When suffering back-to-back losses like the defending Central A champion Havre High football team has, it is always important to focus on the positives.
Team moral is still high, and the work ethic is there. And while the Blue Ponies are coming off of their second straight devast
ating loss, the hometown fans did get the chance to at least see a glimpse of what the offense is capable of. HHS had one of the most dangerous offenses in the state a year ago, and that is a tough act to follow. But this years’ squad did show they have an explosive streak of their own, and could prove to be dangerous down the road, if they can put together a consistent outing.
Friday at the Blue Pony stadium in Havre, the Butte Central Maroons defeated the Ponies in their home debut 61-19. The Ponies are off to an 0-2 start, but it’s hard not to remain optimistic, especially when the HHS offense can still erupt for big time plays.
“Coach (Danny) Wirtzberger does a good job of putting (quarterback) Dane Warp in a position to be successful,” Havre High head coach Jason Christenson said. “He coaches the offense well, and (Warp) is starting to realize his potential, how to execute, and what is going to make him and the rest of the offense successful. We are making big plays and that is what we need to do.”
Friday night the Ponies didn’t put a lot of points on the board, but they did manage to add some solid yards, especially through the air. The Ponies passed for 323 total yards, but rushed for just 62. And despite the lack of balance HHS strives for, a good chunk of those yards came on big plays.
Throughout the loss, the Ponies’ offense did have 13 plays that went for at least 10 yards or more. The biggest play of the night was an 82-yard TD pass from Warp to Plum in the third quarter, but Plum also scored on a 17-yard pass from Holdsclaw. Holdsclaw’s score came on a 32-yard pass from Warp for another explosive play. Holdsclaw the majority of the big plays, also reeling in a 30-yard pass, a 24-yard pass, a 19-yard pass, a 17-yard pass, and a 10-yard pass, all from Warp. But Thomas Gruber also caught a 23-yard pass, while Tristan Manuel had rushes for 12 and 11-yard gains, and Gunnar Aageson busted off a 10-yard gain on the ground.
Manuel also had a screen pass go for a 55-yard gain early in the game, but it was all for not, as the play was brought back on an offensive holding penalty.
Inconsistency is the Ponies biggest foe right now.
Warp was sacked nearly half a dozen times, and the offense punted another six times. Warp also threw his third interception of the season, while the offense attempted to keep pace. One series the Ponies could drive a truck through the hole the offensive line opened up, and the next series could be a three and out with negative yardage. Offensive linemen Dustin Odegard, Travis Adams, Ruben Stewart, Tyler Adams and Rocky Kuhr are a talented group, but they aren’t to the level Christenson knows they can play at just yet. Odegard is the only senior, while, Travis Adams is a freshman, Stewart and Kuhr are sophomores, and Tyler Adams is a junior.
“They need reps,” Christenson said. “Teams like Butte Central have big, physical kids, and we are young and still learning our blocking concepts. Once we figure those out, and the kids start to believe they can block and hold their own, then they will gain confidence and do a better job.”
Havre High will get more reps this week in practice, and again on Friday night as they travel to Miles City.