The consistency needed to find success on the football field still eludes the Havre High football team, and the result was another tough loss in the Blue Ponies' second week of the regular season.
On Friday night, the loss came at home, a 61-19 loss to the Butte Central Maroons at Blue Pony Stadium. With the loss the Central A Ponies open the season with a 0-2 record overall. The Maroons overcame a week one loss to improve to 1-1 overall.
With a young squad, it is expected the Ponies will experience some lumps this season. But as long as the Ponies keep improving, at least the lumps will be all for not.
“We did improved from last week (loss at Whitefish),” Havre High head coach Jason Christenson said. “And I know the scoreboard doesn’t indicate that, but I thought we really did. We got some picks, we got some turnovers, and we played a very talented Butte Central team. They are big, physical, and very talented, and we played hard. Everybody played the best they could and gave it there all, and that is all I can ask for.
“A lot of these kids don’t have a lot of game experience,” Christenson added. “Playing these games and playing in game speed, we will continue to get better. These are good teams we are facing and we are gaining confidence. With practice reps and game reps, we will get better.”
And the Ponies are hoping to improve fast, as they can’t afford to keep giving up these kinds of numbers to the opposition.
The Maroons racked up 22 first downs, while also totaling 250 passing yards and 274 rushing yards. They also scored nine touchdowns as they downed the Ponies’ efforts. Senior running back Joe Joyce had a career night, rushing for three touchdowns and racking up 148 yards on 22 carries. Quarterback Brady Tippett also rushed for an 18-yard score, then went on to throw touchdowns to three different receivers. Tippett finished 15-for-20 pass, and also rushed for 59 yards. Kale Guldseth, Kaemen Richards and Connor McGree all caught touchdowns passess, while McGree led the Maroons receivers with six catches for 148 yards. Dan Peoples also rushed for a touchdown in the final frame for the Maroons.
“Last weekend, out of our 94 plays we called 66 passing plays,” Butte Central head coach Don Peoples said. “We were committed to getting the running game going and our offensive line did a great job moving the ball for us.
Attempting to lead the HHS defense, Jordan Schroeder had 14 tackles, while Chet Shrauger had nine tackles and an interception. Thomas Gruber had five tackles an interception as well.
“We were disappointed last week, so we came in and had a tough week of practice,” Peoples added, “We had a ton of scoring opportunities and defensive breakdowns last week, but our kids wanted to come out tonight (Friday) and get that sour taste out of our mouth. We did great offensively, and other a few breakdowns with Holdsclaw, who is a great player, I think our defense did a good job overall too.”
The Havre offense wasn’t as potent, as the Ponies scored one TD in the second quarter, and two in the third.
The Blue Pony offense did have 323 passing yards, but totaled just 62 yards on the ground. After trailing 26-0, the Ponies got on the board with 2:49 to play in the first half. Thurman Holdsclaw scored on a 32 yard pass from Dane Warp. And in the second quarter, Zach Plum reeled in a 17 yard pass from Holdsclaw, while Warp tossed an 82 yard score to Plum, as the Ponies trailed 40-19 with the fourth quarter still to play.
Warp finished the night with 302 passing yards on a 15-of-24 outing. He also had two touchdowns and one interception. Holdsclaw was 1-of-1 with TD. And on the receiving end, Holdsclaw also caught eight passes for 172 yards, while Plum reeled in five passes for 119 yards. On the ground, Tristan Manuel racked up 40 yards on five carries, and Gunnar Aageson totaled 22 yards on three carries.
The Ponies are still looking for improvement, and still looking for consistency. The offense showed big play capability again, while the defense also made some big plays. The key moving forward is the piece it all together, and to put the complete package together for a win.
“It is just fundamentals,” Christenson said. “And we have to keep teaching the fundamentals. Each week we are getting better, and (for example) Ned Malone was in good position (on a long Butte Central touchdown pass), but he didn’t quite have his hands right. He knows he has good position, and now we just need to take the next progression and teach the little things. Once they all get the little things down, we will be ok.”
Now 0-2, the Ponies will be back in action on Friday, when they continue non-conference play and face Miles City on the road.
Ponies are now 0-2; Up next: At Miles City Friday
Bute Central 61, Blue Ponies 19
Butte Central 14 12 14 21 — 61
Havre 0 7 12 0 — 19
BC — Joe Joyce 5 run (Dan Peoples kick)
BC — Brady Tippett 18 run (Dan Peoples kick)
BC — Kale Guldseth 22 pass from Brady Tippett (kick failed)
BC — Joe Joyce 2 run (run failed)
HAV — Thurman Holdsclaw 32 pass from Dane Warp (Christiansen kick)
BC — Joe Joyce 4 run (Peoples kick)
HAV — Zach Plum 17 pass from Thurman Holdsclaw (kick failed)
BC — Connor McGree 69 pass from Brady Tippett (Dan Peoples kick)
HAV — Zach Plum 82 pass from Dane Warp (kick failed)
BC — Kaemen Richards 12 pass from Brady Tippett (Dan Peoples kick)
BC — Joe Joyce 2 run (Dan Peoples kick)
BC — Dan Peoples 8 run (Dan Peoples kick)
Butte Central Statistics
Passing – Brady Tippett 15-20-242.
Rushing – Brady Tippett 9-59, Joe Joyce 22-148, Kaemen Richards 2-42, Dan Peoples 4-19.
Receiving – Connor McGree 6-148, Kale Guldseth 3-49, Kaemen Richards 1-12, Wyatt Kingston 3-45.
Passing – Dane Warp 15-24-301, Thurman Holdsclaw 1-1-0-17
Rushing –Tristan Manuel 5-40, Gunner Aageson 3-22.
Receiving – Zack Plum 5-119, Holdsclaw 8-172, Thomas Gruber 3-26.