By Tiffany L. Rehbein
With the Havre Blue Ponies final game Friday, and the seniors final game at Blue Pony Stadium, here is a last tribute to the senior athletes at Havre High.
Think about the feeling felt, playing each game like it was the last. Now it is.
Nate Baltrusch, a wide receiver for the Ponies, has been involved in football since the seventh grade.
One of Nates fondest memories was playing against Hamilton in the state championship game in 1997.
Nate has played at the varsity level for three years.
I like the fact of being able to stick with it even though at times it was tough, Baltrusch said. I have gained many friends, character and a love for the sport that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Nates uncle Jimmy Kato has been a great inspiration to himself.
He was my hero, Baltrusch said. Now that I am the one playing, I hope I set a good example for my little cousins.
Although Nate does not know exactly what his future plans are, he would like to play football somewhere, with the University of Arizona at the top of his list.
Derrick Barnekoff, a lineman for the Ponies, has been involved in football for seven years.
Derrick learned that winning isnt everything, but that having pride in yourself and in school is important.
I believe that my greatest inspiration has been my drive to succeed and to prove to people that if you put your mind to something, you can do it, Barnekoff said.
Carroll College is in Derricks future, with plans to study pre-med.
Tyler Bebee, at linebacker, has been involved in football for seven years.
Playing in the semifinals last season is Tylers fondest memory of football.
My dad has been my greatest inspiration, Bebee said. He always made sure to be at all my games no matter what he was doing.
Tyler plans on attending a college in Montana after graduation.
Ricky Brown, at quarterback, has been involved in football for six years.
Rickys fondest memory occurred recently on a bus trip back to Havre from Dillon.
I was talking with Danny W. and how I have to throw him the ball, Brown said. He told me this until about 6 a.m., when we got home.
Ricky has gained a lot simply from getting to know people better and through competition in the sport.
All my teammates inspired me to succeed, Brown said. Everyone in the senior class is very competitive and we always stick together. Its been great playing football with them all these years, and Im really going to miss football at HHS.
Trampus Conaster, a linebacker for Havre High, has been involved in football for five years.
In ninth grade, the first time we played Chinook, I sacked the quarterback, Conaster said. What a thrill!.
Trampus was happy when he made varsity and he enjoys the new friends hes made in competition.
Northwest Nazarene University would be where Trampus could attend college. He would like to major in art, that could lead into computer animation.
Chad Finneman, a wide receiver for the Ponies, has been involved in football since the seventh grade.
The bus trips and friendships are what Chad will remember the most about Havre High football.
Chad plans on attending college to become a diesel mechanic.
Landon Grant, at defensive end, has been involved in football for six years.
Landon will always remember his first varsity start at defensive end and playing in the Mud Bowl his junior year.
My greatest gain has been playing a great game with my buds for six years, Grant said. Football has taught me the value of hard work that always pays off. The comradery and playing in the trenches every Friday night has been great.
Coach (Doug) Schoonover and Landons father have been great support throughout his career, Grant said.
David Heberly, at tight end, has been in football for six years.
His fondest memory of football are the bus trips, winning the Central A division last year, and winning the last five games his senior year.
My greatest gain has been having fun playing football and competing with friends, Heberly said.
Davids dad and himself have been great inspirations to succeed.
I love the competition of sports, Heberly said.
David either wants to attend college at Bozeman, or go play baseball somewhere.
Michael Holden, on the offensive line, has been involved in football since the seventh grade.
Holden, too has a fond memory of a game against Chinook.
When I was a sophomore on JV team, we play the Chinook varsity and we won, Holden said. It was a big win for me, because, since seventh grade, we had never beaten Chinook.
Recovering a fumbled ball and returning it to the five-yard line, where the Ponies went on to score, was a great athletic achievement for Holden.
My greatest inspiration to succeed has been my dad, Holden said. He pushed me to make myself better, and he gave me support. Also, Mr. Larsen, he has been with our class since our freshman year.
Michael is unsure of his future plans.
Willie Hulett, at linebacker, has been involved in football for five years.
He missed football his sophomore year due to elbow surgery.
Willie has enjoyed playing football with all his friends and playing almost every position on the field.
The team has helped me to succeed, Hulett said. I felt I had to play hard for the team and the coaches.
Doug Kallenberger, at wide receiver and defensive back, has played football since the seventh grade.
All the friendships hes made and the bus trips will remain in Dougs memory.
Playing in the state championship game has been his greatest accomplishment as a Blue Pony gridder.
Dougs future includes an education in ag business and rodeoing.
Chris Klobofski, on the defensive line, has been involved in football since the seventh grade.
Going to state his sophomore year is a great memory for Chris.
My greatest inspirations were my parents, and my grandma Carr, because they always believed in me and my high school career is dedicated to my Grandma Carr, Klobofski said.
Chris is deciding between playing football at Montana Tech or attending the University of Montana and going into pharmacy.
Charles Kolczak, on the offensive and defensive line, has played football for four years, and managed for one year.
Charles greatest accomplishments has come in meeting the personal goals he set for himself at the beginning of the season.
Ive learned to work with others as a team, Kolczak said.
Coach Larsen, who taught Charles how to strive to achieve a position on defense, has been an inspiration.
Charles plans on attending a college and major in astronomy and computers.
Ryan McIntosh, at running back, has played football for five years.
Ryans greatest accomplishment has been starting at full back on the varsity team.
My greatest inspiration has probably been Gerome Bettis, McIntosh said.
Ryan plans on attending college after graduation.
Nick Newell has been involved in football for six years.
Nicks fondest memory and source of inspiration comes from his older brother Nathan.
Being only a 145-pound center, he was an inspiration for me to work hard and stick with it, Newell said. He was an all-conference center, even at his weight. He showed me that its not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that matters.
Nicks greatest accomplishment is the fact that he could be the smallest long-snapper ever to play varsity football for the Blue Ponies.
Nick plans on majoring in computer engineering at college.
Jay Rucinsky, at defensive back, has played football since middle school.
Jay enjoyed the hard hits and tough football.
The coaches were my greatest inspiration to succeed, Rucinsky said. They always strive to make us better.
Jay plans on going to San Diego and attending college.
Jesse Suek, at defensive back, began playing football on the school grounds in grade school. He has played ever since.
Jesse will always remember the cheering crowd, the playing band, the shouting cheerleaders and playing hard at Blue Pony Stadium.
Jesses most vivid memory is playing in the state championship at Hamilton his sophomore year.
I have gained self-discipline and respect for, not only myself, but for my coaches, teammates, and parents, Suek said. Also, To leave everything you have on the field and play like it is your last game every down, because someday, that last game will arrive.
Jesses greatest inspiration has come from the tradition at Havre High School.
Its had its ups and downs, Suek said, but I feel if alumni come back and watch, they would be proud of what they saw me doing.
Jesse will finish his high school career by participating in basketball and track.
He then hopes to pursue a career in an engineering field at college.
Ill just have fun and see where time takes me, Suek said.