Daniel Horton Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
In talking to the seniors of the Havre High football team, it is very apparent that the reason for such a successful program is due to the importance of a team concept which has been heavily distilled in it’s athletes. Friday night may be just another football game for most fans and players, but for a select few, Friday night marks the last time the HHS seniors will play a regular season game as a Blue Pony at home. And if by some mishap they miss out on the playoffs, it may very well be their last-ever home game as a Pony football player. But in a time when the spotlight is brightly, and rightly shining on the 14 Blue Pony seniors, they can’t help but stay focused on team goals. Last home game or not, all minds are still set on the big picture, the playoffs. “Being a Havre Blue Pony is a pretty big deal.” Havre High senior, Kent Pattison said. “We always want to perform for our home crowd. And we definitely need to get a win here so we will be on the right track for playoffs. If everybody puts out and goes 110 percent we should get a win. Hopefully everybody shows up to play.” Pattison is joined by a slew of other seniors, anxiously awaiting their next game. Joining him is C.J. Evans, Jacob Ulgenes, John Perrodin, Damon Anderson, Jacob Lillevedt, Nick Chagnon, Jim Beemer, Mitch Schnittgen, Will DeVries, Spencer Smith, Colter Lairy, Layne Waid and Jake Myers. Housing 14 seniors on the roster has its pros and cons for the coaching staff. Especially in this case, where each and every athlete has played an important role in the Ponies' success over the years. Not everybody gets they playing time they might like, but have accepted their leadership roles and always put forth the effort needed in practice and in game situations. “Chemistry is a big thing,” Havre High head coach Kevin Sukut said. “And I think that guys have accepted their roles. Anytime you are in a team situation, not everybody is going to start. Everybody has to accept what they do, and up to this point I think everybody has done a good job with that.” “I have been proud of them,” Sukut added of this year's senior class. “Everything we have done they have busted their butts and have been a really good group to work with.” DeVries is an anchor on the Blue Pony football field, and has been so since becoming a Pony four years ago. And playing on the offensive and defensive lines, DeVries doesn’t always get the credit he and the other lineman deserve. But just like the others, walking away from Blue Pony Stadium is going to be one of the best, yet tougher things in their high school careers. “We (lineman) just do our jobs so the rest of the team can do theirs,” DeVries said. “They have prettier faces than us anyways. It’s going to be sad right away, but when one door closes a couple more always open. But it’s going to also be nice to move on.” “It’s going to be hard walking off,” Pattison added. “I love Blue Pony Stadium and wanted to play ever since I was a kid, now it’s hard to believe the time is here and all of those little kids are looking up to us. I was in their situation 10 years ago and I loved watching the Ponies play, now I just want to do my best and I know everybody else will do their best as well.” Even with the emotion of playing their last home game, the seniors are still focused on winning and advancing to the playoffs. And as leaders of the team they played a big part in the goal setting in the offseason. Every senior wants to perform for the home crowd one last time. They want to walk off the field with their heads held high, and after a good performance. But more than anything they want to walk off the field knowing they gave their team the best chance of a post season berth by taking care of another conference opponent. The Ponies found their way into the playoffs a year ago, but aren’t satisfied. Especially the seniors, who want to advance past the second round, a barricade they have faced two years in a row. “They are prepared for the next step,” Sukut said. “In regards to not being satisfied with just getting into the playoffs. They want to take care of the unfinished business that is there, we want to take it to the next level and I think this group of kids understand that and are hungry for that.” On Friday night, the HHS seniors and the rest of the Ponies will face off against the Livingston Rangers. It is a much-anticipated game, and it has been made very clear that it holds more value than just the last home game for the seniors. “It’s huge,” DeVries said. “It’s our last time under the lights in Havre really, playoffs are in the afternoon and it’s just our last time to shine under the lights. We’ve been Blue Ponies all of our lives, and it’s has just been a dream of ours to play out there. Extending our season as long as we can is what we are trying to do. Hopefully we can sneak a couple of playoff wins under our belts, we have been stopped in the second round the past couple of years, but hopefully we can get past that."