Thole: Ponies fall short in overtime loss to Mustangs

The Stillwater football team suffered its second straight overtime loss on Friday at rival Mounds View, but tailback Zach Knox, above, and the Ponies are shooting for a homecoming victory over Roseville on Friday. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz)

The Stillwater football team suffered its second straight overtime loss on Friday at rival Mounds View, but tailback Zach Knox, above, and the Ponies are shooting for a homecoming victory over Roseville on Friday. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz)

One week you are staying at the Ritz and two weeks later you’re finding occupancy in the Heartbreak Hotel. That’s the best way to sum up Stillwater’s two overtime losses in as many weeks.

Leading Mounds View by 13 points in the fourth quarter, it was looking like the good guys were ready to throw a bucket of cold water on the Mustangs’ homecoming. Not so fast.

Before this night would end, momentum changed its course and provided Mounds View with a 41-34 double-overtime victory.

Stillwater looked crisp with tailback Zach Knox causing Mustangs defenders nightmares with his power runs. This guy follows his blockers like a shadow and he is getting better by the week. I’ll bet he appreciates that massive offensive line in front of him.

Get this, iron man Knox lugged the leather 45 times for 265 yards and three touchdowns. This is the most durable kid that I’ve ever seen wearing Stillwater toggery.

Knox running behind that line is a treasure to see. This iron man is average 32.6 carries for 186.4 yards per game.

Joe Fredrickson hit Tucker Gran with a 32-yard TD pass after the Ponies were forced to punt halfway through the final period. Hang on, another overtime coming up.

The Ponies started the first OT off in fine style on a 1-yard run by Knox and a PAT by Charlie Styrbicki. Mounds View answered with a 7-yard paydirt pass from Fredrickson to Ryan Kaczynski.

Making a long story short, after the Mustangs put up seven points in their half of the second OT, Stillwater’s hopes died on the 3-yard line as Mounds View prevailed 41-34.

Don’t think for a minute that tomorrow’s homecoming tussle with Roseville (4-1) will be easy. Raiders quarterback Jacques Perra completed 21 of 31 passes for three TDs en route to last week’s 45-19 victory over the Wolfpack. Roseville led 30-7 in the first quarter of that game. Perra averages 260 passing yards per game.

Fasten your seat belts, sports fans. Go Big Red!!

 

Odens can take pride in FCS alma maters

The Oden family has made a significant impact on the football fortunes of Stillwater and Hill-Murray high schools as well as FCS (Football Championship Series) colleges.

Dave, Aaron and Brett Oden played on two Ponies state championship teams in 1982 and 1984. Dave was a fine defensive back on the ’82 squad (11-1), Aaron was an all-state running back in ’84 (11-3) and Brett an all-state kick returner in 1985 (11-1).

Chris ’79, Marquel ’81 and Eric played for the Hill-Murray Pioneers.

All six brothers played football at FCS colleges. Their alma maters are having great seasons as evidenced by checking out the current top-25 in the FCS rankings.

Aaron played for the No. 1-ranked NDSU Bison, Marquel’s Northern Iowa team is listed seventh, Brett’s Villanova outfit is 20th and Dave’s Fordham is close behind in the 21st spot. Eric’s Holy Cross team is not to be found in the poll.

It’s obvious that Chester and Polly Oden produced a family of fine athletes.

 

Thole Poll

Here is this week’s prep football Thole Poll: 1. Eden Prairie (4-0); 2. Wayzata (3-1); 3. Maple Grove (5-0); 4. East Ridge (4-1); 5. Tonka (5-1); 6. Osseo (4-1); 7. Rosemount 4-1; 8. Mounds View (4-1); 9. Lakeville North (4-1); 10, tie, Hutch (5-0) and Roseville (4-1).

 

In the huddle

Coach Scott Christensen’s third-ranked boys’ cross country team won the Milaca Mega Meet for the fifth straight year at Stones Throw Golf Course on Sept. 21. The locals won with 70 points, followed by Perham (84), Centennial (106), Totino-Grace (210) and Minot, N.D. (212) rounding out the top five in the 31-team event. Tayler Aarness placed sixth in 16:04 and junior Bailey Hesse-Withbroe was seventh in 16:05, followed by junior Allen-Michael Burback in 10th, Edoardo Tagliaferri in 19th and Sam Hanson was 28th. The Ponies trail Wayzata and Edina in the most recent state coaches poll…. The girls of coach Dawn Podolske finished seventh at Milaca, paced by junior Abby Lange with a sixth-place finish in 14:47.3. East Ridge won the team title with 55 points and Moorhead was the runner-up with 132 points and Bemidji third with 140 points in the 27-team field. After Lange, came Haley Beech in 58th, junior Lauren Lampright in 59th, freshman Kyra Anderson in 80th and 87th was Bria Eder-Zdechlik…. That was a fine message given by former Stanford and Vikings Hall of Fame star Jeff Sieman at the M.V.P. (Men.Value.Purpose) dinner on Sept. 24. Coach Beau LaBore also gave the audience an update on the Ponies. A little birdie flying over O’Shaughnessy Stadium during St. John’s recent 20-18 victory over second-ranked St. Thomas told me that former SAHS all-state linebacker Andrew Rose caused havoc for the Tommies. Nothing has changed as he did that on a weekly basis while playing for the Big Red Ponies…. During my coaching days, my favorite college football coach was former Gophers head man Lou Holtz, who knows the game like few others. I’ll never forget these words by the 76-year old icon: “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it…. From the where has the time gone department: Brigitte Bardot and Angie Dickinson are both 79 years old…. I had a short visit last week with Ponies

Senior captain Jake Olson, pictured, and Ryan Peltier are sidelined with season-ending injuries but continue to provide leadership for the Ponies.

Senior captain Jake Olson, pictured, and Ryan Peltier are sidelined with season-ending injuries but continue to provide leadership for the Ponies.

football standouts Jake Olson and Ryan Peltier, who each suffered season-ending injuries prior to the first game. Both would be huge assets to the Ponies’ fortunes this fall. Olson was injured in the first game last year, but still was elected captain by his teammates. Peltier started every game last year. These young men are at practice every day and have big hopes of playing at MIAC colleges next fall. I noticed the pair walking to the bus with tackle Joe Knapp (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) after the Mounds View loss last Friday night. Knaap apparently injured his leg an is not expected to play against the Raiders…. The Ponies girls’ tennis team of coach Dave Kahl is 12-3 after concluding the conference season with a 6-1 pasting of White Bear Lake to log a 7-2 third-place finish in the Suburban East Conference. The Big Red, who also defeated the Bears in the section quarterfinals on Wednesday, won all four singles matches in the conference victory. Savannah Johnson, Aliza Deming, Shelby Anderson and

Lake Elmo’s Stuart Helgason, left, was recently inducted into the Minnesota Old-Timers Football Association Hall of Fame during a banquet emceed by George Thole, right, and organized by Stillwater’s Jerry Foley.

Lake Elmo’s Stuart Helgason, left, was recently inducted into the Minnesota Old-Timers Football Association Hall of Fame during a banquet emceed by George Thole, right, and organized by Stillwater’s Jerry Foley.

Elizabeth Quinn won singles matches while winning at first and third doubles were Jenna Sherrick and Hannah Quinn, plus Lexie Sherrick and Amanda Williams…. Lake Elmo’s Stuart Helgason was recently inducted into the Minnesota Old-Timers Football Association Hall of Fame at the Prom Center in Oakdale. Helgason played at Alexander Ramsey High School and North Dakota State University. A large contingent from the Stillwater area attended the event, which was directed by Jerry Foley…. Sorry to see the passing of retired SAHS math teacher Bill Stradtman at the age of 73. Stradtman retired a year before I did and was a good Ponies fan. Former English teacher Scott Crane also passed away at 72…. You can’t ask more of a man than to give all that there is within his span…. finis

 

Today’s rumination #636

A handful of common sense is worth a bushel of learning.

• • • •

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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