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Football: Ponies hoping to carry momentum into Week 5

Stillwater and Mounds View each notched their first win of the season a week ago and are hoping to continue that positive momentum when they square off at Mustang Stadium on Friday, Sept. 29. It’s a rivalry that provides plenty of motivation for both teams, but the Mustangs can also bank on a big crowd for their homecoming game. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. Stillwater (1-1 EM, 1-3) defeated the Mustangs 20-7 a year ago and have won two in a row in the series, but Mounds View still holds a 25-15 edge dating back to 1956. Mounds View and Cretin-Derham Hall, which owns a 10-7 mark against the Ponies, are the only East Metro sub-district teams with winning records against Stillwater. Mounds View (1-1, 1-3) rallied to defeat Woodbury 29-26 in double overtime a week ago while the Ponies also recorded their first victory of the season with a 26-19 triumph at White Bear Lake. The Bears are Stillwater’s longest-running rival with 100 meetings in that series since 1914, but the Ponies and Mustangs have provided more competitive games in recent memory. “When Mounds View and Stillwater play, which I would kind of consider the new-age rivalry, you can kind of throw out the records and any other expectations and just know there’s going to be a pretty well-played, physical football game that’s going to come down to late in the game or the last play,” Ponies coach Beau LaBore said. Under the direction of first-year head coach Aaron Moberg, the Mustangs have been involved in tight battles each of the past three weeks. Since losing to fifth-ranked St. Michael-Albertville 45-21 in the opener, Mounds View lost to Cretin-Derham Hall (23-21) and sixth-ranked Totino Grace (21-17) the next two weeks before breaking through against the Royals. Stillwater lost to Blaine (53-28), East Ridge (17-14) and Roseville (34-14) in the first three weeks before prevailing over the Bears. “They ran into a tidal wave in Week 1, but that has happened to a number of people who have played St. Michael-Albertville,” LaBore said. “They lose by two to Cretin-Derham Hall, lose by four to Totino-Grace after leading most of that game until the very end, and then pull out a double-overtime victory against Woodbury, so they’re battle-tested. They’ve been in some tough games and pressure situations. They’re disciplined so they’re able to stay in the game whether the talent is better than them or not. “They’ve done some really good things and their record doesn’t show it. In some ways that would be symbolic of us as well. We’re better than our record, but we have to go out and prove it.” Not much has changed for the Mustangs under Moberg, a 2003 Mounds View graduate who was been on the staff for 10 years before getting promoted to head coach. Previous coach Jim Galvin, who compiled a 121-52 record in 16 seasons, resigned to become the school’s athletics director. “I think that almost the entire staff stayed in tact, at least in the short term, to allow for a good transition,” LaBore said. “They hired within the staff, which made that more possible as well. Offensively and defensively they have the same leadership in those categories and they’re using similar schemes. Everybody makes tweaks here and there, but if Mounds View is one thing it’s disciplined and that’s a credit to their players and coaches and they’ve continued to do that for the most part.” Mounds View ranks seventh out of seven teams in the East Metro sub-district while averaging 221.5 yards per game. Quarterback Cole Stenstrom has completed 30 of 63 passes (47.6 percent) for 524 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions. Jacob Gray has nine receptions for 204 yards (22.7 avg.) and two touchdowns while Max Janes has 10 catches for 190 yards (19.0 avg.) and one touchdown. Janes is also one of the team’s top players on defense at linebacker. “He’s very active and a big part of their production on both sides of the ball,” LaBore said of Janes. The Mustangs are averaging a league-low 2.8 yards per carry, but committed just six turnovers in four games. Mounds View ranks sixth in the sub-district while allowing 315.8 yards per game, but has forced 14 turnovers to earn a plus-8 rating in that department. Stillwater is averaging 294.5 yards per game, but expects to be without the services of senior running back Mason Green again this week. Green is one of two captains — linebacker Andrew Weisbrod is the other — currently sidelined by injury. Matt Crowell filled in nicely a week ago with 127 rushing yards on 25 attempts against the Bears. Quarterback Mark Roettger has completed 39 of 81 passes (48.1 percent) and two touchdowns with four interceptions. Cooper Yeary leads the Ponies with 11 catches for 218 yards (19.8 avg.) and two touchdowns. Yeary also rushed for 36 yards and a touchdown against White Bear Lake. Stillwater ranks last in the sub-district while allowing 416.5 yards per game. The Ponies have been flagged for a league-low 123 penalty yards and are even on their turnover rating with nine giveaways and nine takeaways. “We’ve got to keep plugging away,” LaBore said. “Our guys got a taste of what some steady improvement and attention to detail and playing with poise in the moment can develop last week. It’s given them some added motivation to do it in practice so it can happen again.”
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Ponies prep for undefeated Roseville on homecoming 

Published September 15, 2017 at 6:21 am
The only undefeated East Metro sub-district football team after two weeks is slated to visit Stillwater on Friday, Sept. 15. Roseville won just three games a year ago, but is hoping to match that total while spoiling Stillwater’s homecoming. The Raiders (1-0 EM, 2-0), who are off to their first 2-0 start since 2006 when they advanced to the state tournament, knocked off Anoka 34-16 in the season opener and followed with a 25-22 win over Woodbury in Week 2. Stillwater (0-1, 0-2), meanwhile, has lost two in a row to start the season for the first time since 2001. After falling to Blaine 53-28 in the opener, the Ponies lost to East Ridge 17-14 a week ago. Stillwater has not started a season 0-3 since 2000. The Ponies blanked Roseville 14-0 last year and leads the all-time series 21-6 since 1987. Stillwater has won four in a row against the Raiders since 2013. This also marks what is believed to be the 1,000th football game in the history of the Stillwater program, which is a milestone number but likely means less to this year’s squad that knocking off the Raiders on homecoming. “I think it’s important, but homecoming is more important to our guys than anything else (this week),” Ponies coach Beau LaBore said. “As much as you can convince high school kids that they’re a part of something bigger than themselves, our guys embrace that they’re a part of a proud tradition and they know that they have to do special things to be remembered. I’d be surprised if there’s a lot of other teams celebrating their 1,000th game, so playing well in your 1,000th game would be a nice homecoming present to alumni.” The Raiders rank sixth out of seven East Metro teams while averaging 277 yards per game, but also ranked No. 2 in team defense while allowing just 275 yards per game. Roseville quarterback Luke Bouchart, a two-year starter, has completed 22 of 33 passes (66.7 percent) for 285 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. Running back Brendan McMilan has carried 15 times for 91 yards (6.1 avg.) to lead the Raiders on the ground. Jaeveon Mottley leads the Raiders with 96 yards on just three receptions (32.0 avg.) while Victor Yang has five receptions for 63 yards (12.6 avg.). Max Sandin is averaging 16.4 yards and has a punt return for a touchdown this season. “They’re big and physical up front on offense and defense, particularly on defense,” LaBore said. “They have pretty good size and they’ve been stout up front. They have five guys back on defense and that defense is pretty gritty. They’re fast and they’re athletic like they normally are, but they’re better up front. There’s a reason they’re 2-0.” Roseville does rely on five players who play, at least partially, on both sides of the ball. “They stick with that they do and they’re always a gritty bunch,” LaBore said. Stillwater ranks second in the East Metro sub-district while averaging 313 yards per game, but the Ponies were quiet in the second half against East Ridge a week ago. The Ponies were better defensively in Week 2, but are allowing an average of 452 yards per contest, including a league-high 528 passing yards. Mason Green has carried 53 times for 229 yards (4.3 avg.) and four touchdowns to lead the Ponies on the ground. Quarterback Mark Roettger has completed 18 of 39 passes (46.2 percent) for 300 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Cooper Yeary leads the Ponies with five catches for 128 yards (25.6 avg.) and one touchdown. “We have a few things we could have one better against Blaine to make that more of a game and there were some plays we left on the field in an opportunity to win ugly against East Ridge,” LaBore said. “Our guys have high expectations for their season and we need to turn things around pretty quickly to make that happen.” If last week’s games are any indication, there is plenty of parity to be found in the East Metro sub-district this season. None of the four games, including White Bear Lake’s non-league game against Osseo, were decided by more than three points. “It’s hard to tell with only two games, especially when the first game for everybody was nonconference, but it looks like there’s some good parity within the sub-district,” LaBore said. “You have to show up and get after it.” • Stillwater’s Scout Players of the Week after the opener were Jay Haws (offense) and Brice Hafemeyer (defense). For Week 2, the honorees were Imani Skie (offense) and Dillon Scheel (defense). — Stuart Groskreutz Ponies hoping to exceed $10,000 for Tackle Cancer As part of this week’s homecoming festivities, the Stillwater football program is raising money for the Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund. The Ponies have been raising money this week and will also be collecting donations at the gate for this week’s homecoming game against Roseville at SAHS. “We’re hoping we can finally crack $10,000,” Ponies coach Beau LaBore said. This marks the sixth year Stillwater has hosted a Tackle Cancer game. The Ponies raised more than $8,200 a year ago and have donated just under $24,500 in five years, which makes the Stillwater program one of the top Tackle Cancer contributors in the state. The Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund is a state-wide initiative that raised more than $281,000 a year ago and has surpassed the $1 million mark in just five years. “It’s been gratifying to see that goal of getting to $1 million in five years,” said LaBore, who served on the first MFCA Tackle Cancer Board. “It’s really taken off and it’s been a huge success and we think it will continue to be a huge success. • Along with other traditional homecoming activities for students, a Pony Homecoming Carnival is scheduled for students, parents, alumni and community members. The event, which will be held from 4-6:30 p.m., will include carnival games and activities, musical performances, food trucks, concessions and more. Adapted flag football game set for Sept. 16 at SAHS The Stillwater football program is sponsoring its 12th Annual Adapted Flag Football Game on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Stillwater Area High School. Stillwater football players will join individuals currently enrolled in special education programs in Stillwater Area Public Schools, Early Childhood Special Education and Alumni are invited to participate. Spectators are also welcome. The event will be held from 1:30-3 p.m., which refreshments served following the conclusion of play. Pre-registration is not required and, in case of rain, refer to the Ponies’ website: poniesfootball.com.
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Ponies hoping for bounce-back win over Raptors   

Published September 7, 2017 at 4:28 pm
Stillwater squares off against two-time defending East Metro Blue sub-district champion East Ridge on Friday with both teams seeking their first victory this season. The Raptors (0-1) fell to Champlin Park 34-13 in Week 1 while Blaine dispatched the Ponies 53-28. Both teams struggled defensively in the opener, with Stillwater allowing 582 yards and the Raptors giving up 431, including 314 on the ground, to the Rebels. The Ponies have not started a season with consecutive losses since 2001. Stillwater leads the all-time series with East Ridge 3-2, but the Ponies have lost each of the past two years and their 2013 victory came as the result of a forfeit. The Raptors, who were the state runner-ups in 2015, thumped Stillwater 30-7 a year ago and have outscored the Ponies 59-14 the past two seasons. East Ridge graduated highly touted running back Dominik London and kicker/punter Grant Ryerse, who are members of the University of Minnesota football program this fall, along with several others who contributed to a 7-3 campaign. The Raptors were stopped by Champlin Park 35-33 in the second round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs. TJ Kelly rushed for 155 yards on 24 carries (6.5 avg.) in last week’s loss to the Rebels. East Ridge quarterback Riley Tuckner completed 14 of 29 passes (48.3 percent) for 129 yards with one interception. Three turnovers plagued the Raptors after trailing just 7-0 at halftime in the opener. Champlin Park scored twice in the third quarter to build a 21-0 lead. Stillwater also committed three turnovers in the opener, which saw a large number of players making their first starts. The Ponies racked up a league-high 427 yards, but couldn’t keep pace with the Bengals. Running backs Mason Green (23 for 125) and Tyler Thureson (18 for 104) each rushed for more than 100 yards in Week 1 while quarterback Mark Roettger completed 12 of 23 passes (52.2 percent) for 188 yards. Cooper Yeary (3 for 77) and Adam Knapp (4 for 63) were the team’s top receivers against Blaine. Andrew Weisbrod and Charlie Richman each led the Ponies with six solo tackles and finished with 13 defensive points. Zach Cowley added three solo tackles and five assisted tackles for 11 points while Kevin Thole made four total tackles, including one for a loss and knocked down a pass for 11 defensive points. — Stuart Groskreutz Adapted flag football game set for Sept. 16 at SAHS The Stillwater football program is sponsoring its 12th Annual Adapted Flag Football Game on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Stillwater Area High School. Stillwater football players will join individuals currently enrolled in special education programs in Stillwater Area Public Schools, Early Childhood Special Education and Alumni are invited to participate. Spectators are also welcome. The event will be held from 1:30-3 p.m., which refreshments served following the conclusion of play. Pre-registration is not required and, in case of rain, refer to the Ponies’ website: poniesfootball.com. East Metro EM Overall W L W L Scored Allowed Roseville 0 0 1 0 34 16 Stillwater 0 0 0 1 28 53 White Bear Lake 0 0 0 1 21 27 Mounds View 0 0 0 1 21 45 Woodbury 0 0 0 1 20 22 East Ridge 0 0 0 1 13 34 Cretin-Derham Hall 0 0 0 1 12 13 Week 1 results Blaine 53, Stillwater 28 Roseville 34, Anoka 16 Champlin Park 34, East Ridge 13 Totino-Grace 13, Cretin-Derham Hall 12 Centennial 27, White Bear Lake 21 St. Michael-Albertville 45, Mounds View 21 Farmington 22, Woodbury 20 Friday’s games East Ridge at Stillwater Mounds View at Cretin-Derham Hall Woodbury at Roseville White Bear Lake at Osseo By the numbers East Ridge Offense Stillwater 166 Rushing 239 141 Passing 188 307 Total offense 427 307.0 Average 427.0 Defense 314 Rushing 175 117 Passing 407 431 Total defense 582 431.0 Average 582.0 Others NA First Downs 26 10-80 Penalties 1-50 -2 Turnover rating -3
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Mounds View shut down at Stillwater 20-7

Mounds View shut down at Stillwater 20-7 | Ponies Football | Scoop.it
Mounds View’s big-play offense got shut down by the Stillwater Ponies in a 20-7 loss on Friday evening in Stillwater.
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Football: 'Tackle Cancer' events are part of homecoming week

The Stillwater football team will be raising money cancer research as part of its homecoming festivities on Friday, Oct. 7 at Stillwater Area High School. This marks the fifth consecutive year the program will participate in Tackle Cancer, which is a fundraising drive to benefit the non-profit Randy Shaver Cancer Community and Research Fund. The theme for this year’s fundraiser, which is led by the Ponies Touchdown Club and the Stillwater Tackle Cancer Commitee, is “Nobody has to tackle cancer alone!” After raising $700 in its first year, Stillwater Tackle Cancer has steadily increased its financial support each year — raising more than $7,000 a year ago from students and community efforts. The Stillwater committee has set a goal of $10,000 this year. “Participating in Tackle Cancer has become really personal for our football program,” said 2016 Stillwater committee chair Deb Simcik, who is also a PTC board member. “With as many boys as we have in Stillwater who go out for football, unfortunately it seems like there is a personal connection every year with one of our players’ families who has a loved one that is fighting the disease.” In Minnesota, more than 130 high school, college and professional football programs sponsor a Tackle Cancer game where the home team raises money for the charity. The proceeds are provided to Minnesota-based cancer research and patient aid organizations. The statewide efforts raised $230,000 for the fund a year ago. The cause is important for Ponies coach Beau LaBore, who is a member of the Minnesota Football Coaches Association Tackle Cancer Committee. The mother of Stillwater senior offensive lineman Nels Woods is undergoing chemotherapy. “Tackle Cancer is more than just a fundraiser,” Nels Woods said. “It’s a chance for people who had to endure one of the hardest sicknesses in life to know that the community and the team are right there fighting with them the whole way.” Cutaway Productions, which is an SAHS student-run audio-visual production house, has produced a short promotional video in support of the Tackle Cancer efforts again this year. The final production will be released on the Ponies Football web page (www.poniesfootball.com) during homecoming week. Last year, the Stillwater video was shown during a KARE 11 broadcast. “We’re really proud of our work, and we think this year’s video is extremely powerful,” said Katie Fisher, a student with Cutaway Productions. “We see this as a reminder of the love and support we have in this community for cancer fighters and their families.” There are several Tackle Cancer events taking place during homecoming week, including the following: • All week, every football player in Stillwater — from 2nd through 12th grade — will be collecting donations from their classmates and giving out Tackle Cancer bracelets. Players will ask for a minimum of $2 each. The teams at each grade level that collect the most donations will win an ice cream celebration. • At SAHS on Tuesday, Oct. 4, a collection will be taken during second hour. The winning class will win a lunch of subs from Jimmy John’s on Homecoming Friday, courtesy of the Ponies Touchdown Club. • At Stillwater and Oak-Land junior high schools, a collection will be taken during Advisory on Tuesday, Oct. 4 and the winning Advisory class from each school will receive breakfast treats on Homecoming Friday. • During the boys’ and girls’ varsity soccer games at the SAHS on Tuesday, Oct. 4, collections for Tackle Cancer will be accepted. • On Wednesday, Oct. 5 at SAHS, the Ponies Touchdown Club will sponsor a Powder Puff football game, featuring the junior girls vs. the senior girls. Donations will be accepted by members of the Ponies varsity team. • During the Ponies vs. Mustangs Homecoming game on Friday, Oct. 7, collections will be taken by members of the Ponies Touchdown Club. • Heritage Embroidery is partnering with the Stillwater Tackle Cancer committee to sell pink t-shirts (to be worn at a different game in October, which is cancer awareness month). Half of the proceeds from the shirt sales will be donated by Heritage to Tackle Cancer. You can order your pink t-shirts at http://design.hedusa.com/tackle_cancer. For any of these events, checks can be written out to Stillwater Area High School with Tackle Cancer in the memo line, and all donations are 100 percent tax deductible. Donations must be turned in to the Athletics Office at SAHS by Friday, Oct. 7 at 3 p.m., or brought to the varsity game on Friday night. Overall, Tackle Cancer statewide is expecting to reach the $1,000,000 milestone this year. Stillwater ranked in the top 10 for collection amount last year and is setting its goal at the top. The teams that have raised more money than Stillwater for Tackle Cancer all have a matching donor. The Stillwater Tackle Cancer committee is seeking a donor that will match individual donations. If you are interested in being a matching donor, please contact Deb Simcik at dsimcik@hotmail.com. For additional information on Tackle Cancer, go to http://randyshavercancerfund.org/events/tackle-cancer/ • Members of the Stillwater sophomore football team will also be conducting their annual food drive next week. Players will be dropping off bags in neighborhoods on Tuesday, Oct. 4 and will pick up the bags on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 8.
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Football: Raptors win third straight over Stillwater

Football: Raptors win third straight over Stillwater | Ponies Football | Scoop.it
The East Ridge football team was steady once again in a win versus Stillwater on Friday.The Raptors used their characteristic rushing attack to defea
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Football Game Preview: East Ridge vs. Stillwater - MaxPreps

Football Game Preview: East Ridge vs. Stillwater - MaxPreps | Ponies Football | Scoop.it
MaxPreps News - Friday, 7:00 PM
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Big Red finds greener pastures with new turf facilities

Published August 20, 2016 at 1:55 pm The start of fall sports practices for Stillwater teams began this week. The Stillwater football team is among those enjoying new turf on the practice fields and at Pony Stadium. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz) The start of fall sports practices for Stillwater teams began this week. The Stillwater football team is among those enjoying new turf on the practice fields and at Pony Stadium. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz) Stillwater Area High School fall sports teams kicked off their seasons on Monday, Aug. 15, including several who are taking advantage of improved fields and playing surfaces. Construction continues at SAHS, but the football and girls’ and boys’ soccer teams began holding workouts on new turf fields located in and behind Pony Stadium. The Stillwater girls’ tennis team, which started the season on newly finished courts, was scheduled to host the eight-team McGuire Invitational on Friday, Aug. 19. 8-19 spo-fb DEThe Stillwater boys’ soccer team will host the Phil Johnson Cup starting on Thursday, Aug. 25, which is the same night the Stillwater volleyball team kicks off its season by hosting Tartan in a nonconference match. The defending conference and section champion Stillwater girls’ swimming and diving team is slated to host the Suburban East Conference Relays on Aug. 25. In girls soccer, the Ponies will host St. Cloud Tech on Friday, Aug. 26. The Stillwater football team will travel to Eagan for its season opener on Thursday, Sept. 1. The Ponies will open the boys’ cross country season at the Marshfield Columbus Invitational and Saturday while the girls will compete at the Faribault Invite on Sept. 9.
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Ponies bury Eagan in season opener

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Ponies Defend Home Turf

Published September 15, 2016 at 8:55 pm Stillwater’s Ben Peterson, left, and Alex Oshin chase down Roseville running back Victor Yang in an East Metro Blue sub-district football game on Friday, Sept. 9 at Stillwater Area High School. It was the first game for the Ponies on their new artificial turf. (Gazette staff photo by Stuart Groskreutz) Stillwater’s Ben Peterson, left, and Alex Oshin chase down Roseville running back Victor Yang in an East Metro Blue sub-district football game on Friday, Sept. 9 at Stillwater Area High School. It was the first game for the Ponies on their new artificial turf. (Gazette staff photo by Stuart Groskreutz) OAK PARK HEIGHTS — Playing on its new artificial turf surface, the Stillwater football team enjoyed a familiar outcome while blanking Roseville 14-0 in an East Metro Blue sub-district game on Friday, Sept. 9. It marked the ninth victory over Roseville in the last 10 games for the Ponies. Stillwater (1-0 EMB, 2-0) joins this week’s opponent Cretin-Derham Hall as the only teams in the blue sub-district without a loss after two games. Senior defensive back Ben Peterson racked up 11 solo tackles and intercepted a pass for the game’s only turnover to help spearhead a strong defensive effort for the Ponies, who limited the Raiders (0-1, 0-2) to 237 total yards. Quarterback Grayson Hosch was sharp in the first half while completing 10 of 11 passes for 104 yards. The only incompletion was a potentially big pass that was dropped. The senior found Matt Stanton for two touchdown passes in the second quarter and the Stillwater defense took over from there. Hosch completed 12 of 16 passes overall for 118 yards. “Grayson is like a coach out on the field and understands what we’re trying to do,” Stillwater coach Beau LaBore said. “If he’s throwing the ball well, that’s a really important thing for us.” Stillwater senior Matt Stanton hauls in a touchdown pass from quarterback Grayson Hosch in the second quarter of Friday’s 14-0 victory at Stillwater Area High School. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz) Stillwater senior Matt Stanton hauls in a touchdown pass from quarterback Grayson Hosch in the second quarter of Friday’s 14-0 victory at Stillwater Area High School. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz) Stanton hauled in a 7-yard touchdown with 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter for a 7-0 lead after Tyler Cullen’s extra-point kick. Fisher Jakupciak’s 34-yard reception while blanketed by a defensive back set up a 13-yard scoring pass from Hosch to Stanton with 4:55 remaining in the first half for a 14-0 lead. “We made some plays in the first half,” LaBore said. “We blocked better and were able to overcome some of the errors we made.” The offense sputtered after the break, however, leaving it up to the defense to preserve the lead. Stillwater ran just 15 plays for a total of 32 yards and two first downs in the second half. On defense, the Ponies defended 38 plays in the second half and allowed 148 yards, but kept the Raiders out of the end zone. “The defense was on the field a lot in the second half, but bend-but-don’t-break is the main philosophy and goal for the team and we came through with that,” said Peterson, who leads the team with 20 solo tackles and 50 defensive points after two games. “That’s putting an awful lot of pressure on our defense,” LaBore said. “Fortunately, we had no turnovers. We made some small mistakes and had more penalties on offense than we’re used to, but we didn’t make any big mistakes. We tilted the field with our special teams and our defense bent, but didn’t break.” After getting sacked for his only rushing attempt in the first half, Roseville quarterback Luke Bouchart rushed for 37 yards after halftime. He also completed 16 of 36 passes for 172 yards, but he often kept the chains moving with his feet. “Our main goal was stop the run, like it always is,” Peterson said. “We want to stop middle run and get them to pass the ball because then we can make plays in the secondary and the rest of the team. They did a couple more quarterback runs. They came out in a stacked wide receiver look and then did a couple quarterback isos that worked pretty well. We just stuck with it and when it came down to the end we’re happy we got the W.” The Raiders never ventured inside the Stillwater 40 in the first half, but knocked on the doorstep a few times while controlling the ball for most of the third quarter. Bouchart was sacked on fourth down at the Stillwater 20 to stop Roseville’s opening drive of the third quarter and the Ponies also stuffed running back Victor Yang for no gain on a fourth-and-one play to start the fourth quarter. “In the second half they played better and they limited their mistakes,” LaBore said. “We kept making a few mistakes and weren’t able to overcome them. Our defense bent, but didn’t break. They had to play a lot of football because we were not very good on offense in the second half. We called the game a little bit differently in the second half because of the situation and our defense kept finding a way to get off the football field.” The Raiders were not finished after driving down to the Stillwater 13 with five minutes remaining, before an incomplete pass on fourth down turned the ball back over to the Ponies. A score there could have produced a much-needed momentum swing for Roseville. Members of the Stillwater defense, including Thomas Bruchu (2), Matt Johnson (42) and Aidan Steeves (32) celebrate after stopping the Raiders on a fourth-and-one play inside the 5-yard line in the fourth quarter. Members of the Stillwater defense, including Thomas Bruchu (2), Matt Johnson (42) and Aidan Steeves (32) celebrate after stopping the Raiders on a fourth-and-one play inside the 5-yard line in the fourth quarter. “Our defense made the plays when we had to have them,” LaBore said. “Offensively, we made enough plays to get ourselves up and the defense held onto it for us.” Aidan Steeves contributed on defense with six solo tackles and three assists for 17 defensive points. Defensive lineman Tyler Olson finished with two of Stillwater’s three sacks. Recording the shutout was a nice bonus for a team entering the most challenging portion of its regular season schedule. “It’s a nice reward for our defense because they’re what sealed this deal in the second half,” LaBore said. “We walk away from this game knowing we won the turnover game. We made some big plays in the first half and our defense made some big plays to keep this thing in our favor. “We expected a dogfight tonight and, unfortunately, I would like to see us offensively respond to the defense finding a way to get off the field and give us some first downs and go punch one of those in. Our defense made some big plays, especially in the second half. We limited the catastrophic errors, but we didn’t overcome the mental busts and mental errors.” Jakupciak finished with four receptions for 71 yards for the Ponies, who finished with just 189 yards overall. Mason Green led Stillwater on the ground with 18 rushes for 52 yards. • In other Week 2 EMB games, Forest Lake defeated White Bear Lake 20-14 to snap an on-field losing streak that dates back to the 2011 season. The Rangers were awarded forfeit victories over East Ridge in 2013 and 2014, but lost 41 in a row on the field until Friday. Cretin-Derham Hall defeated Woodbury 22-12 and East Ridge turned back Mounds View 24-14. Roseville 0 0 0 0 — 0 Stillwater 0 14 0 0 — 14 St — Matt Stanton 7 pass from Grayson Hosch (Tyler Cullen kick) 9:53. St — Stanton 13 pass from Hosch (Cullen kick) 4:55. Team stats Ros St First downs 16 12 Rushes-yards 30-65 33-71 Passing yards 172 118 Total yards 237 189 Comp-Att-Int. 16-36-1 12-17-0 Fumbles/lost 0/0 1/0 Penalties/yards 2/15 3/15 Punts/avg. 3/38.7 6/40.2 Individual statistics Rushing — Ros: Luke Bouchart 13-32, Victor Yang 12-29, Tamir Beeler 2-10, team 1-0, Anthony Weber 1-(-2) and Max Sandin 1-(-4); St: Mason Green 18-52, Matt Crowell 10-24, team 1-0 and Grayson Hosch 4-(-5). Passing (com-att-yds-td-int) — Ros: Luke Bouchart 16-36-172-0-1; St: Grayson Hosch 12-16-118-2-0 and Matt Stanton 0-1-0-0-0. Receiving — Ros: Levi Brown 7-110, Victor Yang 4-23, L’Ronne Graves 3-21 and Elijah Rosalez 2-18; St: Fisher Jakupciak 4-71, Matt Stanton 4-29, Mitch Blanken 1-11, Matt Crowell 2-4 and Grayson Hosch 1-3. Kickoff returns — Ros: Jordan Lijewski 2-51 and Joe Wright 1-13; St: Ben Peterson 1-25. Punt returns — Ros: Max Sandin 1-9 and Zachary Andrade 1-0; St: Ben Peterson 1-6. Interceptions — Ros: none; St: Ben Peterson 1-0. Fumble recoveries — Ros: none; St: none.
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Cretin-Derham Hall upends PoniesEmpty title

Published September 16, 2016 at 11:25 pm Cretin-Derham Hall took advantage of six turnovers and used a 21-point outburst in the second quarter to defeat Stillwater 42-21 in Friday's East Metro Blue sub-district game at SAHS. (Gazette staff photo by Stuart Groskreutz) Cretin-Derham Hall took advantage of six turnovers and used a 21-point outburst in the second quarter to defeat Stillwater 42-21 in Friday’s East Metro Blue sub-district game at SAHS. (Gazette staff photo by Stuart Groskreutz) OAK PARK HEIGHTS — Cretin-Derham Hall took advantage of six Stillwater turnovers to hand the Ponies their first loss of the season on Friday at Stillwater Area High School. The Raiders scored three touchdowns during a two-minute stretch in the second quarter on the way to a 42-21 East Metro Blue sub-district victory. In a game that was delayed by about an hour after halftime because of a storm that washed through, the Ponies (1-1 EMB, 2-1) ran 19 more plays (68 to 49), but were unable to overcome the turnovers and miscues that led to points for the Raiders (2-0, 3-0). In other EMB games on Friday, Stillwater’s Week 4 opponent East Ridge (2-0, 2-1) blanked White Bear Lake 31-0. Roseville outscored Woodbury 14-0 in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 28-6 win and Mounds View topped Forest Lake 41-13.
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Ponies Tackle Eagan in Season Opener

Published September 1, 2016 at 9:39 am The Stillwater football team opens its season by traveling to Eagan on Thursday, Sept. 1. The Stillwater football team opens its season by traveling to Eagan on Thursday, Sept. 1. The same teams, but with many new faces, square off on Thursday, Sept. 1 as the Stillwater football team travels to Eagan for its season opener. The Wildcats thumped Stillwater 31-13 in last year’s opener — which was the first-ever meeting between the two programs — but much has changed since then. Eagan won just two more regular season games on the way to a 4-6 season a year ago while the Ponies bounced back nicely after dropping three of their first four games to finish with a 6-4 record. The Wildcats also enter the season under new head coach Ben Hanson, who was formerly an assistant at St. Thomas Academy. Eagan initially hired former Gophers quarterback Rickey Foggie to lead the program, but he resigned under pressure shortly thereafter as part of a chaotic offseason for the Wildcats. Rick Sutton coached Eagan, which plays in the East Metro White sub-district, the previous 10 seasons. “Many of the assistant coaches are long-time football coaches and veterans, so we anticipate that despite there being a new staff they’ll have these guys in a great place right out of the gates,” LaBore said. “It’s hard to make a lot of judgements about a team based on some scrimmages. We anticipate they’re going to be an up-tempo offense that’s going to feature a quarterback running and throwing. There’s a fair amount of mystery, so we’ve prepared for all the possibilities. They have a number of new players stepping into their defense, which was a veteran unit a year ago. There are some mysteries and that’s the nature of the first game of the year and a new coaching staff that we have very little information on.” Unlike a year ago when the Wildcats returned plenty of experience, especially on the offensive and defensive lines, both teams experienced heavy losses to graduation after last season and feature few returning starters. Eagan quarterback Gus Kluender completed 3 of 10 passes for 36 yards while also rushing 12 times for 80 yards in last year’s victory. He is a slippery runner who completed 29 of 63 passes for 351 yards in the regular season, but also ranked second on the team in rushing with 419 yards on 70 attempts (6.0 avg.) and five touchdowns. “One of the most dynamic players on the field will be quarterback Gus Kluender, who was their do-everything guy last year,” LaBore said. “He played three or four positions on offense, returned kicks and punts and was their best rusher from the quarterback position while sharing snaps. We know he’s going to be a threat to run the ball, but just as important, we need to ensure that when he drops back the ball comes out and he’s not allowed to extend the play. That’s when he has an ability to make something out of nothing and cause some problems down the field.” Senior Grayson Hosch is expected to make his first start at quarterback for the Ponies on Thursday and junior running backs Mason Green and Matt Crowell have emerged as the leaders in the backfield. The team that returns only one starter in tight end Mitch Banken from last season, though offensive lineman Logan Patzner also saw playing time. Stillwater squared off against quality competition in its scrimmage at Maple Grove on Aug. 27 and LaBore was pleased with the progress on display, which acknowledging they have plenty of room for improvement. “First of all, we want our guys to play with a higher level of intensity and we saw that from our guys, but we have to turn it up another notch to have a successful season opener,” LaBore said. The coach added he wanted to see how the team responded to adversity, which is inevitable when you’re scrimmaging against three teams (Totino-Grace, Lakeville North and Maple Grove) that qualified for the large-school state tournament a year ago, and also solidify the starters, positions and depth charts. “Fourth, we want to come out of there healthy, which we were able to do,” LaBore said. “When we look at the level of competition and how we performed, we had a good Saturday. We have a long ways to go, but we have a good foundation to build on.” Prior to the scrimmage, Stillwater had already been hit with a few injuries on defense, starting with Marcus Darby on the second day of practice. The senior was expected to contribute in the secondary, but will likely miss most of the season. The Ponies will also be short-handed without versatile linebacker Pete Hodnefield and Aidan Steeves, who LaBore called “our quarterback of the defense.” Depth is a concern for the Ponies, who featured 55 players in last year’s senior class but just 65 on this year’s entire roster. “This is the smallest team we’ve had in some time. It’s two small classes back to back,” LaBore said. “It’s not just having as much competition at some positions that has been noticeable, but not have as many players to fill particular roles — in particular, our scout teams. We’re used to have fairly large scout teams that help us prepare for what we have to accomplish, so that’s different.”
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Ponies host football camp for youngsters 

Published August 15, 2017 at 1:42 pm
Eighty players in grades 3-6 participated in the Pony Youth Football Camp, which was held July 31-Aug. 4 at Stillwater Area High School under the direction of Stillwater head coach Beau LaBore and about 35 Ponies football players. “It took a while for the youngsters to adapt to the heat on the turf, but the kids’ enthusiasm for football and fun is ideal to be around,” LaBore said. “Our player-coaches give back to our community and program in a big way through this camp. I am impressed with the level of enjoyment they take from teaching kids what they know about football, competition and fun.”
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Ponies host Blaine in season opener 

Published August 31, 2017 at 10:45 am
After scrimmaging three teams on Saturday that finished last season ranked among the state’s top 10, the Stillwater football team opens the season against reigning state semifinalist Blaine at the newly renovated Stillwater Area High School stadium on Thursday, Aug. 31. Stillwater finished with a 5-4 record last season and opens the 2017 campaign against a program that has given the Ponies fits since their inaugural meeting in 1987. The Bengals, who finished 9-3 a year ago, own a 14-2 record against Stillwater. Blaine has won six in a row in the series, including a 36-14 triumph in their most recent meeting in 2003. The Ponies jumped right into the fire while facing Lakeville North, Maple Grove and defending state champion Totino-Grace in their scrimmage. After a slow start against the host Crimson, Stillwater showed positive improvement throughout the day, according to head coach Beau LaBore. “We have a lot of lessons to learn from and a lot of film to learn from,” the coach said. “We started slow offensively and did some things better and better as the day went on. Our third scrimmage left us looking forward to practicing and getting better on offense. “Our defense was consistent and feisty, which was good to see because you don’t really go live enough in practice to see that come out. To see them tussling with Maple Grove and Totino-Grace and Lakeville North was a positive sign. The biggest thing is we have a bunch of film that shows a bunch of areas we need to make some basic or significant improvements on and it’s helpful to be able to show those things to our players so that they can take ownership and make it better.” The Bengals return quarterback Connor Melton and his favorite target Byron Bynum, Jr., along with two starters on the left side of the offensive line. Blaine, which was stopped by eventual state champion Totino-Grace 21-20 in the state semifinals last fall, also returns three starters on defense. “They’ve got some key pieces back from state semifinal run last year,” LaBore said. “They have a good number of starters back, some of which are in key positions, from a state semifinal team, which makes them formidable right out of the gates. They’ve got some great experiences in their team having made that run. “They play a lot like White Bear Lake, a wide-open spread offense. They throw the wide receiver screens as effectively as anybody I’ve seen, period. That can open up some things for them in the run game and over the top throwing. It’s going to be a huge challenge for our outside linebackers, corners and safeties to be able to play the field left to right and short to long.” Last year marked Blaine’s 12th state tournament appearance, but first since 2010. The Bengals claimed their only state championship in 1988 to go along with four runner-up finishes (1996, 1997, 2001 and 2008). Stillwater, meanwhile, has captured four state championships (1975, 1982, 1984 and 1995) in 20 state tournament appearances, but has not qualified for state since 2006. “Blaine was really a difficult match up for Stillwater in the 80s and 90s and they unfortunately knocked us out of some pretty big games in the state playoffs and conference championship type games,” LaBore said. “That is something we’re aware of and it would be nice to tilt that the other way, but we’re most concerned with taking where we are at and making improvements at each position and each team on both sides of the ball.” Stillwater enters the season with more varsity experience on offense, but is hoping for more consistency than was on display in the scrimmages. “We have the ability to become a real good offensive team, but we’ve got a long ways to go,” LaBore said. “Our biggest focus is to give all our guys opportunities. We keep things pretty basic and want to see how our kids do in our base offense and base defense. We want to see who gets out of their stance, who brings the shoulder pads and who can tackle. We try to keep it real basic in what we’re trying to evaluate and take care of the basics in our scrimmage. Overall, it was effective in identifying areas that need improvement, areas that need surgery and a couple areas that just need some polishing.” Each of Stillwater’s first three games are at home and the program is excited about the improved game experience that will result from the many upgrades that have taken place since a year ago with a construction zone just beyond the north end zone. “Having the constant chaos of construction and eminent change became tiresome,” LaBore admitted. “Everybody is looking forward to getting back into some sort of routine and the ends have totally justified the means. We had a very impressive stadium two years ago, but now with the artificial turf surface, the entrance, permanent ticket booths, permanent concession stands and permanent bathrooms and overall aesthetics and performance of the stadium, we think we’ve got the best place to be any Friday night in Minnesota. Now it’s our job to go out there and put a football product out there that matches it.” — Stuart Groskreutz Parking enforcement Fans attending Stillwater’s season-opening football game will notice some changes from previous years with regard to the state entrance, admission area, restrooms and concession stands. Anyone parking on the backside of SAHS to the east of the stadium should be aware that no parking is allowed along the areas featuring yellow paint. The areas where parking is allowed are designated by white paint. According to SAHS Activities Director Ricky Michel, the Oak Park Heights police department indicated it will issue citations to violators in order to keep fire lanes clear of vehicles.
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Melton strong-arms Blaine past Ponies

Published September 8, 2017 at 1:39 pm 
Stillwater senior running back Mason Green follows the blocking of Thomas Flores, left, and Cody Venske, right, into the end zone for one of his three first-half touchdowns in a season-opening loss to Blaine on Thursday, Aug. 31 at Stillwater Area High School. (Gazette staff photo by Stuart Groskreutz) OAK PARK HEIGHTS — On a team with plenty of offensive threats, quarterback Connor Melton led the charge for Blaine in a runaway 53-28 football victory over Stillwater on Thursday, Aug. 31 at Stillwater Area High School. It was the season opener and the first game for the Ponies at their renovated stadium, but it was Blaine that made itself right at home while scoring on each of its first four possessions. Stillwater stayed with the Bengals in the first half, but could not keep pace with an offense that racked up 582 yards. Melton was at the center of it all while completing 17 of 25 passes for 407 yards and five touchdowns. The versatile senior, who guided Blaine to the state semifinals a year ago, also rushed for 57 yards on just eight carries. Peyton Downey made three receptions — the shortest of which went for 48 yards — for two touchdowns while Sam Browne and dangerous Byron Bynum each caught five catches for 87 yards. Bynum caught three touchdown passes and rushed for another. “They have some very special players on that team,” Ponies coach Beau LaBore said. “They have a great deal of experience and understand how to play their positions effectively. You’re not going to see players play their position in their offense better than their quarterback and their main target, Bynum.” Blaine extended its winning streak over Stillwater to seven games with a 53-28 football triumph on Thursday, Aug. 31 at Stillwater Area High School. (Gazette staff photo by Stuart Groskreutz) It was the seventh win in a row over Stillwater for the Bengals, who improved to 15-2 in the all-time series. The Ponies showed promise on offense with a balanced attack that rolled up 427 yards. Senior Mason Green rushed 23 times for 125 yards and three touchdowns while sophomore Tyler Thureson tacked on 104 yards on 18 attempts, including a 36-yard scoring scamper in the fourth quarter. Making his first start, Stillwater quarterback Mark Roettger completed 12 of 23 passes for 188 yards. There was pressure on the offense to keep pace after a 21-point opening quarter for the Bengals. Stillwater answered with three first-half touchdowns from Green, but came up short with an opportunity to tie the game just before halftime. Blaine scored in the final minute of the first quarter for a 21-14 lead and Downey scored on a 48-yard pass from Melton with 9:29 remaining in the half for a 14-point cushion. Stillwater didn’t panic and Green carried seven times on an eight-play scoring drive that also included a 41-yard pass from Roettger to Cooper Yeary. The Ponies forced a three-and-out from Blaine drove all the way down to the 2-yard line before stalling in the final seconds of the half. An illegal procedure penalty — Stillwater’s only infraction of the game — backed up the Ponies and a fourth-down pass fell incomplete with eight seconds remaining. “That was huge for us,” Bengals coach Tom Develice said of the defensive stand. Stillwater was aggressive, knowing it was also starting the second half on offense. “The good thing was we got better as the half went on,” LaBore said. “We got two stops and were a penalty away from tying it up at the half. Down 28-14 and having given up 21 points in a quarter in about three or four minutes of elapsed time, it would have been really impressive to be tied 28-28 at half, especially with such a different offensive orientation. At that time we still felt like we would have to score every series, not because our defense wasn’t improving or couldn’t get stops, but they have a very impressive offensive football team.” Blaine stopped the Ponies to start the second half and quickly drove 47 yards on six plays to increase its lead to 34-21. The Bengals didn’t waste any time as Melton hooked up with Bynum for a 19-yard touchdown just three minutes into the half. “What we said at halftime was we’ve just got to keep it simple and go back to our basics and make them defend the whole field,” Develice said. It was not the start Stillwater wanted out of the break. “Our spirits were still pretty good halftime. We were in a football game,” LaBore said. “We needed to come out and put the shoulder pads on them again but went three and out. And they scored quick, and that made it difficult.” Stillwater responded with a methodical drive on the legs of Thureson, who replaced Green after he left the game with an injury. Roettger also connected with tight end Adam Knapp for 16 yards on the drive. The drive ended when Blaine’s Luke Schoonover recovered a Stillwater fumble at the 20-yard line. It was the first of three turnovers in a span of four possessions for the Ponies. “We have to be consistent,” LaBore said. “We had a couple methodical 10-12 play drives that covered a lot of territory and then we had three-and-outs, so we have to be consistent. We have to be more disciplined.” Blaine scored after two of those turnovers and stretched its lead to 53-21 after Alex Pekula’s nine-yard touchdown run with six minutes remaining in the game. “We have a long ways to go mentally, with our discipline,” LaBore said. “We’re going to have to dig down a little deeper and be a little tougher as far as our conditioning and the rigors of football, especially on the line of scrimmage. We have to be consistent, regardless of whether we’re playing an offense that’s as explosive of theirs is.” Thureson continued his strong second half for the Ponies with a 42-yard touchdown with three minutes remaining to provide the final margin. Both defenses were porous, but Blaine took advantage of the three turnovers and forced one more punt than the Ponies did. “They’re physical,” Develice said. “That first half, I mean, we had a lot of young kids on that line on offense and defense, so we were concerned with their physicality and how our kids were going to respond. It took us a little bit to get used to it, but our kids did, and I’m very proud of them.” Stillwater lost its starting safety Anthony Alvarado to a season-ending injury in the team’s scrimmage on Aug. 26 and though LaBore doesn’t dwell on injuries and what-ifs, his absence was notable in the wake of Blaine’s numerous big plays. “Anthony is a very good young man, a very hard worker and he put in a lot of hard work to get into that position and into that spot,” the coach said. “That’s a big loss for us, but we needed to be better mentally on defense to put ourselves in position to stop a very explosive offense. “Coming into this game we knew that had a long ways to go to become the best team we could possible be, and there is a few other things that were maybe exposed here that we need to work on. The best thing that can happen is our guys come ready to work on Labor Day and we’ll get ready for a very tough opponent in East Ridge. It doesn’t get any easier so hard work is the only recipe here.” East Ridge is the two-time defending sub-district champion, but was upended by Champlin Park 34-13 in the season opener. • It was rough Week 1 for East Metro sub-district teams, which managed just one victory in seven games against North Metro opponents. Roseville was the lone winner with a 34-16 victory over Anoka. Blaine 21 7 12 13 — 53 Stillwater 14 7 0 7 — 28 Bl — Connor Melton 4 run (Goy Majiok kick) 9:35. St — Mason Green 1 run (Tyler Cullen kick) 6:07. Bl — Byron Bynum 7 pass from Melton (Majiok kick) 4:31. St — Green 4 run (Cullen kick) :59. Bl — Peyton Downey 80 pass from Melton (Majiok kick) :48. Bl — Downey 48 pass from Melton (Majiok kick) 9:29. St — Green 1 run (Cullen kick) 4:08. Bl — Bynum 19 pass from Melton (kick failed) 8:59. Bl — Bynum 2 run (pass failed) 1:15. Bl — Bynum 47 pass from Melton (kick failed) 11:08. Bl — Alex Pekula 9 run (Majiok kick) 6:10. St — Tyler Thureson 36 run (Cullen kick) 2:56. Team stats Bl St First downs 25 26 Rushes-yards 27-175 52-239 Passing yards 407 188 Total yards 582 427 Comp-Att-Int. 17-25-0 12-23-1 Fumbles/lost 1/0 5/2 Penalties/yards 4/30 1/5 Punts/avg. 3/35.0 4/32.8 Individual statistics Rushing — Bl: Alex Pekula 7-74, Connor Melton 8-57, Byron Bynum 6-38, Lucky Vang 2-5, Tim Mafe 2-3 and Carter Peterson 2-(-2); St: Mason Green 23-125, Tyler Thureson 18-104, Dylan Owen 1-6, Cooper Yeary 2-3, Mark Roettger 7-1 and Jay Haws 1-0. Passing (com-att-yds-td-int) — Bl: Connor Melton 17-25-407-5-0; St: Mark Roettger 12-23-188-0-1. Receiving — Bl: Peyton Downey 3-180, Sam Browne 5-87, Byron Bynum 5-87, Marcus Giles 1-36, Charlie Studer 2-21 and Michael Gottschalk 1-(-4); St: Cooper Yeary 3-77, Adam Knapp 4-63, Matthew McGinley 3-31 and Ryan Berg 2-17. Kickoff returns — Bl: Sam Browne 2-46; St: Matthew McGinley 2-56, Cooper Yeary 2-27, Luke Simcik 1-21, Ryan Berg 1-18 and Jake Peterson 1-17. Punt returns — Bl: none; St: Matthew McGinley 2-13. Interceptions — Bl: Troy Strand 1-0; St: none. Fumble recoveries — Bl: Luke Schoonover 1-0 and Brian Broos 1-0; St: none. Contact Stuart Groskreutz at stuart.groskreutz@ecm-inc.com Filed Under: Bayport, Lake Elmo, Oak Park Heights, Stillwater
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High school football: Stillwater rebounds with win over Mounds View

High school football: Stillwater rebounds with win over Mounds View | Ponies Football | Scoop.it
Stillwater defeated Mounds View 20-7 on Friday night in a Minnesota high school football game.
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Football Game Preview: Woodbury vs. Stillwater - MaxPreps

Football Game Preview: Woodbury vs. Stillwater - MaxPreps | Ponies Football | Scoop.it
MaxPreps News - Friday, 7:00 PM
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High school football: Week 4 predictions

High school football: Week 4 predictions | Ponies Football | Scoop.it
The Pioneer Press makes its predictions for Week 4 of the Minnesota high school football season.
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Pony Stadium progress leads into start of fall practice

Published August 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm It has been hectic around Stillwater Area High School this summer with renovations and construction taking place. With construction of the Pony Activities Center in the background, workers “sew” in lines on the new turf field at Pony Stadium on July 25. The stadium and field and practice fields, along with the new tennis courts to the east of the stadium, are expected to be ready for the start of practice for the fall sports season on Aug. 15. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz) It has been hectic around Stillwater Area High School this summer with renovations and construction taking place. With construction of the Pony Activities Center in the background, workers “sew” in lines on the new turf field at Pony Stadium on July 25. The stadium and field and practice fields, along with the new tennis courts to the east of the stadium, are expected to be ready for the start of practice for the fall sports season on Aug. 15. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz) There has been plenty of activity on the playing surfaces at Stillwater Area High School this summer, but the athletes they serve have largely been found elsewhere. Several of the on-site facility renovation and construction projects are expected to be finished when the fall sports participants report for the first day of practice on Monday, Aug. 15. “As we speak, they are just finishing the cafeteria area and hallway to the locker rooms,” SAHS Activities Director Ricky Michel said on Aug. 3. “We hope to have that finished by next week (by Aug. 12) and then we need a building occupancy permit. Once we have that, kids can come in and practice.” 8-5 spo-stadium 2The majority of the nine fall sports teams practice at SAHS, though girls’ swimming and diving calls Stillwater Junior High School home and the boys’ cross country teams also begins practice at SJHS until school begins. Adapted soccer won’t hold its first practice until Sept. 6. The football and soccer teams will be practicing and playing on new turf fields. With Stillwater becoming the latest Suburban East Conference team to make the transition, Forest Lake remains the only league school still playing home games on grass. There will be plenty of construction still taking place, most notably the Pony Activities Center, when practice begins, but Michel expects to have the necessities in place. “For football and soccer it will be business as usual,” Michel said. “Tennis is a longer walk because I’m not sure the parking will be ready during the day because that’s where construction workers will park. The tennis kids will have 100 more yards to walk, but practice will be practice and they will have 12 courts like they used to get.” One team that could be impacted is volleyball, because the air conditioning is not expected to be ready for the start of workouts. “It will be hot until Aug. 25,” Michel said. “I think from an athletic standpoint I think everything is right on where we expected, with the exception of the air conditioning, which is still within a week of what we were told. For the most part, the construction crews have been pretty accurate and with the outdoor fields we’re ahead of the game.” Michel has been dealing with the warm and dusty conditions in the activities office this summer. Traffic is been less than in past years because of the increase in on-line registrations and the filing of other forms, such as physicals. 8-5 spo-stadium 5“Last year on-line registration was 90 percent and this year we’re probably close to 99 percent,” Michel said. Parking should be available near the tennis courts when the Ponies host the eight-team McGuire Invitational on Aug. 19. Stillwater will host its first boys’ soccer game at Pony Stadium on Aug. 25, the same night the volleyball team is set to host Tartan. “I think the biggest inconvenience is parking and walking,” Michel said. “It’s going to be more walking when you go to the stadium and parking is a little farther away. Gone are the days you could park next to the stadium because that will be fenced off.” • Registration for SAHS fall sports is underway. On-line registration is encouraged, but participants can also drop off forms and payment in the activities office. Competition schedules for SAHS teams are available at www.suburbaneast.org. Additional information about each sport can be found at www.stillwater.k12.mn.us/academics-activities/athletics.
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Ponies tackle Eagan in season opener

Published September 1, 2016 at 9:39 am The Stillwater football team opens its season by traveling to Eagan on Thursday, Sept. 1. The Stillwater football team opens its season by traveling to Eagan on Thursday, Sept. 1. The same teams, but with many new faces, square off on Thursday, Sept. 1 as the Stillwater football team travels to Eagan for its season opener. The Wildcats thumped Stillwater 31-13 in last year’s opener — which was the first-ever meeting between the two programs — but much has changed since then. Eagan won just two more regular season games on the way to a 4-6 season a year ago while the Ponies bounced back nicely after dropping three of their first four games to finish with a 6-4 record. The Wildcats also enter the season under new head coach Ben Hanson, who was formerly an assistant at St. Thomas Academy. Eagan initially hired former Gophers quarterback Rickey Foggie to lead the program, but he resigned under pressure shortly thereafter as part of a chaotic offseason for the Wildcats. Rick Sutton coached Eagan, which plays in the East Metro White sub-district, the previous 10 seasons. “Many of the assistant coaches are long-time football coaches and veterans, so we anticipate that despite there being a new staff they’ll have these guys in a great place right out of the gates,” LaBore said. “It’s hard to make a lot of judgements about a team based on some scrimmages. We anticipate they’re going to be an up-tempo offense that’s going to feature a quarterback running and throwing. There’s a fair amount of mystery, so we’ve prepared for all the possibilities. They have a number of new players stepping into their defense, which was a veteran unit a year ago. There are some mysteries and that’s the nature of the first game of the year and a new coaching staff that we have very little information on.” Unlike a year ago when the Wildcats returned plenty of experience, especially on the offensive and defensive lines, both teams experienced heavy losses to graduation after last season and feature few returning starters. Eagan quarterback Gus Kluender completed 3 of 10 passes for 36 yards while also rushing 12 times for 80 yards in last year’s victory. He is a slippery runner who completed 29 of 63 passes for 351 yards in the regular season, but also ranked second on the team in rushing with 419 yards on 70 attempts (6.0 avg.) and five touchdowns. “One of the most dynamic players on the field will be quarterback Gus Kluender, who was their do-everything guy last year,” LaBore said. “He played three or four positions on offense, returned kicks and punts and was their best rusher from the quarterback position while sharing snaps. We know he’s going to be a threat to run the ball, but just as important, we need to ensure that when he drops back the ball comes out and he’s not allowed to extend the play. That’s when he has an ability to make something out of nothing and cause some problems down the field.” Senior Grayson Hosch is expected to make his first start at quarterback for the Ponies on Thursday and junior running backs Mason Green and Matt Crowell have emerged as the leaders in the backfield. The team that returns only one starter in tight end Mitch Banken from last season, though offensive lineman Logan Patzner also saw playing time. Stillwater squared off against quality competition in its scrimmage at Maple Grove on Aug. 27 and LaBore was pleased with the progress on display, which acknowledging they have plenty of room for improvement. “First of all, we want our guys to play with a higher level of intensity and we saw that from our guys, but we have to turn it up another notch to have a successful season opener,” LaBore said. The coach added he wanted to see how the team responded to adversity, which is inevitable when you’re scrimmaging against three teams (Totino-Grace, Lakeville North and Maple Grove) that qualified for the large-school state tournament a year ago, and also solidify the starters, positions and depth charts. “Fourth, we want to come out of there healthy, which we were able to do,” LaBore said. “When we look at the level of competition and how we performed, we had a good Saturday. We have a long ways to go, but we have a good foundation to build on.” Prior to the scrimmage, Stillwater had already been hit with a few injuries on defense, starting with Marcus Darby on the second day of practice. The senior was expected to contribute in the secondary, but will likely miss most of the season. The Ponies will also be short-handed without versatile linebacker Pete Hodnefield and Aidan Steeves, who LaBore called “our quarterback of the defense.” Depth is a concern for the Ponies, who featured 55 players in last year’s senior class but just 65 on this year’s entire roster. “This is the smallest team we’ve had in some time. It’s two small classes back to back,” LaBore said. “It’s not just having as much competition at some positions that has been noticeable, but not have as many players to fill particular roles — in particular, our scout teams. We’re used to have fairly large scout teams that help us prepare for what we have to accomplish, so that’s different.” — Stuart Groskreutz Area businesses, former Ponies team up to support Alumni Lunch A two-decades tradition continued on Friday, Aug. 26 as former Ponies football captain Jon Weaver of MidWestOne Bank and several other individuals and businesses provided lunch for the players following practice. The Alumni Lunch, which featured former Ponies standout Todd Butterfield speaking to the team — received assistance from D.J. Raduenz of Stillwater Motors, Andrew Warren of MidWestOne Bank, Mike Hajlo (Pepsi), Rob McGarry (McGarry-Kearney Insurance Agency), Matt Harty (M & H Insurance Agency), Kurt Warren (Action Rental), Joe and Jerry Schoenecker (Jerry’s Auto Body), Jim Bauer (Rocco’s Pizza), Mary Sue Curley (Land Title), Mark McGrath (Penfield Appraisals), Tim Safe (Pathfinders Insurance Brokers) and Jeff Skogen (Kingwood Management). SAHS football program selling Pony Cards Stillwater football Pony Cards are currently available for purchase at the SAHS Activities Office, the District #834 Office. They will also be sold at home football games. The card sales are an important fundraiser for the Stillwater football program. Pony Cards, which sell for $20 and are good for one year, offer discounts from many local businesses on things such as gas, food and haircuts. This year’s card features discounts from Acapulco Restaurant, Aloha Tan, Applebee’s, Arby’s, Brine’s Market, Bruegger’s Bagels, Carbone’s Pizza, Culvers, Dairy Queen, Dave’s Sporting Goods, Dominos Pizza, Dunn Bros Coffee, Family Cuts, Fred’s Tire, Heritage Embroidery, Holiday Station Stores, Kwik Trip, Leeann Chin, Leo’s Grill and Malt Shop, Luna Rossa, McDonald’s, Nacho Mama’s, Pony Express Carwash, Pub 112, Sport Clips, Steak Escape, Stillwater Bowl, St. Croix Cleaners, Taco Johns, Tires Plus, UPS Store, Victoriano’s Pizza and Wendy’s. Ponies game available via web streaming Because of the Green Bay Packers game on Thursday night, the Stillwater football game at Eagan will not be aired on the radio. It will be available for audio/video streaming at www.tjsportsonline.net.
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Ponies soar past Eagan in season opener

Published September 8, 2016 at 3:13 pm Stillwater receiver Fisher Jakupciak stretches to haul in a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Grayson Hosch in the second quarter of the Ponies’ 36-7 football win at Eagan on Thursday, Sept. 1. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz) Stillwater receiver Fisher Jakupciak stretches to haul in a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Grayson Hosch in the second quarter of the Ponies’ 36-7 football win at Eagan on Thursday, Sept. 1. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz) EAGAN — A stark contrast to last year’s season opener, the Stillwater football team excelled on offense, defense and special teams while cruising to a 36-7 victory in a nonconference game on Thursday, Sept. 1 at Eagan High School. The Ponies (1-0) rolled up 379 yards on offense and took advantage of five turnovers forced by the defense to quiet the Wildcats (0-1), who toppled Stillwater 31-13 in last year’s season opener. Both teams graduated the bulk of their lineup from a year ago, opening the door for several Ponies who enjoyed successful debuts. Quarterback Grayson Hosch threw two touchdowns in the second quarter and completed 8 of 17 passes for 118 yards. The Ponies were also successful on the ground, led by Mason Green’s 125 rushing yards on 22 attempts. 9-9 spo-fb F Jakupciak TD 2“A lot of people were doubting us, so getting this W definitely gets some people inspired and we’re pretty dang happy,” Hosch said. Stillwater’s first score was provided by the defense as Andrew Weisbrod tackled Eagan running back Jaden Plonski for a safety in the first quarter. The play was set up by Mason Schwerzler’s punt that was downed at the Eagan 1-yard line — one of several big plays from a defense that intercepted four passes and recovered a fumble. “When we got them down at the half-yard line, that’s what really turned the momentum,” said defensive back Austin Murr, who snagged two interceptions. “It was a big team win.” 9-9 spo-fb F Jakupciak TDIn addition to the four interceptions, Stillwater limited dangerous quarterback Gus Kluender to 41 rushing yards on nine attempts. “We have a lot of respect for that quarterback and that puts some pressure on our defense,” Ponies coach Beau LaBore said. “The fact that they were able to contain him for the most part while still doing a good job against their running backs and wide receivers is encouraging. They made some huge plays to put our offense in some great positions early in the game and throughout the first half.” The offense also did its part while taking advantage of the turnovers and strong starting field position. Hosch hooked up with Ryan Berg for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 8:41 remaining in the second quarter to provide a 9-0 lead after Tyler Cullen’s extra-point kick. Hosch also connected with Fisher Jakupciak for a 23-yard scoring play with three minutes remaining in the half to increase the lead to 16-0. Jakupciak got behind a defensive back down the left sideline and made a superb leaping catch on the play. After stalling on its first drive of the second half, Murr’s interception and 31-yard return down to the Eagan 10 set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Green for a 23-0 lead. “Our d-linemen rushed the quarterback and at least one of the throws they made to me was all them,” Murr said. “(Thomas) Bruchu’s pick they pressured him, too, so the d-linemen and the linebackers when they blitzed, we just came up with big plays.” Eagan showed signs of life after Eisley Nkwonta scored on an 8-yard touchdown run — set up by a 45-yard completion from Kluender to Jack Galles — to get on the board. Stillwater also fumbled on the ensuing possession to provide another opportunity for Eagan in Ponies’ territory. Stillwater linebacker Alex Oshin sacks Eagan quarterback Gus Kluender for a loss on Thursday, Sept. 1. Stillwater linebacker Alex Oshin sacks Eagan quarterback Gus Kluender for a loss on Thursday, Sept. 1. Murr, however, intercepted a pass on the next play and that led to another Stillwater scoring drive to put the game out of reach. Matt Crowell plunged in from two yards out to cap a drive that also included a 21-yard reception by Mitch Banken and a 19-yard gain through the air to Jakupciak. “We make a big mistake and then our defense picks up the offense there and we responded with a really nice drive,” LaBore said. “The offense and defense complemented each other pretty nicely tonight.” Stillwater’s offensive line was arguably the team’s biggest question mark coming into the season with very little experience coming back. The line played well throughout, but especially on the Ponies’ first drive of the fourth quarter. Green carried on all nine plays and only three of those rushing attempts failed to produce a first down. “It was an unreal drive,” said Hosch, who saved his greatest praise for the linemen. “They were the heart and soul of the team tonight. We’ve made unbelievable progress and we’re getting better every day. I’m really liking what I’m seeing. I’m really proud of all the boys tonight. I didn’t feel pressured at all and our running backs had great holes. That was nice to see — that’s Stillwater football.” Green gained 11 or more yards on five of six carries in succession, capped by an 11-yard touchdown with 8:27 remaining to provide a 36-7 lead. “The blocking got better as the game went on,” LaBore said. “We’ve got almost zero experience up front. The offensive line has a long ways to go, but they were able to go out there and have some Stillwater football fun tonight.” On defense, Ben Peterson led the Ponies with nine solo tackles and two assisted tackles for 20 defensive points. Graham Laubscher recorded six solo tackles to go along with an interception and Murr joined Laubscher with 17 defensive points. Hosch, for one, was not surprised to see the defense play so well. “They’re pretty dang good,” Hosch said. “Playing against them when we do (1 on 1s), it’s a pretty tough match-up because our d-backs are really good, our linebackers are solid and the d-line gets to us. They’re a great defense and it makes me much better. I think we have one of the best defenses in the conference and going up against that definitely makes me a better quarterback.” Junior running back Matt Crowell turns upfield with the ball during Stillwater’s season-opening victory at Eagan on Thursday, Sept. 1. Junior running back Matt Crowell turns upfield with the ball during Stillwater’s season-opening victory at Eagan on Thursday, Sept. 1. Schwerzler also contributed to the solid special teams play while averaging 51.7 yards on three punts. “Mason Schwerzler had a couple of bombs,” LaBore said. “He’s a very good punter and we didn’t have a great game kicking off or returning kicks, but we were the better team on punt and that put us in some really good positions and the offense and defense complemented each other pretty nicely.” There was a lot for the Ponies to feel good about, but the coach was also cautious knowing stronger opponents await. The Ponies also understand that after winning last year’s opener, Eagan won just two of its next seven in the regular season. Stillwater, meanwhile, won five of its next seven to finish in a tie for second place in the East Metro Blue sub-district standings. “We got one day to celebrate and then on to Roseville next week,” Murr said. “These guys have had a pretty steady, pretty solid first three weeks, but we have a long ways to go even just to get to next Friday,” LaBore said. “Offensively we got better and better as the game went on. We played really well on the line of scrimmage. We made some big plays and didn’t give up many big plays. For a first game, I’ll accept that.” Stillwater hosts Roseville in an East Metro Blue sub-district game on Friday, Sept. 9. It will be the first football game played on the new turf field at the stadium. • The Ponies were one of just three EMB teams to prevail in Week 1 — Mounds View and Cretin-Deram Hall were the others. Cretin-Derham Hall overcame a 14-0 halftime deficit to defeat Lakeville South and the Mustangs topped Farmington 40-27. East Ridge (L-OT 24-23, Lakeville North), Roseville (L 20-14, Burnsville), Forest Lake (L 38-3, Apple Valley), White Bear Lake (L 31-14, Rosemount) and Woodbury (L 23-8, Eastview) all suffered losses to teams from the East Metro White. Stillwater 2 14 13 7 — 36 Eagan 0 0 7 0 — 7 St — Andrew Weisbrod tackles Jaden Plonski for safety, 8:41. St — Ryan Berg 20 pass from Grayson Hosch (Tyler Cullen kick) 8:41. St — Fisher Jakupciak 23 pass from Hosch (Cullen kick) 3:24. St — Mason Green 3 run (Cullen kick) 8:18. Eag — Eisley Nkwonta 8 run (Emmanuel Alberts kick) 6:58. St — Matt Crowell 2 run (kick failed) 2:23. St — Green 11 run (Cullen kick) 8:27. Team stats St Eag First downs 22 16 Rushes-yards 52-239 42-155 Passing yards 140 129 Total yards 379 284 Comp-Att-Int. 9-18-0 10-20-4 Fumbles/lost 1/1 1/1 Penalties/yards 3/35 3/25 Punts/avg. 3/51.7 1/28.0 Individual statistics Rushing — St: Mason Green 22-125, Matt Crowell 18-58, Jackson Dunleap 6-51, Cody Venske 2-6, Grayson Hosch 4-(-1) and team 1-(-2); Eag: Tate Sundberg 9-44, Gus Kluender 9-41, Eisley Nkwonta 8-29, Jaden Plonski 9-24, Jack Galles 6-17 and Pisith Soeun 1-0. Passing (com-att-yds-td-int) — St: Grayson Hosch 8-17-118-2-0 and Matt Stanton 1-1-22-0-0; Eag: Gus Kluender 10-20-129-0-4. Receiving — St: Fisher Jakupciak 2-42, Cody Venske 3-39, Ryan Berg 2-30, Mitch Banken 1-22 and Matt Stanton 1-7; Eag: Jack Galles 2-48, Grant Weis 4-32, Jake Wilcox 2-27, Tim Yetzer 1-20 and Jaden Plonski 1-2. Kickoff returns — St: Ryan Berg 1-17 and Charlie Richman 2-7; Eag: Kayden Gage 4-82 and Tate Sundberg 1-13. Punt returns — St: none; Eag: none. Interceptions — St: Austin Murr 2-45, Thomas Bruchu 1-50 and Graham Laubscher 1-0; Eag: none. Fumble recoveries — St: Tyler Olson 1-0; Eag: Noah Hillesheim 1-0.
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Defense Pitches Shutout as Ponies top Roseville

Published September 9, 2016 at 11:15 pm Stillwater's defense limited Roseville to 237 total yards in Friday's 14-0 East Metro Blue sub-district football victory at Stillwater Area High School. (Gazette file photos by Stuart Groskreutz) Stillwater’s defense limited Roseville to 237 total yards in Friday’s 14-0 East Metro Blue sub-district football victory at Stillwater Area High School. (Gazette file photos by Stuart Groskreutz) OAK PARK HEIGHTS — Senior defensive back Ben Peterson finished with 11 solo tackles and an interception to help spearhead a strong defensive effort for the Stillwater football team in Friday’s 14-0 East Metro Blue sub-district victory over Roseville at Stillwater Area High School. Quarterback Grayson Hosch found Matt Stanton for 7- and 13-yard touchdown passes in the second quarter and the Stillwater defense did the rest. Hosch completed 12 of 16 passes for 118 yards. Ponies senior quarterback Grayson Hosch completed 12 of 16 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Ponies senior quarterback Grayson Hosch completed 12 of 16 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. The offense sputtered in the second half, however, running just 15 plays for a total of 32 yards and two first downs. The Ponies defended against 38 plays in the second half and allowed 148 yards, but kept the Raiders out of the end zone to preserve the shutout in what was the first game for Stillwater on its new artificial turf field. Mason Green rushed 18 times for 52 yards to lead the Ponies on the ground while Fisher Jakupciak hauled in four passes for 71 yards. The Raiders outgained Stillwater 237-189 in the game. Stillwater (1-0 EMB, 2-0) hosts Cretin-Derham Hall next week. Roseville fell to 0-2 on the season. In other EMB games on Friday, Forest Lake defeated White Bear Lake 20-14 to snap an on-field losing streak that dates back to the 2011 season. The Rangers were awarded forfeit victories over East Ridge in 2013 and 2014, but lost 41 in a row on the field until Friday. Cretin-Derham Hall defeated Woodbury 22-12 and East Ridge turned back Mounds View 24-14.
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Competition Grows Tougher for Ponies with C-DH Visiting

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High school football: Stillwater off and running in win over Eagan

High school football: Stillwater off and running in win over Eagan | Ponies Football | Scoop.it
Stillwater received a favorable mark in a season-opening test. Grayson Hosch threw two touchdown passes, Mason Green ran for two scores and the Ponies beat turnover-prone Eagan 36-7 Thursday night …
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