Highland Foes: Pine River, Evart Meet for “OT on the Road”

EVART – With a share of its first Highland Conference title since 1999 already in hand, Pine River looks to secure outright honors as its closes out league play at Evart on Friday for our “Overtime on the Road” matchup.

Ranked fifth in Division 6, the Bucks (5-1, 4-0) are Highland Conference champions for just the third time in program history, sharing the title in 1989 and winning it outright in 1999.

“There’s a lot of stuff going into this one game, so the kids are very motivated,” said Pine River coach Terry Martin, who played on the 1999 title team. “Obviously it’s disappointing that it’s been that long of a wait for a conference championship, but the group of kids we have right now, nobody deserves it more than them.”

For many on Pine River’s roster, the championship also marks the school’s first since they were born.

“Now that we have a share of it, we get some letters up on the banner, but we want to have it outright, so this is definitely our biggest conference game,” Pine River senior Mason Powell said. “You definitely lose sleep over it. You know, the excitement. It’s not that nervousness that you feel before the first game of the season or going into week one of the playoffs. But it’s definitely an excitement that builds in you.”

With the Highland season wrapping up this week, Pine River closes out the year with playoff primers against Grandville Calvin Christian (3-3) and Berrien Springs (3-2).

Although Evart (4-2, 2-2) is out of the conference title picture, a win Friday would put the Wildcats one step closer to securing their fourth postseason bid in school history and first since 2013.  

“It’ll be good,” Evart senior Layne Nadig said. “It’ll help us build momentum, get us playoff points and hopefully get us a first-round home game in the playoffs.”

After Friday’s game, Evart ends the regular season with Holton (2-4) and Baldwin (1-5).

“We still have to earn the right to be in the playoffs,” Evart coach Pat Craven said. “We still have to get those six wins, so a victory Friday night would put us in a nice position.”

Evart visits Holton next Friday, while Pine River hosts Grandville Calvin Christian.

Categories: Football