Daniel Horton Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Homecoming games by themselves are usually pretty exciting and attract a big crowed. But when you add a conference rival who is consistently at the top of the division, you can expect a hardfought game with a lot on the line. Tonight, the 2-2 Havre High football team gears up to take on last year's Class A champions Butte Central (2-2). The Ponies kick off against the Maroons at 7 at Blue Pony Stadium in the Pony homecoming game, and the first game of conference play this season. The Ponies are looking to rebound after a tough loss last Friday where they lost to Sidney 20-19 in over time, after the Ponies had a PAT kick blocked. Year in and year out, the Maroons are usually a pretty good football team, and are always good competition for the Ponies. And tonight's game should be just as competitive since both teams hold the same record at this point in the season, and since they were both picked to be at the top of their division. Last year the Blue Ponies traveled to Butte Central where they lost 26-19. But tonight the Ponies are hoping for a different turn of events. They have seen game film and scouting reports, and have worked hard all week in practice to prepare for what the Maroons have to throw at them. “Like most of the games we have played.” Havre head coach Kevin Sukut said. “I think that it’s going to take all four quarters to get the job done.” The Maroons are a quick and athletic team, which makes up for their lack of size. They spread their offense and love to throw the ball, which is easy to do since they have a good group of receivers including returning senior Casey Norbeck and Jonathan Richards, who is a receiver and running back. When throwing the ball it is important to protect your quarterback, and give him time to throw. Helping to protect sophomore quarterback Andy Ritter is offensive lineman DJ Lewis who is a towering 6-1 220 pounds. “With an offense that is a spread offense and no huddle, one of the best ways to beat them is to keep them off the field in the first place.” Sukut said. While the defensive secondary including Mike Hickman, Nate Christianson, Adam Breise, Kent Pattison and Jordan Van Voast work hard to stop the Maroons passing offense and keep them off the field, the Ponies offense will be working hard on the other side of the ball. “Our offensive lineman and running backs need to have another big night.” Sukut said. “We’re not going to change much as to how we approach a game. We’re going to still look for our runpass balanced offense.” There will be a sense of urgency on the field tonight because of how important conference play is. Both teams will be fighting for the win, and you can expect neither team to let down. The Ponies were picked to be at the top of the conference at the beginning of the season and they are ready to prove to everybody why that was. “Once you start conference play, and especially in the Central A conference anybody is capable of beating anybody else.” Sukut said. “It's really important to get started on the right foot in conference play. We’re picked at the top for a reason.” For the Ponies to come away with a win tonight, they are going to have to execute the entire game. When you have a strong player like Jack Teske out due to injury, the entire team has to step up and pick up the slack, leaving no room for error. “I think that it’s key for our seniors to step up.” Sukut said. “We have an experience edge over them and it’s an opponent standing in the way between us and a conference championship. All of our seniors need to step up and get it done.” Four games into the season, the Ponies are going to have some consistent and familiar names continue their success. On defense and offense the Ponies are near the top in many of the Central A categories. Beau Breise is third in passing averaging 116 yards per game, and 464 total yards while his main target, Christianson has caught the ball 11 times for 123 yards, and Hickman has caught the ball 14 times for 99 yards adding to the total of 504 yards. And keeping their offense balanced is Adam Briese with 31 carries for 253 yards and Jarrett McLain with 26 carries for 182 yards contributing to the 671 total rushing yards. On the defensive side of the ball, Ethan Hinebaugh leads the Ponies with 47 tackles and Paul Jensen adds 43 of his own. Jordan Haas and Van Voast also both have one interception for the Blue Ponies, while Jensen and Spencer Smith each have two fumble recoveries. Tonight, the Ponies and Maroons kick off at Blue Pony Stadium at 7 p.m. where they both put their 2-2 records on the line. The game is part of Havre High's 2008 homecoming celebration.