The young Havre High football team had a great run into the postseason this year, but after competing in the first round of the Class A playoffs, the Blue Ponies' season has ended.
During the regular season, the Ponies finished with a 4-5 record overall. That was good enough to reach the postseason as the No. 3 team out of the Central A. But once in the postseason, the Ponies ran into a very impressive Laurel team in the first round. Saturday in Laurel, the Locomotives defeated the Ponies 48-13, ending the HHS season in the meantime.
The Locomotives are the epitome of a ground-and-pound football team. And the success they find on the ground is what propelled them through the regular season with an 8-1 record, and now a 9-1 record.
Overall, the Locomotives rushed the ball 39 times for 288 yards against the Pony defense. They chewed up huge chunks of the field on the ground, as well as huge chunks of time off the clock as they ran right at the young line of the Ponies.
Laurel’s quarterback, Brett Thompson only threw the ball 13 times for 82 yards, but he found the end zone twice through the air. But in the running game, Kameron Fisher rushed 14 times for 101 yards and a score, while Michael Buster also racked up 49 yards on the ground, and Thompson rushed for 95 yards and one score. Bryce Herman also had just four carries for 41 yards, but had two rushing scores, as the running attack came from all directions on Saturday.
“It gets pretty frustrating,” Havre High head coach Jason Christenson said. “You package up for (the run), and practice up for it all week, and you know how they are going to attack you, and not being able to stop it is frustrating. But the kids battled and they fought the entire game, and I am proud of them and how they finished. This doesn’t take away from how hard the kids worked this season, and how hard they prepared this past week in practice. We just couldn’t get it done.”
Laurel jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead, and couldn’t be contained from there. They eventually scored three more times in the third quarter to take a 35-point lead, and found the end zone two more times in the second half.
The running clock rule came into effect late in the second quarter, and was in effect off an on. But the Ponies never gave up, and eventually earned their reward with 4:37 left to play in the third. Dane Warp connected with Zach Plum on a 46-yard bomb, bringing the Locomotive lead to 41-6. And the Ponies got into the end zone one more time, with Warp and Plum connecting again, this time with 11:21 left in the fourth quarter on an 11-yard toss and catch.
Warp finished the afternoon going 14-26 for 252 yards. He also had the two TD passes and one interception. And Plum also benefited from Warp’s stellar play, as he finished the day with four catches for 84 yards and the two scores.
“You always want to go in and have the kids come out with some positives,” Christenson said. “And Dane Warp being able to throw a couple touchdowns and finish the season the way he did, I thought he had a good game. And Zach Plum had a good game too, so that was nice to see. Dane has some things to build from, and now Plum has some good memories to take with him.”
Ned Malone also had one catch for 75 yards, while Thomas Grubber had four catches for 53 yards. Thurman Holdsclaw had three catches for 24 yards as well. On the ground, the Ponies struggled. HHS had just 23 yards, with Gunnar Aageson leading they way with 14, and Holdsclaw following with 12. Jordan Schroeder also had eight yards on the ground.
Havre wasn’t able to continue its season, but they do have hope for the future. With just three seniors on the squad this season, the Ponies should be much improved next season, and with the experience the returners were able to achieve this postseason is the perfect jumping off point for next.
“From where we started, to where we ended, the kids improved a lot,” Christenson said. “And not only from their performance on the field, their maturity, they grew up quite a bit. I am very proud of all the kids, and they exceeded where I thought we would be, and they just kept improving and believed in themselves. We went as far as we could, and we have good experience now at the playoff level. This experience is something that is invaluable, and they got a lot of it this season.”
Laurel ended Havre's season in the playoffs for the second time in four years. The Locomotives move on to play Polson next Saturday.
Laurel 48, Blue Ponies 13
Havre 0 0 6 7 – 13
Laurel 14 21 6 7 – 48
LAU – Kameron Fisher 5 run (Kameron Fisher kick)
LAU – Bryce Herman 2 run (Kameron Fisher kick)
LAU – Brett Thompson 3 run (Kameron Fisher kick)
LAU – Bryce Herman 7 pass from Brett Thompson (Kameron Fisher kick)
LAU – Michael Buster 17 run (Kameron Fisher kick)
LAU – Bryce Herman 19 run (kick failed)
HAV – Zach Plum 47 pass from Dane Warp (kick blocked)
HAV – Zach Plum 11 pass from Dane Warp (Tyrell Pierce kick)
LAU – Mason Simanton 5 pass from Brett Thompson (Kameron Fisher kick)
Passing – Brett Thompson 13-82
Rushing – Kameron Fisher 14-101, Brett Thompson 11-95, Michael Buster 7-49, Bryce Herman 4-41
Receiving – Jon Verlanic 3-39, Bryce Herman 3-22, Jake Anderson 1-16
Passing – Dane Warp 14-26-252
Rushing – Gunnar Aageson 3-14, Thurman Holdsclaw 5-12, Jordan Schroeder 1-8
Receiving – Zach Plum 4-84, Ned Malone 1-75, Thomas Gruber 4-53, Thurman Holdsclaw 3-24, Jordan Schroeder 2-16