By George Ferguson
While the 2002 Havre High football season will fade into the back of many minds over the course of the winter, before it does I just wanted to take this opportunity to say a simple thank you.
Over the course of the last several months, I have been approached by many different people commending me and the rest of the Havre Daily News on our coverage of the 2002 Havre High football season. I greatly appreciate all of the compliments that people have given me over the season.
But now it is my turn to compliment and thank some very special people. Simply put, I am thanking everyone who was involved with the Havre High football team this season. The players, coaches, cheerleaders and administrators forgive me if I left anybody out.
I have several reasons for saying thank you. First and foremost, the 2002 Havre Blue Ponies turned what would have been an ordinary fall of my 27 year life into an exciting and magical eleven week journey.
Watching everything you accomplished this season made my job very easy and very fun. It almost seemed like stealing because watching you play certainly didn't feel like work. You made me look forward to covering and writing about games, instead of feeling like it was something I had to do.
I also want to thank all of you because your experience is something I will never forget. It's very common for me to remember just about everything when it comes to sports, but most of the things I remember are on a national scale. I tend to forget some insignificant things. But make no mistake all of you did something this football season that is far from insignificant.
What you did is leave your mark on the history of Havre. Not just in Havre High School sports either. What all of you accomplished this fall will be part of this town's history.
Even though I know all of you would rather be remembered for winning the state championship, it does not diminish the accomplishments that you have garnered over the course of the last eleven weeks. Each and every game I watched you play, or listened to on the radio, will be etched in my memory until I am old and gray.
But it wasn't just the games that made this season so special for me.
I got to know and respect a lot of people that I probably wouldn't have had it not been for getting to cover the Havre Blue Ponies all season.
It starts with head coach Troy Purcell. He is the type of football coach that I have always respected and would have loved to play for. He is a player's coach he believes in his kids and in turn they believe in him.
Purcell isn't afraid to take risks albeit calculated risks. He tries to win games when a lot of coaches try just not to lose games. I have also gotten to know him as a person and he is someone I now consider a friend.
I also got to know the entire coaching staff better most of whom I had already known for a long time. What that coaching staff did this season should be highly commended. The coaches hard work and dedication generally goes unnoticed outside their own circle but not by me. I spent many Sunday nights in that office talking with them and I can say that their effort is a big piece of this team's success.
And finally there are the players. If I could, I would mention all of you and write a story about each and everyone of you. Each of you contributed to this magical season. But since I cannot, I will say this. I have met many of you and I respect all of you. Not just for your achievements on the football field, but for the way you carried yourselves through an emotional and trying part of your life.
I watched a group of seniors lead and guide this team from an 0-2 start all the way to a state championship game. It has been my pleasure to write about all of you and watch you play. You have done your parents, your community and your school very proud. Hopefully you will carry this experience as you grow and do great things with your life.
So thank you to coach Purcell, to his staff and to everyone who wore a Blue Ponies' uniform in 2002. To the seniors I will miss watching you play football and to the underclassmen I will see you next year. But to all of you thank you for allowing me to be a small part of a big part of not only your lives but the history of Havre High School. It is something I will never forget.