Thole: With snow on the horizon, thoughts turn to fall

Defensive end Mitch Schertz is the lone returning player on defense for the Stillwater football team, which carries optimism into the 2013 season after winning its third conference title in four years last fall. (Gazette staff photo by Scott Ertle)

Defensive end Mitch Schertz is the lone returning player on defense for the Stillwater football team, which carries optimism into the 2013 season after winning its third conference title in four years last fall. (Gazette staff photo by Scott Ertle)

Well, it’s April 18 and only the boys’ tennis and synchronized swimming teams have managed to compete due to the extreme whims of Mother Nature.

The netters have managed a 1-1 record in two matches while girls synchro has enjoyed a 3-0 start.

When things like this happen, my thoughts quickly advance to fishing in the summer and football in the fall. The Red and Black gridders of third-year head coach Beau LaBore look ship shape with the return of a half dozen starters back in the fold, plus the talents of a 7-0 Bronco team and an 8-2 sophomore outfit.

The good guys posted an 8-2 record and tied Mounds View for the Suburban East Conference title last year. The Ponies whipped the Mustangs 17-14 when the pair collided in Stillwater.

Checking out the 2013 schedule, I found that SAHS is not scheduled to play Woodbury for the next two years. That’s too bad, because the Big Red leads the series 32-4 since getting things off to a good start with a 44-0 victory in 1975.

LaBore and company will be hit hardest on defense where only Mitchell Schertz, who started all 10 games at defensive end, returns. He led the Ponies in sacks with seven, to go along with his 25 solo tackles and 16 assists and 120 defensive points.

Offense has more experience with the return of tackle Pete Palacek (6-foot-2, 305 pounds), who started every game last fall. Other starters returning to the trenches include guard Ryan Peltier (6-0, 285) and tackle Nick Brevitz (6-3, 245) — and that’s a big plus.

Sophomore Matt Anderson (6-3, 205) saw plenty of action at wide receiver, where he had 10 catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns. In my opinion, he will be in the hunt as a quarterback.

Midway through last season entered hard-running sophomore running back Zach Knox, who carried 117 times for 614 yards (5.2 avg.) and six TDs.

David Peterson started most games at fullback, but will be moved to defense this time out, and fullback Jake Olson started the season opener at Woodbury, but broke his collar bone on the first series and missed the entire season.

Trevor Tillett started one game at quarterback — replacing injured all-stater Nate Ricci — but what a game it was against Mounds View. Need I say more?

Tillett completed 10 of 29 passes for 114 yards and one touchdown for the season.

Well, I’m looking forward to next fall and maybe the snow will be gone by then. Here’s the Ponies’ 2013 schedule with series records in parenthesis:

 

Aug. 29 at Park (31-10)

Sept. 6 Forest Lake (19-7)

Sept. 13 at Cretin-Derham Hall (6-6)

Sept. 20 Hastings (46-31-2)

Sept. 27 at Mounds View (13-23)

Oct. 4 Roseville (17-5)

Oct. 11 at East Ridge (2-0)

Oct. 16 White Bear Lake (54-38-3)

 

Parents Night is Sept. 6, Homecoming is Oct. 4 and Senior Night is Oct. 16.

Look for East Ridge to challenge the Ponies, Cretin and Mounds View for the title.

 

Today’s Sports Trivia

Name the team and year when the NCAA issued its death penalty for football?

 

In the huddle

If you watched the recent NCAA Basketball Tournament, and I bet you did, you might have been among the many who pulled for little known Florida Gulf Coast University. Well, dear old FGCU, a 15th seed, knocked off Georgetown and San Diego State before falling to Florida in the Sweet 16. Well, we do have a few local connections to the upstart Florida school. Former Ponies golfer and current girls’ assistant coach Peter Deeg ’04 is a FGCU grad, as is former Ponies Tonna Junker, a 2009 cum laude grad of FGCU, and her brother Todd Junker, Jr. Tonna and Todd’s parents are former SAHS athletes Todd Junker and Kathy (Foley) Junker, who reside in Florida…. Austin Jordan, who placed fourth at the state wrestling tournament at 126 pounds with a 39-8 record, was selected MVP by his Ponies teammates. Jordan ranks fourth on the school’s all-time victories list with a 123-46 mark. He will take his talents to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., next year. Jordan joins Sebastian Dingle and junior Dillan Nelson on the all-conference team, with honorable mention going to eighth-grader Christian Bahl, junior Collin Olson, junior Mitchell Schertz and Wayde Hall. Bahl and Jordan received

Former Stillwater football and lacrosse standout Carson Cannon is enjoying a strong sophomore season with the Denver University men’s lacrosse team.

Former Stillwater football and lacrosse standout Carson Cannon is enjoying a strong sophomore season with the Denver University men’s lacrosse team.

all-state recognition as each placed fourth at state. The Ponies finished 17-19 this year after placing runner-ups to Woodbury in Section 4AAA…. Former Ponies hockey and softball standout Tai Thorsheim ’97 officiated the girls’ state championship hockey game between Hill-Murray and Minnetonka this winter at the Xcel Energy Center. I remember Tai and her all-state Ponies teammate Kris Scholz ’96 playing hockey for the Minnesota Gopher women’s team. In high school, Thorsheim and Scholz were named to the State All-Tournament Team in hockey. Tai played first base and Scholz was a catcher on the Stillwater 1995 and 1996 state championship softball teams coached by Mike Pavlovich. Both girls made the all-conference and all-section teams. Thorsheim received the McLaughlin Award in 1997 and Scholz in 1996 — each also landed the Kolliner Award during those same years. If that’s not enough, Tai also received the Athena Award…. Former Ponies all-conference lacrosse and football player Carson Cannon ’11 is going great guns for the Denver University men’s lacrosse team. The Pioneers sophomore was recently seen on ESPN when his No. 3-ranked Denver team lost a heart-breaker 13-12 against fourth-ranked Notre Dame. In football, Cannon ranks third in career receiving yards with 57 catches for 849 yards — trailing only Adam Runk ’97 with 1,590 yards and Brad Putnam ’97 with 1,050 yards…. Answer to Today’s Sports Trivia Question: The Southern Methodist University gridders earned that distinction in 1987. They were issued the so-called death penalty after investigations revealed that players received $61,000 from a booster slush fund…. Ponies hockey coach Phil Housley, who starred for South St. Paul before playing in the NHL for the Buffalo Sabres, Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs and later in the 2002 Winter Olympics, is getting set to dodge some barbs. The Old-Timers Hockey Association will roast the Minnesota hockey legend and NHL Hall of Famer at the Prom Center in Oakdale on Tuesday, May 7 at 5 p.m. For tickets, which are $30, call Ann Berres at 651-771-1375…. Together we build character, courage and loyalty…. finis

 

Today’s rumination #614

If all your dreams don’t come true, don’t fret. All your nightmares don’t, either.

• • • •

George Thole retired as head football coach at Stillwater after the 1999 season. He ranks among Minnesota’s top coaches in history with a 285-69-2 record (.805 winning percentage), including four state titles and two state runner-up finishes among 22 championship seasons. He co-authored (with Jerry Foley) “Coaching the Veer Offense,” second edition. His column appears Thursdays in the Gazette. To contact the hall of fame coach e-mail: georgethole@gmail.com

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