Before Friday night’s prep football game in Havre, the Havre High football team thought it might have secret weapon. It turns out the Blue Ponies were right, but freshman Parker Filius will not be a secret moving forward.
Filius has burst onto the Blue Pony scene as a freshman athlete, and before Friday night, more people may have been waiting to see what he could accomplish for the HHS wrestling program. But after Friday’s 33-0 win over Glendive, more people will surely be tuned in this season to see what else Filius will be able to do on the gridiron.
Before Friday, Filius maybe played five snaps per game at the varsity level. He had already proven he could be a spark on the junior varsity squad, but Havre High head coach Jason Christenson was waiting for the perfect time to see what he could do with the varsity team. And week four happened to be that time, as Filius got the nod as a starting wide receiver against the Red Devils.
“We had some things happen during the course of the week where we thought we could plug him in,” Christenson said. “He has been been getting reps with the varsity at practice and we are confident in his ability. He has great speed and great hands, and he understands the offense. He is just one of those rare athletes just like we thought Dane (Warp) was a couple of years ago. You have to be mentally tough to be out there as a freshman and we feel like he is. We can put him in during any situation and he will do well, and that is rare to have that, and we are lucky to have that in him.”
And Filius didn’t just get the start, he got the start and helped lead the Ponies to a win with two scores.
Filius scored the first and the last touchdown Friday. His first score came on a 3-yard carry in the first quarter, and his second came on a 30-yard run in the fourth quarter with time winding down.
“It (first touchdown) was exciting and fun,” Filius said. “I thought our linemen would be able to make a hole and we could get it done. But the second one was exciting because I had to run back and forth with a bunch of cuts. We were just running the clock out, but if it was there, we were going to go take it.”
While Filius started as a receiver, he also saw time as quarterback and running back. He finished the game with the two touchdowns, as well as five catches for 55 yards, and eight carries for 71 yards. His 30-yard rushing score came after he subbed into the game for starting quarterback Dane Warp.
But being a utility player is what makes Filius such a dangerous player. He may not have gotten a ton of varsity time if he weren't so well-rounded, and he truly can lineup all over the field for the Ponies.
“In practice I play a lot of positions,” Filius said. “So if anybody needs a break I can go into the game. But I like to play a lot of different positions because I didn’t really expect a lot of varsity playing time at the beginning of the season.”
Look for Filius to be an impact player the rest of the season, especially if he can manage similar numbers as in his first career start.