Pine River slips past Kalkaska in season opener

KALKASKA — Mason Powell passed for 231 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 116 yards and two scores to lead Pine River over Kalkaska 26-13 Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

“Powell had a very gusty performance,” Pine River coach Terry Martin said, “leading us in rushing and threw the ball really well. It was a 20-13 game with four minutes left to go and he put together an outstanding athletic play and reversed field a couple of times, broke through some tackles and ended up in the end zone and sealed the game for us.

“His effort was very commendable. He had to jump in and play some defense for us when we were shorthanded. He had a big night.”

The Bucks led 20-0 after the first quarter and 20-7 at halftime.

Hunter Esiline caught two touchdown passes and had 171 yards receiving.

“It was a win,” Martin said. “It was ugly. We finished the night with five turnovers. Out of those five, three of them were inside the red zone. We came out running the ball really well and throwing the ball well. We were leading 20-0 five minutes into the game and then held on to win 26-13 at the end.”

Dominic Garcia had a team-high 13 tackles and one sack, while Tristen Nelson had two interceptions and a sack.

Pine River hosts Mancelona on Thursday.

“We have lots to get better on in a short week,” Martin said. “We’re a little banged up, so we’ll take the weekend to heal up a little bit. We had a lot of mistakes and miscues. Hopefully we can use the short week to brush up on some of those things before Mancelona comes to town.”