By George Ferguson
The Havre High football team's drive to a Central A conference championship hit a major roadblock on Friday night in Lewistown. That roadblock came in the form of a very game Lewistown team who downed the Blue Ponies 27-6.
"Everything is up in the air now," said Havre head coach Troy Purcell of winning the conference. "We were really in control of our own destiny until this loss, so now things are wide open."
The win puts Lewistown at 3-0 in conference play and in the proverbial driver's seat in the Central A conference. The Ponies fell to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the conference standings.
The Eagles raced out to a 21-point first half lead, while a stingy defense held Havre scoreless going into intermission. It was the first time the Ponies had been shut out in a half this season.
"We had a several opportunities to score in the first half," Purcell said. "We were in the red zone five times and came away with nothing. You just can't do that against a team like Lewistown."
The Eagles lone first-quarter score came on a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Derek Taylor. In the second period, Taylor hooked up with star wide receiver Doug Longfellow for a 65-yard touchdown pass. Lewistown added another score moments before the half, when Taylor got in the end zone again, this time from five yards out.
Both teams went scoreless in the third period, but in the fourth Longfellow scored again, this time on a thirteen yard scamper.
The Ponies could only manage a late 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Kegel to Bobby Bergren making the final score 27-6.
Statistically, the Ponies had a good night. They outgained the Eagles in total offense 314 to 301, but it was inside the twenty yard line where Havre had their troubles.
"We just had a lot of missed opportunities," Purcell said. "One week all your passes are right on the money, and the next they are off by a matter of inches. We just didn't capitalize."
Despite an injured throwing arm, Kegel had another fine outing completing 17 of 39 yards for 222 yards and a touchdown. He also carried the ball nine times for 41 yards.
Levi Briese added 23 yards rushing and Steven Harman had 21 yards rushing and 66 yards receiving. Daine Solomon had three catches for 62 yards, but was hampered by a hip injury that he suffered during the game.
"Kegel played very good in the second half," Purcell said. "Our offensive line did a great job protecting him and Daine Solomon had some nice catches even though his hip was bothering him."
Defensively, the Ponies got 13 solo tackles from Briese. Briese also blocked a punt. Bobby Bergren also had an interception in the game.
Despite the setback, Havre is still in position to obtain one of the three playoff berths in the conference.
"We have to win our last two games," Purcell said. "We've got some injuries to overcome, but we still control our playoff destiny."
The Ponies return home Friday night to host the Belgrade Panthers for the final regular season home game of the year.
Passing: Kegel 17-39-0-222
Rushing: Briese 5-23, Harman 4-21, Kegel 9-41, Heberly 1-7
Receiving: Mader 1-12, Heberly 5-39, Harman 6-66, Briese 3-32, Bergren 1-10, Solomon 3-62