Daniel Horton Havre Daily News email@example.com
Over the years the BNSF traveling trophy has become a great tradition and symbol in Havre High School football. Each year the Havre High Blue Ponies clash with growing non-conference rivals Whitefish. Saturday the Ponies make the long bus ride to Whitefish where they will hopefully defend the BNSF trophy and bragging rights, which they reclaimed last year in a home win by the score of 21-13. Before last year the Bulldogs had possession of the trophy for two consecutive years. The Ponies and Bulldogs kick off their season at 2 p.m. in Whitefish. Although this is the first game of the season for both programs, there is a lot of pride and respect between the teams. Nobody is taking Saturday's game lightly. In past meetings the games have proven to be hard fought, physical and mostly decided by no more than a touchdown. “This is the first game of the year. It’s important to establish that first step of the season. You use it as a gage to kind of see where you are at and what you are capable of.” HHS head coach Kevin Sukut said. “You want to get the season going off on the right foot.” When looking at both of the teams on paper, both look like pretty equal programs. Last year they both lost key players due to graduation, but they also brought back some talented varsity players. It looks like the winner of Saturday's game will come down to who wants it more. “When you get into those situations it's going to be who makes the fewest mistakes, who is in better shape and who executes better that is going to win.” Sukut Said. Since the Ponies have such an equal opponent for their season opener, they have very little room for mistakes and errors. That is why the Ponies have been working so hard in the off-season to improve red zone performance and consistency. The Ponies have a strong and deep roster that enables them to keep rotating guys in at the quarterback, tailback, fullback and tight end positions. This gives them more offensive weapons to finish drives in the red zone and to also stay consistent. “You get to the point where you want to be consistent, whatever way it shapes out you want consistency and I think when you rotate that’s the number one thing is that you maintain that consistency.” Sukut said. The Ponies will go with Jordan Van Voast and Beau Briese at quarterback and they return key players like running backs Adam Briese and Kent Pattison, as well as fullback Jarrett McLain and transfer running back/linebacker Brock Picard. Wide receivers Nate Christianson and Mike Hickman are also back on offense and the stingy HHS defense is paced by Ethan Hinebauch and Curtis Shandorf. Underclassmen will also step up and play a key role in HHS's success and depth this season. Last year the Ponies had a rough season. They ended the season with a tough loss to rival Lewistown , and their overall record slipped to 4-4 causing them to miss the playoffs. This year the Ponies are looking to come out strong and emerge as one of the top teams in the Central A Conference. Sukut and the Ponies have been working hard in the off-season and when game time rolls around Saturday against Whitefish, they will be ready. “Its not any different any season, we want to win the conference.” Sukut said. Saturday's nonconference game between HHS and Whitefish will get under way at 2 p.m.