Pine River overpowers McBain

LEROY — Make that three impressive football victories in a row for the Pine River Bucks.

After huge wins over Morley Stanwood and Beal City in previous weeks, the Bucks did it again Friday and Saturday with a 36-14 topping of host McBain in Highland Conference action.

“It was another really good win for us in making it what I feel are three very solid teams we’ve had victories over,” Pine River coach Terry Martin said. “Probably the thing I was most happy with is we’re constantly working and constantly preaching on improving our performance and the kids answered. We did some things we’ve been struggling with and did those well.”

The second half was played on Saturday because of lightning on Friday.

Pine River opened the scoring in the first quarter on Hunter Esiline’s 10-yard interception return for a 6-0 lead. In the second quarter, Joe Rigling had a 2-yard run for a 14-0 lead following the two-point conversion. McBain scored on a 4-yard run to make it 17-7.

It was a scoreless third quarter but the offense exploded in the fourth. Tristen Nelson caught a 20-yard pass from Mason Powell early in the fourth for a 29-7 lead. McBain scored to cut it to 20-14. But Powell had TD runs of 2 and 9 yards and Pine River made the conversion both times for the final score.

Because of lightning, the second half had to be played Saturday morning.

“By the time we got home and all the kids got back in their beds, it was  pretty late Friday night,” Martin said. “Saturday morning, I had them all be there at 8 a.m. I think every kid was there 15 minutes early. They were ready to go. We picked it up in the second half where we were the night before.”

Powell rushed for 71 yards, while Rigling had 59. Powell passed for 46 yards.

“We’ve been trying to clear up our turnover situation,” Martin said. “We got that down to zero turnovers which was a big part of the game. On special teams, we had one slight miscue on a kick. Other than that, our special teams performed outstanding. It was really good to see those things.”

Rigling had 11 tackles, while Raden Holmes and Esiline had five.

Pine River (2-0, 3-1) plays Friday night at Lake City.

“They played a very good Harrison team close and they beat Manton which has a lot of great athletes that we felt we would be good this season,” Martin said. “Last week, Beal City jumped on them early and were up 40-7 at the halftime. We definitely have to be weary of their offense. We have to make sure we continue to improve on defense.”