Pine River players still hopeful of winning record

LEROY — Mitchell McDonald and Brandon Hoaglund continue to be two key football players looking to help the Pine River Bucks improve from their current 1-3 record.

McDonald has been a leading rusher for the Bucks who have lost to Kalkaska, Beal City and Godwin Heights. They defeated Benzie Central the second week of the season.

“It’s been fun,” McDonald said. “I love our group of guys and our new coach.”

On offense, “The ones I run for 20 yards, that’s solid blocks from our line,” he said.

McDonald is healthy this season and so is quarterback Skyler Nelson, who missed games toward the end of last season following a collarbone injury. McDonald handed the QB duties after that.

He’s a roverback on defense.

“Our hope is to get into the playoffs,” McDonald said. “We haven’t had a playoff team in awhile. If we don’t get into the playoffs, then (the goal is) having a good season and trying to help this program get back to going to the playoffs.”

The key in winning the Benzie game, and in trying to win additional games will be “cut down on mistakes and stick to our jobs and not try to do too much,” McDonald said.

Staying healthy will also be critical. The Bucks dressed 16 players last Friday.

Hoaglund, a senior, is in his first high school year of football. He also plays basketball and baseball.

“I wanted to help the team out,” he said. “I worked out with the team (before the season) as much as I could.”

A wide receiver and cornerback, Hoaglund said he was able to adjust into the system.

As a receiver “I can get open pretty easily,” he said. “I have to remember the routes and plays and what I have to do.”

Not getting beat deep is Hoaglund’s main assignment on defense. Like McDonald, he’s hoping for a playoff spot and winning record.