LEROY — When Pine River scored 21 unanswered points in a come-from-behind victory over Morley Stanwood 27-21 on Sept 1, senior quarterback Mason Powell demonstrated his true leadership abilities.

Powell threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to key the comeback. He’s in his third season as the Bucks’ starting quarterback. He led the team to the district title as a sophomore.

Last year was somewhat of a disappointment with Powell having limited time running the offense because of injury.

The Bucks were 4-5 last year and entered this season determined for a strong improvement.

“It was very disappointing because of the potential we had,” Powell said. “We put ourselves right back into the district finals (in 2014) and thought  we could make another playoff run. But we had multiple handbreaks. I broke my hand in Game 5.”

There were several other injuries to key players.

“Kids our age don’t stretch enough so you go out there and pull a (hamstring) and you’re out (for awhile),” Powell said.

This season, the Bucks are 3-1 and were home recently against Beal City. Powell threw three scoring passes and ran for two more.

Powell and his teammates had a busy summer to get ready for the fall.

“If we stay healthy, we can do some cool things,” Powell said. “We have a tough schedule. The Highland is always tough and it’s been expected to be even tougher this year. Calvin Christian is new and we have to go to Berrien Springs.”

Powell anticipated this year will be more like his sophomore season when he used a lot of different players to help him move the offense. The emphasis on offense, run vs. pass, will depend on what the defenses give them, Powell added.