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Hays/Lodge Pole Football: Thunderbirds inspired, attend summer camps and hit the weight room


August 28, 2019

The Hays/Lodge Pole Thunderbirds started fall camp light years ahead of where they have been in the past. The Thunderbirds are again led by Head Coach Josh Werk. This is the third season at the helm for Werk and he and his staff have been putting in the work to get this team ready for week one. “Our team has put in a lot of off season work in the weight room. I was able to take some of our lineman to big man camps at Rocky and MSU Bozeman,” said Werk.

One huge addition to the staff has been the hiring of Werk’s cousin Jerry Racine as an Assistant Coach. Racine may be known to many for his time as the Head Football Coach in Browning where he and his staff brought the Indians’ 30 game losing streak to an end and then took them to the Class A Division State playoffs.

Werk is very aware of what Coach Racine brings to the table, “Jerry was able to bring in some college players from around the state to Hays/Lodge Pole to help host our very first Thunderbird football camp. Jerry’s passion for football has been a welcomed addition to the program. He brings tons of knowledge of the game and strength training. We are glad to have him.”

The Thunderbirds are a balanced group of veterans and newcomers, “As far as the team goes, we have a mixed group. We’ve got an all senior Offensive and Defensive line. Mikkel Main, Ethan Werk, and Randall Werk are all returning starters from last year, said Werk.

As far as the play-makers go, Werk likes what his team has to offer, “In our skill positions we have a group of really athletic sophomores and freshman. Deshon Shambo started some for us as a freshman and will carry the ball for us a lot this year as well as playing some corner back on defense.”

Werk has a pretty good feeling who will lead the offense onto the field to start week one, “Tyshawn Shambo is a sophomore and started a few games for us a season ago. He played a ton of minutes for us last year until he injured his foot. Tyshawn is looking like he may be our quarterback as well as playing linebacker while the defense is on the field. Estevan Granados is a sophomore that saw a lot of minutes last season and will play receiver for us.”

Coach Werk is optimistic about the upcoming season. His team has really started to by into the program and he realizes success takes time, “I feel like although we have young guys and we are in a building year that we will still have some success. These kids put in a lot of off season work. Based on the first week of practice, things look promising. We believe we can win and make a run at the playoffs if we continue the hard work and to believe in ourselves.

The program has faced some tough times recently but Werk is hoping things are about to change, “Football at Hays/Lodge Pole hasn’t had much success in years past and we’d like to change the culture around it and build a successful program. I believe we are headed in the right direction.”

The Thunderbirds will find out where they are at in their progression towards turning that culture around when they take the field in Rock Boy for their season opener on Saturday, August 31. Kick off is scheduled for 1:00 against the Northern Stars. Hays/Lodge Pole will again be on the road the following week when they head to Fort Benton to challenge the Longhorns on Friday, September 6 with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m.

Hays/Lodge Pole will make it’s home debut on Saturday, September 14, when they welcome the Shelby Coyotes to town. The Thunderbirds will remain home for the three weeks. On Saturday, September 21, the Simms Tigers will be in town. The following week the Thunderbirds will be hosting the Rocky Boy Northern Stars for Homecoming on Saturday, September 28. The home stand will conclude the Centerville Miners visiting on Saturday, October 5 for Senior Night. Kickoff for all four contests is set for 1:00 p.m.

The Thunderbirds will conclude their regular season schedule with a road trip to Chinook on Friday, October 11 to take on the Sugarbeeters at 7:00 p.m. The first round of the Northern C Seeded playoffs will be the following week with the Class C State Football Tournament getting underway on Saturday, November 2.


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