Pine River Eyes First Regional Title
LEROY – For just the second time program history, the Pine River football team finds itself playing for a regional championship.
Rallying for a 14-7 win over Morley Stanwood last Friday, Pine River (8-3) secured its program’s first district championship since 2014 and second overall. The Bucks were the surprise team in the Highland Conference this fall, winning the league title for the first time since 1999, doing so in outright fashion.
Now, Pine River will face Ravenna (9-2) Saturday, with a spot in the Division 6 state semifinals on the line.
“It was kind of monotone on Monday, and then Coach (Terry) Martin’s like, ‘You guys realize you’re one of eight teams left in the state,’ and everyone’s kind of like, ‘Oh, man,’” senior Mason Powell said. “After that, it’s just been, everyone’s been ecstatic, ready to go.”
Ranked ninth, Ravenna is a program with a storied postseason tradition. The Bulldogs made three consecutive state semifinal appearances from 2008-2010 and have four state titles to their credit, last winning it all in the 2003 Division 6 final.
Ravenna has made its way to its first regional final since 2010 after posting wins over Lakeview (42-21) and Kent City (20-7), respectively, in district play.
“Defense is going to have to step up big,” coach Terry Martin said. “I think the intimidation factor, the size is kind of minimal because of the schedule that we’ve played. We’ve played some really big teams coming down the stretch this last month and our kids, although undersized, I mean they are going to have to come out and play a really tough football game.”
A win for Pine River would give the Bucks their first regional championship.
Saturday’s game at Ravenna is set for 1 p.m.