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Lil' Ponies football teaching kids the game in Havre


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Daniel Horton Havre Daily News [email protected]

The Havre High Blue Pony football players are constantly making headlines for their performances on Friday nights, but the Havre High football program isn't the only team starting a new season. The Lil' Ponies football program is well under way with practices, but now patiently awaiting their first games. The fourth-grade team's first game is on the road against Chinook on Tuesday, while the fifth and sixth grade teams get started on Saturday at the Shelby Jamboree. This is only the third year of the Lil' Ponies, but the numbers are strong, as 65 kids have come out to play football this year. And getting kids involved in after school activities is one of the main goals for the program. “Really we just wanted another opportunity for kids to do something after school,” Lil' Ponies head coach Phil Stokes said. “The soccer program is very successful here, but soccer isn't for everyone and football isn't for everyone. With the two of them we have got quite a few kids out here.” But as well as getting high turnouts, the Lil' Ponies are also finding success on the field. The kids who are now in sixth grade have only suffered two losses in the last two years. And the kids who are now in fifth grade maintain an undefeated record. Coach Stokes likes to see the athletes play well, but it's clear that notches in the win-loss column aren't all that important. The goal is just to get kids involved after school, and prepare them for the rest of their future football careers, no matter how long those carriers last. “We are trying to teach the kids technique and fundamentals of football,” Stokes said. “That's the whole goal of this. We don't do anything fancy, we just want them to play football and to play it right.” Finding good athletes in Havre is never hard. But finding them on the Lil' Ponies field is even easier. The kids are what make the program so successful, and a number of them will end up as an HHS Blue Pony. Getting out and playing real, contact football at the grade school level prepares the kids for the middle school level. And playing at the middle school level prepares those who choose to play for the high school level.. And that's what the Lil' Ponies are setting out to do. “We hope to give them as much football as we can before they get into high school,” Stokes said. “The hope is that when these kids get to high school they have five years of football under your belts their freshman year.”


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