Just 25 miles as the crow flies away from Husky Stadium lies the town of Holdingford. As the rest of the section turns its eyes to winter sports in gymnasiums and ice-frosted rinks, one of the last football teams standing in the area comes from this community of just over 700.
On Thursday, the Holdingford Huskers, winners of their last 10 straight games and the newly christened Section 6 champions will converge on the big stadium by the Mississippi for their first round match-up with BOLD High School out of Olivia, Minnesota. The winner punches their ticket to the Metrodome and moves a step closer to championship dreams.
Members of the Holdingford senior class were a part of teams that made 2nd round sectional exits in the last three years, an unremarkable beginning to their football story. Overall the team had been just 14-16 before this big 10-1 season that itself began inauspiciously with a loss to St. Cloud Cathedral.
Senior running back Jon Skiwra, who has rushed for an average of better than 6 yards per game in sectional play, was not around for Holdingford’s last state run in 2005. Neither was his backfield mate, senior QB Mitch Messman, who has tossed four touchdowns in sectional play. But they have helped guide their team to 10 dominating wins by an average margin of over 20 points per game. That stretch included a 34-0 trouncing of Upsala/Swanville Area High in the sectional finals.
With the offense producing nearly 28 points a game during the regular season, the Huskers made their mark on defense, holding opponents to just 9.4 points a game. The defensive unit is chock full of seniors that decided they were tired of ending their season after just a single sectional win each of the last three years. Linebacker Taylor Milbrant and defensive back Beau Maciej are some of the names that have led at the second level while Matt Supan, Logan Athmann and Kyle Kolstad have dominated the line of scrimmage.
But now, as this entire long suffering senior class continues to write the last chapter of their football tale, they have assured everyone that they will at least leave with the taste of a Central Minnesota Conference title and as Section 6 champs.
High school football pride in Central Minnesota is still alive and well … it rests in the hands of the determined and talented Holdingford Huskers.