Powell set for strong junior season at quarterback

LEROY — Mason Powell showed what he can do as a junior quarterback for the Pine River Bucks in their 26-13 win over Kalkaska in last month’s season opener.

He’s hoping to show even more for the rest of the season.

Powell had a big night against Kalkaska with 231 passing yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 116 yards and two scores to lead Pine River.

Last season as a sophomore, Powell played a huge role in his team’s drive to the district title.

“I was very happy with my performance,” he said. “But we had a lot of upperclassmen that helped me work through being an underclassmen on the team.”

As a junior, Powell said he feels “a lot more comfortable and confident,” as a quarterback. “Stuff slows down as you get experience with it. I’ve played on all three varsity sports teams now for a couple of years. The tempo definitely slows down.”

Powell indicated this team could be faster and stronger all-around from last year’s squad.

“We lost some experience at certain positions like Mitchell McDonald, Brandon Fulks and Greg Park, and a lot of experienced linemen,” he said. “That will be a little bit of a damper on part of the season, but I don’t think that will slow us down. I’ll be in the same position I was last year, expected to make plays and try to make the best plays I can. We have guys who can fill those positions well.”

Powell considers himself a good runner.

“At heart, I’m not really a quarterback but more of a running back,” he said. “I like running the ball.”

But he feels comfortable passing when he has to. In the district title win at Sanford Meridian, Powell had a long touchdown pass for the win to Greg Park late in the game.

Powell is also looking to see some action as a defensive back.

Pine River (2-1), which defeated Mancelona the second week of the season, lost 48-20 at Beal City on Friday.

“Beal City is always tough,” Powell said. “I’m looking forward to playing NorthPointe Christian. They’re going to be tough. Berrien Springs, I expect that to be a hard-fought game. The Highland Conference should be tough all around this year.”