Michael Rustad's Memories

Humboldt High School

Sports Teams

 

I was wondering whether anyone out there is interestedin doing a Humboldt Hall of Fame. There were two Humboldt Huskie footballteams that were memorable. The first team ever fielded by Humboldt was oneof the best teams in the region.

It is hazardous to recollect my memory but I believe thatthe first football team was field in 1958 or 1959. The first games wereplayed near Dennis Diamond's present residence. There was a baseball diamondout there that was converted into a football field. Our first year teamenjoyed considerable success. I remember a home game against the WilliamsWolves in which we won by a considerable margin. One of the fastest runningbacks in the area was Ronnie Clow. There were a number of other superb playerson the team including the Hughes brothers from St. Vincent. Danny Hugheswas a very hard-nosed player and I can still remember his brother Ed Hugheswho played in the line. John and David Brown also played on the teams fromthat era.

Our own high school teams in the era of 1964 to 1967 enjoyedmixed success. One of the worst teams in our school's history was the teamfielded in 1966 simply because our already thin ranks were riddled by injury.Our school's team began a turnaround in 1967 and got to be a solid teamin 1968. Larry Olsonawski, Alan Anderson, John Finney, Jay Hoglin, and therest of the class of 1968 turned out to be good players. However, the bestfootball team was in 1969 and is my candidate for one of the top teams inour town's history. The class of 1969 had a number of outstanding athletes.John Bergh, Lee Jerome, Mark Lommen, Jim "Plow" Wiese, Craig Wiese,and Brad Hemmes to name just a few.

In the class of 1970, M. Scott Clow was a top lineman.I remember coming home from UND to see Humboldt just pummel the opposition.They won most games by a wide margin. Hoople was the co-champ with Humboldtthat year and sent several players to college teams.

Humboldt basketball teams began in the late 1950s. I recallthat Willis Roberts was one of the first players for Humboldt. The bestteams in Humboldt-St. Vincent history would be in the period between 1962and 1964. We had some outstanding teams from that era. The 1962 Humboldt-St.Vincent Team was a good team with players such as: Bob Olson and Lorne Lofberg(guards); Grouch Cleem and John Isely (forwards) and Wayne "Tuna"Stewart at the center position. We also had some outstanding underclassmenwho rotated with these players: Lawrence Wilkie, Bob Giffen and others.

Our best team, however, proved to be the 1963 edition ofthe team. Bob Olson transferred to Pembina which hurt out chances. However,Bob Giffen turned out to be an able replacement. The 1963 team featuredsome smooth players who had good chemistry. John Isely was an outstandingshooter. Perhaps the best athlete on the team was Chuck Surface. Chuck excelledin all sports and was perhaps one of the best all-around athletes in schoolhistory. Lawrence Wilkie turned out to be a good steady performer in 1963.In any case, this was the team that beat nearly every team but Kennedy,which broke coach Harold Borg's heart.

I remember Harold Borg asking us to please beat Kennedybefore he left coaching. Humboldt played every team tough but lost to Kennedyin 1962 and 1963. One of my most vivid memories is that jubilation whenHumboldt scored a last minute shot to beat Kennedy. Don Brown, the score-keeper,called back the shot stating that it was after the buzzer. Our team wasalready in the lockerroom celebrating. We were called back to the floorand lost in overtime. No one ever blamed Don Brown. Don Brown had such staturein the community that if Don Brown said the shot was after the buzzer, hewas right. No one questioned the call. Don Brown was a lion of a man whocommanded true authority in our community. However, this last minute lossin 1963 to Kennedy meant that Harold Borg would never see a Humboldt teambeat Kennedy. Harold had been a coach at Kennedy before coming to Humboldtand was our coach during the "glory years."

Our Humboldt-St. Vincent team had an easy time in the sub-districtin 1963 but lost in the districts. One of the key reasons was that JohnIsely was sick with a serious bug. John wanted to play but was held outof the game by his Dad. This was not a popular decision at the time andmay have been a proximate cause to our narrow loss to Greenbush in the districts.Our team played a tremendous game without Isely but fell short. Anothergreat team from that era was the Lake Bronson Braves who had an infinitesupply of Vagles and Seles. In the early 1960s, Humboldt-St. Vincent wasa respected contender in all sports. The whole town showed up for everygame. I still remember the excitement of seeing basketball games at ourvery fine gynasium.

I hope that other readers out there will correct the recordand record other memories about Humboldt teams. After I left Humboldt, myDad, Rustee Rustad, always gave me the complete box score on every gameeven when our teams were not up to the level of the teams from 1962 to 1964.even when our teams were not up to the level of the teams from 1962 to 1964.