It wasn’t a very happy homecoming for the Havre High football team.
Friday night at Blue Pony Stadium, the Central A Blue Ponies hosted the conference rival Butte Central Maroons in the Ponies' homecoming matchup. But playing the roll of spoiler, the Maroons defeated the Ponies 42-13.
Prior to Friday’s matchup the Ponies were 1-0 in conference, but now sit at 1-1. HHS is also now 3-2 overall.
“Other than what the scoreboard said I was still proud of the kids,” Havre High head coach Jason Christenson said. “One thing that we can take out of this game is that the kids continued to play hard. When you get down by that deficit it is easy to hang your heads and give up, but they kept playing hard for four quarters.
When the game first got underway the Ponies and Maroons were at a stalemate.
Neither team could score and it was a real defensive battle. But as the game progressed the Maroons began to take over, and though they went scoreless through the first quarter, the Maroons began to surge on offense as well as maintain their wall on defense.
“Havre is a young team and they are going to be a scary team next year,” Butte Central head coach Don Peoples Jr. said. “That was the biggest difference today, our kids are playing like seniors and we feel real good about getting the win over a solid football team.
“I think Havre came out with a good defensive play and caught us off guard,” Peoples said. “It took us some time to settle down.”
But the Maroon's success was also helped along by the Ponies' costly turnovers and penalties.
In the second quarter the Maroons scored right away. And to make things worse, on the Ponies ensuing drive they gave the ball away on a fumble in their own territory. On the Maroon's ensuing drive they scored again to go up 14-0.
On the Maroon's second scoring drive they were helped by a Pony Penalty. Butte Central was caught in a third-and-16 situation, but couldn’t convert. Then going for it on a fourth-and-16, the Ponies gave up a first down on a roughing the passer penalty after the Maroons threw an incomplete pass. With 3:08 left in the first half, the Maroons scored again after another Pony turnover.The Maroon's Jason Johnston picked off Justin Jensen in Pony territory. And to follow, the Maroons scored on a three-yard rush.
It was a 21-0 lead for the Maroons and they stretched it to 28-0 at the start of the third with what seemed to be well-oiled machine of an offense. With 9:07 left in the third the Ponies did find their way in to the end zone. The drive began with a 15-yard pass to Logan Connor, and ended with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Connor two plays later. HHS cut the lead to 28-6, but couldn’t get much closer.
The Maroons added another score in the third quarter and one to start the fourth to take a 42-6 lead. And though the Ponies’ Ryan Brandt added a four-yard rushing score with :56 left in the game, it was too little too late.
HHS committed six penalties for 50 total yards. And though the Maroon's penalties added up to 60 yards, the Pony miscues came at costly times and resulted in too may scores.
“We are still shooting ourselves in the foot with turnovers,” Christenson said. “But those are growing pains and we are a young team. These kids are learning every day and they are getting better.”
Jensen was 7-of-20 passing for 109 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. And Connor had three receptions for 78 yards, while Corderro Strickland had one for 18 yards and Brandt had three for 16 yards. Rushing, Ryan Brandt had six carries for 46 yards. Casey Schaub started the game, but left with and injury, but had four carries for 13 yards.
On defense, Danny Roe led with nine tackles and a sack. Brandon Smith had four tackles and a sack, and Schaub had seven tackles.
The Ponies are in action again on Friday when they travel to Browning to take on the conference rival Indians..
Butte Central 42, Ponies 13
Butte Central 0 21 14 7 — 42
Havre 0 0 6 7 — 13
BC — Jonathan Richards 11 run (Nathaniel Loomis kick)
BC — Zach Kasperick 7 run (Nathaniel Loomis kick)
BC — Zach Kasperick 3 run (Nathaniel Loomis kick)
BC — Zach Kasprick 11 run (Nathaniel Loomis kick)
HAV — Logan Connors 45 pass from Justin Jensen (kick failed)
BC — Phil Antonioli 66 pass from J. Richards (Nathaniel Loomis kick)
BC — Andy Ritter 5 run (Nathaniel Loomis kick)
HAV — Ryan Brandt 4 run (Danny Roe kick)
Havre Individual Statistics
Rushing — Havre, Ryan Brandt 6-46, Casey Schaub 4-13
Passing — Justin Jensen 7-20-109.
Receiving — Havre - Connors 3-78, Conderro Strickland 1-18,.