”

This is the second year for the Bucks under coach Terry Martin and the transition has been easier this offseason, Jones indicated.

“There’s some things we need to work on but there’s not as many mistakes this year,” Jones said, adding that more depth “will help a lot better. Last year, we didn’t have that many people and were on the field constantly and never got a break and were tired. This year we have more people so we can switch people out and get a break so we’re more energized.”

Jones expects Kalkaska and Beal City to be among the toughest opponents on the schedule.