There were a lot of big individual performances in Friday night’s football game here in Havre. The Blue Ponies hit the tundra and saw standout play from top to bottom of both the offensive and defensive lineups. But most importantly, the individual performances came together for the greater cause.
Friday night’s 54-28 stomping of the Livingston Rangers was just what the Central A Blue Ponies needed as they prepare for the postseason. HHS improved to 4-0 in the conference and grabbed a No. 1 seed, something that has eluded them for over three years.
“This was pretty big for us,” Ponies’ senior tight end defensive end Brandon Smith said. “With this win hopefully we sent out a message to the rest of the state that we are here to play.”
This Blue Pony squad has played well all season. They stumbled through an extremely challenging nonconference schedule, but those games only made the Ponies better, a Pony team that ended the year on a five-game winning streak.
And it wasn’t just this game that the Ponies were able to grab big wins in. In the stretch of the last five games, four of which were conference, the Ponies' offense scored an average of 48 points per game. And on Friday, it was business as usual, as Justin Jensen, Brayden Grimson, Ryan Brandt and Casey Schaub continued to make a case for being fourof the top offensive players in the state. The four seniors combined for a hand in all eight of Havre’s scores against the Rangers.
But the Havre defense is second to none as well. They continued to keep the opposing offense at bay, and have held the opposition to just an average of 19 points per game over the last five wins. Senior Eli Hinebauch is a big-time linebacker for the Ponies and has been a huge factor not only on Friday, but all season long as well. And while he was extatic over the win on Friday, he is already focused on what is more important, the much needed bye week and the automatic bid into the second round.
“It felt good to get the win in a dominating way like we did,” Hinebauch said. “But the best part is now we get a week to recuperate and work our butts off for the second round. This will just give us on opportunity to get the quarterfinals and get a win.”
Senior defensive lineman Evan Flathers was also focused on the next game already. And with the big win on Friday, he recognized the effort it took to capture their goal.
“We just wanted this first round bye,” senior Evan Flathers said. “This conference championship means everything to us, it is what we wanted all year long. Now we just have to step it up and move onto the next round. Now that we have the championship under our belts, hopefully we can keep dominating.”
The Ponies get the bye week and also host a second-round Class A playoff game Nov. 5.