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The 7-2 Pine Ridge Thorpes are headed to the playoffs

Halin Bad Bear and the Pine Ridge Thorpes to tangle with No. 1 Dakota Valley
Oct 23, 2017

By Rich Winter

On my trip home to South Dakota last week the first placed I stopped was in Pine Ridge. No, not to get a drink at Big Bats, but to go over and say hey to a couple of the players and to visit with coaches Sam Bravo and Corey Shangreaux. 


Noticably absent from practice that day was junior quarterback, Halin Bad Bear. Just three days before the Thorpes were supposed to play their biggest game of the year, Sturgis, Bad Bear was in Oklahoma mourning the passing of his grand-father. I asked Bad Bear today what kind of music he listens to before a game, and I guess I shouldn't have been shocked when Bad Bear threw me a curveball.


"I have a few songs listen to before the game but it's the prayer song before every game after I hear the prayer song I know it's time to battle," Bad Bear said.


It has been a remarkable season for coach Sam Bravo and the Pine Ridge Thorpes. Two years ago a lot of freshman and sophomores played, and lost, going 0-8 that season. Last year, the Thorpes went 3-8 but drew the praise of Todd County football coach, Bob Kornely who helped the Falcons reach the 11A playoffs this year. 


"We had a tight game with Pine Ridge last year and we were lucky to win that game," Kornely said. "You could see a lot of talent on that roster and figured at some point they would start winning games."


And how....Pine Ridge finished the season 7-2 with an early 8-6 loss to Bennett County and a late loss to Belle Fourche. 

Alright, so had the opportunity to visit with Bad Bear a bit via Facebook today. The son of Angel Winers and Aaron Hoof Sr. has been playing QB since his 8th grade year although he didn't initially expect he'd still be playing that position in high school.


On the Thorpes success this season - It's a great feeling. I'm happy for my team, my brothers, we all stepped up big this year and everyone played their role. After going 0-8 my freshman season and 3-5 last year I didn't know what to expect coming into this season but we have a group full of coaches who never gave up on us and kept believing...This is a great feeling.


On being proud of being a THORPE: Everytimg I walk in the gyn I look up at the Jim Thorpe picture, the banners, the plaques, the pictures of all the previous teams. Being a Thorpe has meant everything to me while growing up and watching a few of my idols come out of Pine Ridge high school and I always told myself I want to be like them and be on both the basketball and football team. Now, I'm really living my dream of being a Thorpe and playing on both their varisty football and basketball teams is a great feeling. 


Who has been TUFF on the offensive line: I can't give credit to just a few of my O-Line, I have to give it to all of them as they get it done. They open holes when we need them and make things possible. They do a good job pass blocking for me and I have to give it all to them. 


Oh the HARD-Hitting Thorpe defense: Oh man, we have some tough hitters coming from Cecil Apple, DJ Vitalis, Arthur Pulliam, Patrick Clifford, Lyle Richards, Kalup Morrison and a few others. We lost a physical player early in Trevor Pulliam...He would go against anyone and didn't care who was in front of him. 


On reaching the playoffs: It's a great feeling to be where we are. I think it's the first time in seven years that Pine Ridge is finally back in the playoffs. You really don't know losing until you go 0-8 and then to go 7-2 and going to the playoffs..WOW!


Favorite NFL team: I don't really have an NFL team I just try to watch the QB's and learn...


Favorite NBA team: Oklahoma City Thunder 


Best of wishes to the Pine Ridge football team as they travel to take on Dakota Valley. 

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