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Friday Night Lights: There's No Quit In This Pony

HHS senior Ivar Aageson has overcome a major shoulder injury and will do whatever it takes to ensure his last season as a Blue Pony is a special one


September 8, 2017

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre High senior Ivar Aageson is already a two-time All Central A performer. Now, in his final year as a Blue Pony Aageson is again starring on both sides of the ball.

The start to the 2017 season has not gone as planned so far for the Havre Blue Ponies, but the good thing is, there is plenty of time to right the ship and if that happens, one of the driving forces behind any turnaround will certainly be Ivar Aageson.

For Aageson, 2017 is his third year of playing varsity football and in that time, he's seen plenty of changes and more than his share of ups and downs.

He was there when Havre started 1-2 in 2015, with blowout losses to Whitefish and Miles City, only to see to the team rally to win the Central A conference title and reach the Class A state semifinals.

Aageson was also part of the Havre team that started 5-1 a season ago, before losing the final three games to miss the playoffs entirely.

The lesson from that being, it's not always how you start a season, it's how you finish it.

"I think we just need to get the ball rolling," Aageson said. "We just need to get a win under our belts and go on from there."

Sometimes, getting the first win can be the most difficult. Against Hardin, Havre had plenty of chances to reverse what ended up being a final score of 15-7 in favor of the Bulldogs, it just couldn't come up with the big plays when it needed to. Last week at home against Lewistown, it was the same story, the Eagles made more plays than the Ponies, plain and simple.

"We just need to capitalize on our opportunities," Aageson said. "We have had plenty of chances from the film that we watched, where we could have made a play and changed the game right then and there. Things just haven't gone our way. So we need to make those plays and then we have also shot ourselves in the foot with penalties when we are near the end zone and things like that, so we need to fix those things, too."

Fixing mistakes is going to be a big key for Havre, but so is making impact plays and when it comes to the ladder, no one for the Ponies is better than Aageson. While Aageson has recently developed into a big-time threat at wide receiver, he first cut his teeth with Havre High football on defense, at cornerback.

That's where Aageson played in 2015, when he registered 28 tackles, three passes defensed and three tackles for loss as he earned Second Team All-Conference honors.

"We were really good at receiver that year," Aageson said. "So I mostly played on defense, but that was one thing that really helped me, was getting to cover all those guys every day."

After breaking out in 2015, big things were expected from Aageson heading into 2016, but after suffering a shoulder injury against Whitefish in the first game of the season, he was never quite 100 percent."

"That has probably been my biggest challenge," Aageson said of his shoulder injury. "I missed a few games, but after that, I was about as healthy as I was going to be and I just played with it. There were times when I couldn't really lift my arm very high, but I just tried to do what I could."

His shoulder injury may have limited him some in 2016, but it didn't stop Aageson from racking up 312 yards receiving and five touchdowns for the Ponies, numbers that earned him Second Team All-Conference honors again, this time as a wide receiver.

But now that Aageson is fully healthy, he has become even more effective offensively, catching 11 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns in two games, while still making a big impact defensively playing both safety and some at corner.

"I will still cover certain players from other teams," Aageson said. "So I will still be in man coverage when coach asks me to, but playing safety is more about the run and coming up and helping stop that."

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre High senior Ivar Aageson is already a two-time All Central A performer. Now, in his final year as a Blue Pony Aageson is again starring on both sides of the ball.

Even though Aageson seems headed for a big season individually, which could mean more postseason honors or even a college scholarship, his main focus is helping his team turn things around and making sure he enjoys every minute of his high school football career, which suddenly, could have just seven games left in it.

"My brother (former Blue Pony Gunnar Aageson) told me that it would be over in the blink of an eye," Aageson said. "And that's true, I blinked and I am in my fourth year playing football. That probably won't sink in for me until I have played my last down."

And as far as 2017 is concerned, whether the Ponies win or lose tonight against Laurel, or whether they fight their way back into the playoff race or not, Aageson and his teammates plan to keep on fighting.

"I just want us to look back on this season and know that we never quit and never stopped fighting," Aageson said. "I just want us to keep going forward and to go as far as we possibly can."

Aageson and the Ponies will take on Laurel tonight inside Blue Pony Stadium. Kickoff between the Eastern A rivals is set for 7.


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