If Friday night was the last time the Havre Blue Ponies play at home this season, they sure didn’t disappoint their fans.
Against a much-improved Browning Indians’ team, the Blue Ponies ran and passed their way to 40-8 Central A Conference victory on senior night at Blue Pony Stadium.
And one of the three HHS seniors, Zach Plum, made sure his last game under the lights in Havre was a special one.
Plum scored four touchdowns and intercepted two Browning passes in the blowout victory, as he helped HHS inch one step closer to clinching a Class A playoff berth. Plum’s two INT’s gives him nine on the season, and tied him with the legendary Marc Mariani for the Blue Pony single-season record.
“It was an awesome way to end it under the lights, that’s for sure,” Plum said. “I don’t think I’ve ever played a game this good, and it feels awesome.”
Plum was running wild in the Browning secondary right from the start. After fellow senior Thurman Holdsclaw recovered an Indian fumble midway through the first quarter, Plum and freshman quarterback Dane Warp struck for the first of four times as they hooked up from 27 yards out. A Thomas Gruber two-point conversion made the score 8-0, and just two minutes later, the duo connected on a 76-yard pass play which put the Ponies ahead 14-0 at the end of the first stanza.
“What can you say about Zach Plum tonight,” HHS head coach Jason Christenson said. “He has had a great season and he had a huge game. He tied a school record tonight, and he’s in some pretty good company with Marc Mariani.”
But after just one quarter, Plum and the Ponies were just getting warmed up.
Less than three minutes into the second stanza, Plum grabbed another Warp pass and went 64 yards to the house to
put HHS in front 20-0. And it wasn’t just Havre’s passing game, or its offense which helped put a scrappy Browning team away before halftime.
Sophomore Jordan Schroeder, starting in place of junior tailback Tristan Manual, ran hard all night and really helped HHS establish the ground game.
But it was his interception return for a touchdown with two minutes until halftime which really broke Browning’s back, giving the Ponies a 26-0. Schroeder also put the Ponies on the board late in the third quarter when he scored his first varsity rushing touchdown on a 2-yard run which gave HHS an insurmountable 32-0 lead.
“It’s always unfortunate when somebody goes down and that’s what happened with Tristan Manual,” Christenson said. “But Jordan Schroeder really stepped up big for us tonight. Tristan left some big shoes to fill, and Jordan did that. I’m really happy for him.”
The Ponies tacked on one more Plum TD in the third quarter to lead 40-0, while both his INT’s came in the second half. Browning did score on a TD pass by talented quarterback Jalen Croff, but the HHS defense played much too well to allow any kind of an Indian comeback.
On the night, Plum racked up an astounding 241 yards on seven catches. Warp completed 18 passes for 365 yards, while Gruber caught six passes for 86 yards. Schroeder, in his first start, rushed for 128 yards on 11 carries, as the HHS offense rolled up 590 yards of total offense.
Defensively, The Ponies turned Browning over four times and limited the Indians to 245 total yards of offense. Shrauger, Ned Malone, Jace Billy and Schroeder all paced the Ponies in tackles.
And with a spectacular win in their regular season home finale, the Ponies (2-1, 4-4) sent their three seniors out in style. They also have a chance to finish anywhere from first to third in the Central A if they can win this Friday night in Livingston.
“Browning is a team which we’ve seen get better and better each year,” Christenson said. “So this game was by no means easy and they (Indians) came in here and played very hard. But I think we were able to play really well on defense, get some key turnovers and hit some big plays on offense and that was the difference.
“I’m very happy for our seniors that this was the way their last home game under the lights went,” he added. “All three of them, Thurman, Chet (Shrauger) and Zach Plum have really stepped up this season and I’m really proud of all three of them.”
The Ponies will close out their regular season this Friday with a showdown against the Livingston Rangers in Livingston.
Three in a row
Blue Ponies 40, Browning 8
Browning 0 0 0 6 — 6
Havre 14 12 14 0 — 27
HHS — Zach Plum 27 pass from Dane Warp (Thomas Gruber pass from Warp)
HHS — Plum 76 pass from Warp (pass failed)
HHS — Plum 64 pass from Warp (run failed)
HHS — Jordan Schroeder 36 INT return (pass failed)
HHS — Schroeder 2 run (run failed)
HHS — Plum 4 pass from warp (Kody Pribyl run)
BRO — Morgan Boggs 16 pass from Jalen Croff (Croft run).
Havre Individual Stats
Passing – Dane Warp 18-23-365
Rushing – Jordan Schroeder 11-128, Cody Pribyl 9-33, Dane Warp 3-21, Jace Billy 4-13
Receiving – Zach Plum 7-241, Thomas Gruber 6-86, Thurman Holdsclaw 2-22