Pine River lineman set for senior football season

LEROY — Josh Jackson is expected to be a key player again this season for Pine River.

The Bucks started practices on Monday and stayed overnight Sunday at the high school.

Jackson (6-2, 210) a senior, is at right tackle for the Bucks and also a defensive end.

“I feel like last year was one of my best seasons,” Jackson said. “I’m hoping this year will be better because it’s my senior year. I played really well last year. The team did really well.”

The Bucks were district champions last year when Jackson was making his varsity debut.

“I thought it went really well,” he said. “I did the best I could last year.”

Jackson did extensive weight-lifting during the offseason. He returns to basically the same positions for the Bucks who continue their first week of practices.

“This week, it’s all about getting the team in shape and preparing us to win our first game and get us ready to kick off the season good,” he said.

Pine River kicks off the season on Aug. 28 at Kalkaska. Jackson expects to be improved.

“From last year to this year, I have improved a lot,” Jackson said. “I’m definitely faster than I was year. And I’m in better shape.”

The Bucks hope to be a contender in the Highland Conference this season.

“I think the team is a lot faster,” Jackson said. “We’re definitely stronger. We have more muscle. And we’re smarter.”

Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian and Berrien Springs will be formidable nonleague foes for the Bucks, who also hope to go after perennial power Beal City in the Highland.