Winding down the regular season, the Havre High football team was in control of its own destiny. And keeping their hopes of a conference championship alive, the Blue Ponies continued to take care of business.
Playing on the road, the Central A Ponies defeated the conference rival Browning Indians 66-14 in Browning Friday night. It was one of the more dominating wins of the season for the hi-octane Ponies, as they improved to 5-3 overall and 3-0 in the conference.
The win over Browning keeps the Ponies tied with the Livingston Rangers for the No. 1 team in the Central A, both with flawless records. And the conference title will come down to Friday’s game in Havre when the Ponies host the Rangers.
“It is always important to travel and get a win in the fashion that we did,” Havre High head coach Jason Christenson said. “We played well and not to take anything away from Browning, some teams may look past them with a big game coming up. And our kids knew in the back of their minds that the conference championship was on the line, but stayed focused and played well and most importantly got the win.”
And the Blue Ponies were explosive and dominant on both sides of the ball.
On offense, the Ponies turned a 16-6 first-quarter lead into a 52-point dismantling of the Indians. HHS put up 36 points in the second quarter, eight in the third and six in the fourth on route to the road win.
Ryan Brandt was once again a huge part of the offense, scoring two times in the air and once on the ground. Brandt reeled in scoring passes from Justin Jensen from 16 and nine yards out and rushed for a score from five- ards out. Brandt finished the game with 10 carries for 73 yards and four catches for 104 yards.
Jensen also connected with Zach Plum on a four-yard TD score and Thurman Holdsclaw on a 31-yard score. Jensen finished the game with 8-of-21 passes completed for a total of 157 yards and just one interception. Plum had two catches for 15 yards and Holdsclaw finished with the one catch and score.
On the ground, the Ponies also saw major input from Casey Schaub. Schaub ran the ball 20 times and racked up 204 yards and three touchdowns. Schaub scored on a one-yard carry, a two-yard carry and a nine-yard carry. Eli Hinebauch also scored on a nine-yard carry for the Ponies.
The Defense was just as explosive for the Ponies, holding the Indians to just two scores. HHS also held the Browning running game to 120 yards on 34 carries and the Browning passing game to just 98 yards on 13 attempts. The Indians’ offense totaled just 218 yards in the loss.
Schaub led the defense with 17 tackles, five for a loss, while Hinebauch also added 10 tackles. Holdsclaw also had seven tackles and one sack while Evan Flathers totaled six tackles and one sack. Kameron Pribyl added six tackles and Donny Lohman added five, while Tyrell Pierce had a fumble recovery and a sack and Thomas Gruber had an interception. Triston Manuel also had an interception for the Ponies.
The consistency the Ponies showed this weekend was very important. The end of the regular season is upon the Ponies, with just one game remaining, and they have played very well leading up to the post season. Both the offense and defense continues to grow and improve, and that is exactly what Christenson was looking for this weekend.
“That is very important,” Christenson said. “You want to see your kids performing at their best later in the season and keep improving. For the most part our kids have done that and if they keep improving and learning from their mistakes, we should be peaking at the right time. That is very important carrying into the playoffs.”
On Friday the Ponies will get back to action in their final game of the regular season. Sitting at 5-3 overall and 3-0 in league play, the Ponies will host Livingston, also 3-0 in conference. The game will determine the Central A championship.
Ponies 66, Browning 14
Browning 6 0 0 8 — 14
Havre 16 36 8 6 — 66
HAV — Casey Schaub 1 run (Brandon Smith pass from Justin Jensen)
BRO — George Hall 14 pass from Jalen Croff (kick blocked)
HAV — Ryan Brandt 16 pass from Jensen (Brandt run)
HAV — Zach Plum 4 pass from Jensen (pass failed)
HAV — Schaub 2 run (Schaub run)
HAV — Schaub 9 run (Brandt run)
HAV — Brandt 5 run (pass failed)
HAV — Brandt 9 pass from Jensen (Schaub run)
HAV — Thurmon Holdsclaw 31 pass from Jensen (Brandt run)
HAV — Eli Hinebauch 9 run (pass failed)
BRO — Dontrell Spoonhunter 36 pass from Croff (Robert Thomas run)
Havre Individual Statistics
Rushing — Casey Schaub 20-204, Ryan Brandt 10-73, Justin Jensen 1-20, Eli Hinebauch 1-9, Tristan Manuel 5-34
Passing — Justin Jensen 8-21-157
Receiving — Ryan Brandt 4-104, Thurman Holdsclaw 1-31, Zach Plum 2-15.