Friday Night Lights: Old School
Havre High senior Jake Williams is the prototype linebacker, and all he wants to do is help the Ponies win
September 6, 2013
After an 0-1 start to the new football season, the Havre High Blue Ponies are looking to get into the win column in week two.
And senior middle linebacker Jake Williams could be crucial to just how much success the Central A Ponies have this season. Last season, the Ponies finished with a 4-5 record and as the No. 3 seed in the conference. But another run into the state playoffs was upended with a tough loss, this time to Laurel.
Moving forward, the Ponies are looking to move up in the Central A rankings, as well as earn another spot in the postseason. And as a senior, the 5-9, 190 pound Williams will help lead the way. Williams is a three-year letter winner for the Blue Pony football program, and has been on the squad since his freshman year. But this year, Williams has even filled in on the offensive line due to early injuries. And Williams’ strength at middle linebacker is what makes him a force for the Ponies. He’s a throwback to middle linebackers of hold. He’s a hard hitter, has a nose for the ball, and is never afraid of contact.
Williams’ strength has also propelled him to success on the wrestling mat, soon to be a three-year wrestler for the Ponies, with his biggest accomplishment coming last season with a 2-2 showing at state, and helping HHS claim Class A state title.
The Ponies have a lot of tough games this season, including the tough season opener they dropped to Whitefish. But not looking too far ahead, the Blue Ponies are focused on their current matchup, the Miles City Cowboys.
The Ponies dropped their season opener to Whitefish, but the Cowboys didn’t have a good first week either, losing 53-0 to Powell Wyoming. But the Ponies haven’t had a good track record with the Cowboys, losing in three straight lopsided meeting. In 2010 the Cowboys knocked the Ponies out of the playoffs 54-26, while in 2011 the Cowboys defeated the Ponies 48-14. And last season, the Cowboys defeated the Ponies 35-14, a game that started with a 6-0 HHS lead.
Williams and the rest of the Blue Ponies will look to get a win in week two, but take down the Cowboys as well. Kickoff is tonight at Blue Pony Stadium at 6 p.m.
Here’s five questions with Havre’s senior leader on defense.
HDN: What is the main goal of this team this season?
Williams: “We want to win the conference, that’s the top goal right now, but we want to get into the playoffs and win as many games as we can. It is going to take doing the fundamentals to win some ballgames, and we just need to make sure everybody executes their assignments.”
HDN: What does the defense have to do to step up, and keep teams out of the end zone on a regular basis?
Williams: “Our secondary has to step up. They are doing a good job right now, but they just have to make sure to stick on those receivers. And us linebackers have to flow to our holes, and our defensive line has to get to the quarterback to hurry up the offense. It is going to take hard work, hustle, and no laziness. We all just have to go 110 percent on every play and trust in what we are doing.”
HDN: Is there one game on the schedule that you are looking forward to the most?
Williams: “I think Livingston. They beat us down pretty bad last year, and now we play them on our homecoming night. We want to get some revenge at home in front of the school when everybody is hyped up to see us play. A loss would be disappointing.”
HDN: How badly do you want to beat Miles City on Friday after a handful of losses to the Cowboys over the last few seasons?
Williams: “We want to beat them bad. Everybody is always talking about how good they are, and it would be huge if we did beat them. I think we are capable of that, but they are a really good team and are really recognized all over the state. It would be a big win for us, and it would put us in the talk with the teams at the top of the Central A. They are a top dog in the state, and it would just be big to beat them.”
HDN: What do you have to do personally, to lead this team from the linebacker position?
Williams: “I just have to be the loudest guy on the field and I have to hype everybody up. If somebody makes a mistake I need to keep positive and tell them not to get down on themselves, and just make sure everybody is getting the job done. I also want to do all the drills right, and make sure all of the younger kids see me leading by example so when they are juniors and seniors, and in my position, they do the same thing. This is my last year of football, so the more games we win the deeper into the season we go, so I want to do everything I can to help us win.”