By George Ferguson
Fresh off their first victory of the season, Havre High head football coach Troy Purcell is hoping his team will avoid the one thing that scares all coaches: A letdown after an emotional victory.
The Ponies will be looking to guard against that letdown as they head to Browning tonight to open up the Central A conference schedule against the Browning Indians.
"We had somewhat of a sluggish week of practice," Purcell said. "I just hope the kids will get fired up and be ready once kickoff comes."
The Ponies are coming off a 32-0 thrashing of the Glendive Red Devils in which Havre got that elusive first victory of the year. That victory also ignited Havre's running game and defense as well.
The Ponies gained over 230 on the ground in that victory. Meanwhile, their defense absolutely dominated Glendive, holding them to less than 80 yards rushing and no yards passing.
"Our defense really came to play last weekend," Purcell said. "I expect another big game out of them against Browning."
Havre will look to continue running the ball for a number of reasons, according to Purcell.
"We're going to have to be able to run the ball well in Browning because I know the wind is going to be blowing hard up there," Purcell said. "Not to mention the fact that a solid running game does a lot for our passing attack."
The Browning Indians come into this contest at 1-2 on the season, which is one more win than they have had in the last five seasons.
Earlier this year, Browning snapped a 40-game losing streak when they defeated the Ronan Chiefs.
Browning is led by second-year head coach Robert Miller. Miller has a talented group of athletes that will hopefully give his team some success in the Central A Conference. Those athletes, along with the possibility of a letdown, has Purcell a little concerned coming into the contest.
"In the past, Browning has been a game you could figure to win but we're not taking them lightly at all," Purcell said. "They have a lot of good skill players and their quarterback is really athletic. He can do some good things with the football and their offense is designed around a lot of deception so we're going to really have to guard against big plays."
On the field the Indians are led by senior quarterback Kellan Hall who is 6-2, 175, as well as senior Maurice St. Goodard at wide receiver and Jonas Rides The Door at running back.
Defensively, the Indians are fairly young and inexperienced but do have a couple of big physical linebackers who bring some veteran leadership to that side of the ball.
The Ponies begin their conference schedule a little banged up as wel,l according to Purcell.
"Justin Kegel tweaked his back in practice this week," Purcell said. " And we have a couple of other key guys with some nicks and bruises but they should all be ready to go come game time."
Despite the somewhat poor week of practice, the nagging injuries, and the possibility of an emotional letdown, Purcell is glad the conference season is here.
"It is definitely a fresh start for all of us," Purcell said. "Our goal is still to win the conference championship and if we play like I think we're capable of I think that goal is definitely attainable."
The Ponies and Indians will kick things off tonight at Browning High School Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The game can be heard in Havre on 610 KOJM.