Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
After a tumultuous two weeks away from home, the Havre High football team returns to Blue Pony Stadium for it’s final nonconference game before the real bullets begin to fly next week in Butte with the start of Central A season. The Ponies have already enjoyed their fair share of ups and downs in nonconference play, with solid victories over Whitefish and Glendive sandwiched between an embarrassing 41-0 defeat at the hands of Billings Central. Tonight at 7, Havre will face its fi- nal nonconference test, as the Sidney Eagles come to town for a game that should help each team learn a lot about itself prior to conference play. “We are getting close to being where we need to be at right now,” HHS head coach Kevin Sukut said. “I think that we are there from a physical standpoint, we are finally getting completely healthy, and we just need to get there from a mental standpoint. “The biggest thing for us right now is being more finishing,” he added. “We played well at times against Glendive, but we also made some mental mistakes in the game as well and those are the things we need to get rid of. We need to start being more consistent and start playing more aggressive, and then keep it up for four quarters.” Havre thrashed the Eagles in their annual nonconference meeting last season in Sidney by the score of 42-17, so the Eagles, who are a much-improved team this year behind their patented power running game, will no doubt be out for revenge. “They were a really young team last year,” Sukut said. “But they have a very strong football tradition and they are back to being a playoff-caliber team this season, so it will definitely be a big challenge for us.” Sidney has been fairly impressive so far this season, starting the season 2-0 with a 27-14 win over Williston, N.D., followed by a narrow 28-25 win over Lewistown. Both of the Eagles' wins came at home, so their trip tonight to Blue Pony Stadium will be the team’s first road test of the season. However, the Eagles are an experienced team that brings one of the best rushing attacks in all of Class A football led by the backfield tandem of senior tailback Trent Thomas and junior fullback Bo Melby. “They run the football extremely well,” Sukut said. “They run the option really well and they also have a strong inside running game with the fullback, Melby. But they will also spread you out a little bit and mix in some play-action passes to keep you honest.” When the Eagles do decide to air it out, the ball we be in the hands of senior quarterback Allen Anderson. Anderson is a solid signal caller that is a threat to both run and pass. His favorite target in the passing game happens to be fellow senior wide out Jordan Abelseth. The Eagles are also strong in the trenches led by senior offensive/defensive lineman Kenny Linder. “They are a big physical football team,” Sukut said. “And it's probably going to come down to what team plays better in the trenches.” Leading the way for the Ponies offensively is senior quarterback Kyle Finneman, who has done well in the adjustment from running back to quarterback this season, with five touchdown passes as well as a rushing touchdown compared to just a couple of interceptions in his first three games. However, Finneman is not the Ponies' only weapon. Havre also relies heavily on scat back Loren Mack, who leads the team in total yards from scrimmage and is key contributor as both a runner and receiver. Other targets Finneman will look for in the passing game include, senior Todd Roe, who has three touchdown receptions, as well as senior Jay Darrah and juniors Mike Hickman and Nate Christanson. In the running game, a bulk of the carries will go to both Finneman and Mack, but Jordan Van Voast, Kent Pattison, Phil Sutherland and Adam Briese will also share carries for HHS. “I think that we are getting better each week offensively,” Sukut said. “Our timing is a lot better in the passing game, we just want to work on having a more balanced attack on offense. “This is a big game for us, especially at home,” Sukut added. “It would be really nice to get a win and finish off the nonconference play on a high-note, with a 3-1 record. But Sidney is a good football team so we are going to have to came out an be aggressive early and then maintain that aggressiveness for four quarters.” Tonight's game between Havre and Sidney will get under way at 7 at Blue Pony Stadium. The game can be heard locally on 610 KOJM AM.