From the Fringe...
What a weekend of sports in Havre, and beyond. I guess that’s what you get when you mix the fall sports season, homecoming at Montana State University-Northern and Festival Days together.
And while it will be hard for any weekend coming up to live up to the excitement of this past one, don’t worry, because there’s plenty of great sporting events to come this weekend too.
But before we jump ahead to what we’ll likely see this weekend, let’s look back at the weekend that was.
Here’s a few things that happened over the course of last weekend which might not have made Monday’s sports pages, but are certainly worth mentioning.
It didn’t happen in Havre, but the Montana State University-Northern volleyball team got a big monkey off its back last Thursday night in Billings. The Skylights won a Frontier Conference volleyball match on Rocky Mountain College’s home floor for the first time in seven seasons. That’s a long time to go without beating a rival away from home, but Northern’s sweep Thursday night inside the Fortin Center was yet another testament to the fact that the Skylights are now a premier power in the Frontier.
On the home front, the Havre Blue Ponies finally got the win they had been searching for. Friday night at Blue Pony Stadium, HHS shut out the Glendive Red Devils 33-0, and while the HHS offense certainly looked impressive, we’d be remise not to point out that the Pony defense has surrendered a total of just 20 points against three Eastern A opponents this season. Yes, six of those were in only a half of a game against Miles City, but it isn’t HHS’s fault thunderstorms wouldn’t stay away that night in Havre.
The HHS defense was stellar against Glendive Friday night, and a standout was senior Kyle Duitsman, who had a sack and two tackles for loss. Duitsman is new to the Ponies this year, as his family moved to Havre from Nebraska. He and the rest of the Blue Pony defense sure did look good Friday night.
During Saturday’s MSU-N homecoming game, there was plenty of Lights’ offense on display. But one drive in particular really stood out. With MSU-N leading Dickinson State just 28-21 early in the third quarter, MSU-N offensive coordinator Kyle Samson went with his “wildcat” package with Orin Johnson at quarterback. The Lights ran a reverses to Dylan Woodhall and Jake Messerly, then Johnson kept for a run up the middle. Those plays are designed to set a defense up later on, and if one of them breaks for a long gain or a touchdown, that’s icing on the cake. And while none of those three runs broke wide open, Johnson did return to his wide receiver position just a few seconds later and caught a perfectly thrown TD pass from buddy Derek Lear. That score put the Lights back up by 14 points and they were never threatened again.
Kudos need to go out to the Northern fans as well. Not only was Saturday’s homecoming game extremely well attended, but fans are really starting to take hold of some college football traditions. I see the brand new Northern fight song catching on throughout the stadium, but also, fans learning to make noise when the opposing offense has a third-down play. I love seeing college football traditions catch on more and more in Havre, and here’s to hoping those trends only continue when the Lights return home to face Carroll Oct. 26.
Alright, last week is gone and let’s take a look ahead, because it’s another big week on the Hi-Line.
It’s Havre High homecoming week, and there’s plenty on the plate. Thursday night, the HHS volleyball team makes its long-awaited home debut. The Ponies began the season back on Aug. 31, and are finally at home for their homecoming match with arch rival Lewistown. Of course, the festivities then shift to Blue Pony Stadium where Havre hosts Central A rival Livingston Friday night. The Pony football game is one fans don’t want to miss as HHS will be out for revenge after suffering a disheartening loss at Livingston last fall.
And while not really a true high school spectator sport, it’s worth pointing out that the Blue Pony golf teams get to play the Central A Divisional on their home course Saturday. The Central A tournament will be played at Prairie farms Golf Course, and here’s hoping for one more day of great golf weather.
It’s also homecoming week in Chinook and at North Star. The Sugarbeeters play their annual homecoming game Friday night against Cascade, while the Knights will host Six-Man rival Box Elder Saturday afternoon in Rudyard. Big Sandy is also home to face Augusta Friday night, so it’s certainly a busy weekend of high school football in our area.
Lastly, MSU-N volleyball is at a fever pitch right now, and Northern fans will get to see the Skylights twice this week. MSU-N hosts UM-Western Thursday night at the Armory Gymnasium, then welcomes in Westminster College Saturday afternoon. It’s two more chances to see the Skylights as they continue their quest for a Frontier Conference championship and an NAIA national tournament berth.