Pine River-Backus Tigers Varsity Football Back In 2019
The Minnesota high school fall sports season officially started today. Teams throughout the state woke up with dreams of section championships and state titles, but for the Pine River-Backus football team, getting back on the field this year was a win in itself.
Last year at this time, the Pine-River Backus varsity football team was forced to shut down their season because of low numbers. There were no fans in the stands, no players on the field, and the Friday night lights were turned off.
“It was primarily a safety thing; we had one senior, a handful of juniors, and only a few sophomores last year, I think we had 10,” said Pine River-Backus Head Coach Tom Demars.
“We kind of had to do it, we didn’t have numbers, we basically were able to put one lineup up and have three extra kids, so I mean it just wasn’t worth it overall,” said Pine River-Backus Senior Quarterback Jake Poehler.
“There’s no way we can expect these guys to compete or expect these guys to play a varsity schedule under those circumstances, I think it was a tough call, but I think we made the right one for last year,” said Demars.
With the low numbers, members of the Tiger football team had to do something that most high school football players never have to experience.
“We recruited all summer long, trying to get more kids out and then when our sports meeting came and I saw all the kids there, it was probably one of the happiest things ever to know that we could actually have a varsity,” said Poehler.
Even though the Tigers couldn’t put together a full varsity team last year, they were able to play against some other local JV teams, which should benefit them for this upcoming season.
“It kept us fresh through the year, so we still had stuff to do, usually first days are pretty rough, but we actually did pretty good and we were actually remembering stuff from last year and I think everyone is excited,” said Poehler.
The Tigers will open up their season at home on August 30th against New York Mills.