Rigling having strong season for Pine River football team

LEROY — Pine River football fans can point to many factors for a season that has included a Highland Conference and Division 6 district and regional titles.

One of the factor has been Joe Rigling, a senior fullback and middle linebacker, who is in his second full varsity season.

As a fullback for the Bucks, it’s been Rigling’s goal to get the “tough yards and doing a (solid) job of blocking,” he said. “I’m strong and I have good vision.”

Rigling has been a quarterback, of sorts, on defense for the Bucks as a linebacker.

“I’m kind of a director on the defense.” he said. “I’m a good tackler and good at reading the play.”

As the season progress into a championship year, Rigling explained the reason for having success. The Bucks (9-3) play Maple City Glen Lake at Traverse City at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the Division 6 state semifinals.

“We’re playing as a team,” he said.

The turning point to the season came in week 2. The Bucks were 0-1 and facing the threat of being 0-2 with a 21-6 deficit to Morley Stanwood early in the fourth quarter. They scored three unanswered touchdowns and went on five-game winning streak to secure the league title.

“We kept improving and never stopped,” Rigling said. “We knew we want to beat Beal City, then the next game was McBain and we wanted to beat them too.”

The Bucks scored plenty of points in various games.

“We have playmakers all across the board,” Rigling said. “We’re playing solid defense all the way around. Our pass defense is good, plus our run support. Our run defense has been solid.”