By Harvey Brock
The Laurel Locomotives celebrated homecoming by ambushing the Havre Blue Ponies 40-27 Friday night. Using a no-huddle shotgun offense, Laurel scored the first four touchdowns of the night and then withstood a furious Blue Pony rally for the victory.
Unveiling the no-huddle offense for the first time of the season, Laurel football coach Bob Connors' team caught Havre off-guard.
"That drive from Havre to Laurel is a real trip, a 260-mile bus drive all on two-lane that takes forever. We made it last year and I thought our team was really flat at the start and we lost 28-14," Connors said. "I thought the no-huddle offense could give us a chance to catch them flat, and I think it did."
Junior quarterback Jeff Fisher orchestrated the hurry-up offense and the Locomotives rushed for 319 yards. They gained 479 total yards.
"Fisher just killed us," Havre coach Troy Purcell said. "I never thought they could run like that on us. Our defensive ends couldn't contain them, and due to injuries we had to play without two starting defensive backs. I never would have believed that they could score 40 points on us. I can't believe that was a 0 and 3 team, Well, they're not 0 and 3 anymore."
Using the no-huddle offense, Laurel took the opening kickoff and scored its first touchdown with less than three minutes gone in the game. Fisher ran the ball in from 18 yards out. Fisher then completed a pass to wide receiver Matt Rosales for the two-point conversion.
Havre could only muster a single first down, and punted the ball back to the Locomotives. Beginning on its own 20-yard line, Laurel marched down the field and scored on a 25-yard quarterback keeper on the 11th play of the drive. The extra point try was no good.
Laurel recovered the ball on the 8 yard line after Dan Wirtzberger thought the kickoff rolled out of bounds. Junior safety Justin Kegel's end zone interception ended the quarter.
Havre fumbled away the ball to end a promising drive, and junior fullback Heston Robertus's 48-yard run set up a 1-yard quarterback sneak for Laurel's third touchdown. The extra point try was no good.
Laurel recovered an on-side kick, but junior defensive back Steve Heberly's interception stopped the Locomotive's drive. Forcing the Ponies to punt, the Locomotives needed only four plays to score their fourth touchdown of the day on a 25-yard run by quarterback Fisher. Fisher's successful two-point conversion run made the score 28-0.
Havre responded by scoring on only four plays. Senior quarterback Wirtzberger passed 11 yards to junior running back Levi Briese. The extra point kick was no good.
Blue Pony senior linebacker Jacob Szudera intercepted a Fisher pass on the second play from scrimmage and Havre needed only two Kevin Harada runs to score its second touchdown. Wirzberger's two-point conversion pass fell incomplete. The teams traded interceptions to end the half.
Havre took the opening kickoff and drove 66 yards on 16 plays to score. Wirtzberger passed to Heberly for a 38-yard touchdown. Junior receiver Bobby Bergren caught a two-point conversion pass to pull the Ponies within eight points.
Laurel responded with a five-play touchdown drive capped off by another touchdown run by Fisher. The extra point kick was no good.
The Locomotives held Havre again and scored their final touchdown of the day on a 21-yard pass from Fisher to senior wide receiver Randy Mayes. The extra point kick was no good.
Following the kickoff, Wirtzberger connected with streaking wideout Heberly for a 48-yard touchdown completion on the first play from scrimmage. The extra point kick was good.
The Locomotive defense stiffened and kept Havre out of the end zone the rest of the way for the 40-27 victory.