Daniel Horton Havre Daily News email@example.com
With the way the Havre High football team was going touchdown for touchdown with the Whitefish Bulldogs during the second half of Saturday’s game in Whitefish, it looked as if neither team had any problems settling into an offensive groove. The highlights of the Saturday’s game consisted of big plays, consistent lead changes and a dramatic comefrom- behind win that kept fans from both sides on the edge of their seats until the final seconds of the game. Late in the fourth quarter when the Blue Ponies needed a big play the most, Adam Briese stepped up to the call with a 67 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Then after a successful two-point conversion, the Ponies took a 22-19 lead which ended up being enough to get them a season-opening road victory over Class A rival Whitefish. Saturday’s game may have ended up being an offensive battle, but in the first half it was a totally different story. The half ended with the Ponies having almost no offense, and the Bulldogs up by seven points coming from a 25-yard touchdown reception by Aaron Tkachyk. “It was a sloppily played first half,” HHS head coach Kevin Sukut said. “It’s your first time out and you are not going to be in mid-season form at that point. “The game itself was a tale of two halves,” Sukut added. “The first they dominated the line of scrimmage and a t halftime we made some adjustments and that really helped. And in the second half the momentum switched around and we got things going.” When the Ponies came onto the field after halftime, it was like watching a brand new offense. They made the necessary adjustments to counter attack the run blitz and the Bulldogs stunting the linebackers, and started moving the ball down the field. The noticeable improvement started with the first drive of the second half when Havre’s Ethan Hinebauch ran the ball for a one-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7. “The offense took a major step forward by putting drives together and scoring after getting into the red zone.” Sukut said. From this point on Tkachyk was going to do anything in his power to keep the Ponies from leaving with the victory. Tkachyk returned the very next kickoff for an 81-yard touchdown giving the lead once again to his Bulldogs. But with Havre clicking on all cylinders the Ponies immediately took the lead back when Beau Briese threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kent Pattison. With no answer in sight on how to stop Tkachyk or the big plays from the Bulldogs, he once again put the team on his back and gave them the lead and the chance for the win after a 38-yard TD reception from Alex Elespuru putting the Bulldogs on top 19-14. “When you get into close games and are playing good teams you absolutely cannot give up the big play. We are a team offensively and defensively that has to play consistent. We are not explosive enough to score in a hurry.” Sukut Said. “We did yesterday, but traditionally we are going to be more of the blue collar, good field position, run, play pass team,” Sukut added. Even by the way this game was going, there probably wasn’t anybody who saw what happened next coming. Following the score that put the Bulldogs ahead, Adam Briese ran the ensuing kick return back 67 yards for a touchdown, and the lead. After the completed two point conversion it seemed that all the Ponies needed to do is stop the Bulldogs’ offense, get the ball back and run out the clock. The Ponies succeeded in stopping the Bulldogs offense, but it was running down the clock where they ran into trouble. With one minute left in the game Beau Briese threw an interception and suddenly the Ponies’ defense, who had given up big plays all day was asked to stop the Bulldogs one last time. And when a strong defense was needed the most, the Ponies came through. “When we turned the ball over with one minute to go then stepped up, handled it and got the job done, to me that was the game.” Sukut said. Havre’s offense was consistent all day. The Ponies had 379 yards of total offense, 200 passing and 179 rushing. Adam Briese led the way with 98 yards rushing. Jarret McLain added 46 yards rushing for the Ponies. Hinebauch led the HHS defense with eight solo tackles and one quarterback sack. Havre (1-0) will now prepare for its first home game. The Ponies host Billings Central on Friday night at 7 p. m. at Blue Pony Stadium.