Team Picture:
Back Row: Bob Davis, Herb Jennings, Chuck Beach, Steve Lindquist, Allan VanDyke, Fred Swanson, Ron VanAvery, Randy Anderson
Middle Row: Coach Dean Blackledge, Keith Anderson, Joe Pesta, Mike Holmes, John Holmes, Jerry Nelson, Randy VanBuren, Everett Beech, Coach Cecil Birch
Front Row: Craig Hinsley, Roy Beech, Bruce Johnson, Tony Holmes, George Corliss, Dale Truman, Jerry Swanson, Daryl Peterson, Dan Johnson

1972 was the first time Pine River played in the Highland Conference. For the second time in three years the Bucks were able to post a winning record. Not only was the team’s 5-3 record impressive, the Bucks scored 203 points. The ’72 squad was the first to score 200 or more points in a season, and it took 20 years for another Pine River squad to do it again. Coach Dean Blackledge’s balanced offense rushed for over 1,700 yards, passed for over 1,500 yards, and finished with 3,336 total yards. Those numbers are especially impressive when you consider that they played only 8 games. Odds were the Bucks would have a strong outing when you consider that they returned 1970 MVP Tony Holmes and 1971 MVP Fred Swanson. Surprisingly, 6-5 receiver Steve Lindquist would at times overshadow both and was named the teams MVP. Despite the high hopes at the beginning of the season, the Bucks opened up with losses to Onekema and Beal City. The Bucks would take down the Marion Eagles in week 3 in part due to the strong play of Tony Holmes. Holmes had a rushing TD, a 2 point conversion, he threw a half back pass for a TD, and also recorded 2 interceptions. Steve Lindquist would help the cause with 107 yard receiving in the 22-6 win. After a loss to Lake City, the Bucks went on to win their final 4 games. The most impressive win came over the Marion Eagles on the final night of the season. Tony Holmes went off again. He ran for 103 yards and 2 TDs, he passed for 2 TDs, and kicked 2 extra points. Not to be outdone, Steve Lindquist caught 3 touchdowns in the 3rd quarter, and added another in the 4th. The Bucks won by the score of 54-0. The’72 season was the last under the helm of Coach Blackledge. Coach Blackledge was able to post the Bucks first 2 winning seasons in just 3 tries. One newspaper commented on how far the program had come under Blacklege’s leadership. Prior to Blackledge taking over, “football was just something to go see if the lawn had already been raked Saturday for most Pine River people.”