Pine River places five players on all-Highland first team

LEROY — Pine River was 2-3 in the Highland Conference for football this season and five players earned first-team all-league honors.

The first-team honorees were Mason Powell, Hunter Esiline, Payton Pacola, Tyler Wing and Matt Goodenow.

Powell, a junior quarterback and defensive back, was 28-of-67 for 524 yards and four touchdown passes. He ran for 419 yards and eight touchdowns on 67 carries. Defensively, Powell had 35 tackles and two forced fumbles.

Powell also had 10 kickoff returns for 283 yards and one touchdown.

He averaged 38 yards per punt as punter.

“Mason is our team leader and MVP,” Pine River coach Terry Martin said. “He is a top performer and great competitor in all aspects of the game. His offensive stats were compiled over a 5 1/2-game stretch. He then broke his hand and moved to defense as a result of playing in a cast for the remaining three games.”

Esiline is a strong safety and wide receiver. He had 83.5 tackles, five interceptions and two forced fumbles, plus 388 yards and six touchdowns on 13 receptions.

“He’s a huge playmaker on offense scoring on nearly half of his receptions,” Martin said. “He led our defense in almost every category.”

Payton Pacola was a slot back and linebacker who gained 202 yards and four touchdowns and 43 carries and gained 136 yards and one touchdown on nine receptions. He had 41 tackles.

“He’s a senior who missed multiple games with injury and was active for only six games of the season and only played offense for five,” Martin said.

Tyler Wing was a defensive back with 23 tackles, four interceptions and one forced fumble.

“He’s the senior leader of our secondary,” Martin said. “He did a great job in both pass coverage and stopping the outside running game.”

Matt Goodenow was a slotback with 251 yards and two touchdowns on 49 carries with 17 pass catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns.

“He’s a senior that led our team in receptions,” Martin said. “He has great hands and is a very smart player. He allowed us to move him around in our formations and connected on a couple big game-winning passes.”

Joe Rigling and Zach Herron were honorable mention picks.

Rigling was a fullback and linebacker, who had 50.5 tackles, four caused fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

“He was a huge component of our team,” Herron said. “As a result of injuries to other players, he ended up playing almost every down of the season starting in week three.”

Herron, a defensive lineman, had 52 tackles, including 4.5 for losses.

“He was a physical force in the middle of our defensive line,” Martin said. “He was the largest lineman on the squad and drew a number of double teams all season long that helped other defensive players.”