Looking at what Havre High's Thomas Gruber has done this season, you wouldn’t know that he had just one varsity start prior to this season.
Gruber, a junior, has adjusted very well to the varsity lineup in just three games this season. He is a starting wide receiver on the offensive side of the ball, and is a starting corner on the defensive side of the ball. And while it sometimes takes players several weeks to really make a splash when new to the varsity lineup, Gruber has seemingly made the transition with no major hiccups.
“I adjusted pretty well,” Gruber said. “But it isn’t that hard to do when you have good coaches like we do. They helped me learn the technique, and we always practiced together anyway, so yeah, I adjusted well.
“During the games it feels about the same,” Gruber added. “But during practice it feels a lot better because I am on varsity now and it is a big deal. It is more fun and better competition now, and we play a lot faster and harder. People also hit harder and are bigger on varsity, but it is fun.”
Already this season, Gruber has grabbed two touchdowns and 166- ards receiving. His TD’s have come from 18 and seven-yards out in week two against Miles City, and was the top HHS performer. He has also earned nine tackles, two pass breakups, and one interception, as he continues to grow on the field and is heavily relied upon by the coaching staff and players.
“He has really matured as an individual and a player,” Havre High head coach Jason Christenson said. “That has shown in is leadership, and his teammates have voted him as a captain. He isn’t showing those immaturities that he had last year, you know getting frustrated and getting down on himself. If he makes a mistake, he just works twice as hard the next time and makes up for it. He has taken that mentality all season, so it has reflected in his game on both sides of the football.”
Gruber has already gotten off to a hot start on both sides of the ball, but with the majority of the season still left to play, he doesn’t want to let up. It starts with the matchup tonight against a young Sidney Eagles team, and continues with five more games down the road. And if the hot start is any indication to what he can do, Gruber should have a solid junior season as wide out and corner for the Ponies.
“I want to at least have a touchdown per week,” Gruber said. “And hopefully a few more picks on defense. I kind of just want to stay consistent in my play the whole season.”
Gruber and the Blue Ponies are in search of their first win of the season when they host the Sidney Eagles tonight at 7 at Blue Pony Stadium. The Ponies are also at home next Friday to host Belgrade in their Homecoming game.