By Kim Staudinger
The Havre Blue Ponies wanted to end their disappointing season on a positive note. They did Friday night, rolling to an easy victory over the Browning Indians 61-6 at Blue Pony Stadium.
They finished the season 5-3, including 2-3 in the conference, while Browning was 0-8.
Nearly halfway through the first quarter, the Ponies' Levi Briese opened the scoring barrage with a 29-yard touchdown run.
Eleven seconds later, Briese recovered a fumbled kickoff return in the end zone, giving Havre a quick 14-0 lead.
"The kids did a good job," assistant coach Richard Vasquez said. "They jumped on them early and special teams had a big turnover on the kickoff."
Just over two minutes later, sophomore Daine Solomon recovered another Browning fumble, leading to a one-yard touchdown run by Steve Harman.
Browning's only score of the game came with 1:27 remaining in the first quarter on a 43-yard pass from Marc White to Maurice St. Goddard. Browning opted to go for a two-point conversion, but it failed, leaving the score at 21-6.
Havre junior Steve Heberly returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to give Havre its fourth score of the first quarter. Junior quarterback Justin Kegel ran the ball in for the two-point conversion, giving Havre a commanding 29-6 lead.
The Ponies' attack continued in the second quarter, scoring three touchdowns, highlighted by a Chaz Hurlbert 25-yard pass to freshman Tony Ricci with 5:02 remaining in the half.
"Chaz did an excellent job for us," Vasquez said.
Havre's two other scores came on a five-yard run by Briese and a one-yard run by Harman.
Havre's first-half dominance led to the enforcement of the mercy rule, which is put into play after a team is ahead by 35 or more points and calls for continuous running of the clock.
"It was excellent," Vasquez said about the big lead. "Pretty much from the second quarter on, we were able to play our JV team and we got some freshmen in there, too. We were hoping to get them some experience and they really stepped it up. We were proud of them."
The Ponies scored twice in the second half, one on a one-yard run by Chad Zuelke in the third quarter and the other on an end-around play by Kevin Velk from the two-yard line.
The game marked the end of the season for the Ponies, but more importantly, the end of the high school football careers for the 12 seniors on the team.
"It was a good feeling on the sidelines with the seniors," Vasquez said. "We called a timeout and then took them out of the game so they could get the recognition they deserved. It was nice, too, because we were able to talk to each one of them and congratulate them."