George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer is nowhere officially over, as much as people might want it to be due to the searing heat in Havre lately. But make no mistake about it, it’s football season, and proof of that fact can be found today and tomorrow as the Havre High School and Montana State University-Northern football teams get fall camp underway. The Blue Ponies began two-a-days this morning at the HHS practice field in preparation for their season-opener later this month. The Ponies will practice twice today and go full speed ahead until they take on the Whitefish Bulldogs on Aug. 25 at Blue Pony Stadium. In that game, HHS will try to win back the BNSF Trophy, a prize they lost last season at home. HHS’s biggest change this season under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Kevin Sukut will be at the quarterback position. Two-year starter and all-conference performer tanner Donovan is graduated and the Ponies will have a new man under center when they face the Bulldogs in just over two weeks. The Ponies are the defending Central A champions, going undefeated in conference play last year, and losing to Frenchtown in he quarterfinals of the Class A playoffs. Meanwhile, the Lights report to fall camp today and will hold their first official practice Saturday at 7 p.m. at the MSU-N practice field. The Lights will begin two-a-days on Sunday with sessions at 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Northern’s first full-pad session will take place on Monday at 9:30 a. m. The Lights will hold scrimmages on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 10:30 a.m. and Thursday, Aug. 23 at 6:30 p.m. MSU-N, which went 9-3 and qualified for the NAIA playoffs in 2006, will open its 2007 campaign at home against Dickinson State University on Sept. 1. Like HHS, MSU-N head coach Mark Samson will have his first fall camp with a new signalcaller. Northern graduated all-American and 2006 Frontier Conference Player of the Year Kyle Samson, and the Lights have several options at quarterback this season, including veterans Jeff Van Nest and Kelly McBryan. The Lights also brought in Idaho standout Garren Hammons, so the quarterback competition should be healthy over the next three weeks. On the other side of the coin, the Lights return one of the best defenses in all of NAIA football, and likely the most stout defensive the Frontier this season. Last year, Northern finished the season yielding less than 10 points per game, and the Lights led the league in turnover margin.