Ponies corral Rangers in home finale
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Daniel Horton Havre Daily News [email protected]
Any conference win is a good one. But with some letdowns and lack of execution, the Havre High football team still has their work cut out as the postseason draws near. On Friday night, the Central A Blue Ponies defeated the Livingston Rangers 22-0 in conference play. And with the win at Blue Pony stadium, the Ponies moved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in conference. “A win is a win is a win,” Havre High head coach Kevin Sukut said. “It was a big win, and I was happy with the win. I hate to sound negative, but I wasn't very happy with how we played. I don't think we put our best foot forward.” The Ponies came out and scored on the opening drive, but overall Sukut thought his team came out flat. Kent Pattison broke free on a 15- yard run, but lost the ball on the Ranger's one-yard-line. Fortunately for the Ponies, they recovered the ball. And with 8:02 left in the first quarter, Pattison was called on once again, and rushed for a one-yard touchdown to put the Ponies up 7-0. The Rangers were forced to punt on their only two first quarter possessions, while the Ponies turned the ball over on downs in Ranger territory on one and continued the other into the second quarter of play where Danny Roe hit a 29-yard field goal to go up 10-0. HHS put up two more touchdowns in the contest. John Perrodin rushed from four yards out with 10:24 left in the third but the ensuing PAT was blocked. And in the fourth quarter, Corderro Strickland pulled in a 10-yard pass from C.J. Evans with 5:38 left to play, but this time around the two-point conversion pass was failed by the Ponies, giving them a 22-0 lead. The Ponies were able to get the win, but they have room to improve offensively, especially against conference opponents. They finished with 299-yards rushing, but lacked in their play through the air. Evans was 6-of-10 for just 52 yards and a touchdown. “A guy should never complain about that (rushing yards),” Sukut said. “But honestly we are capable of playing better up front. They (Rangers) handled us up front, early on especially. I just think we are capable of better. “I would like to see our passing numbers a little bit higher.” Sukut added. “It was spread throughout our backs, and that is something I would like to see more of, our wide receivers stepping up.” Pattison had another great game, rushing 30 times for 208 yards. And Perrodin and Casey Schaub got in on the action as well. Sukut planned on giving them more carries, and they made the best of it. They both rushed eight times apiece, with Perrodin gaining 44 yards and Schaub earning 47. “I just grab the ball,” Perrodin said. “I put my head down and I try to gain as many yards as possible.” Defensively, the Ponies recorded another shutout. The Rangers had the ball 11 times, but never scored, turning the ball over two times on interceptions, two to fumbles and three on downs. “They did a good job,” Sukut said of the Pony defense. “They got another shutout and played well and held up on their end of things.” Perrodin and Roe led the defense with eight tackles each. Perrodin also had a pass deflection, while Roe earned a sack. Strickland and Evans both recorded interceptions for the Pony defense as well. The Blue Pony defense also knew they had to stop the Ranger's offensive threat through the air, and they did that very well. The Rangers' Sam Bisson was 13-of-28, but only threw for 87 yards. And after gaining only 55 yards on the ground, the Ponies held the Rangers to less than 150 yards of total offense. With the win, the Ponies kept their postseason hopes alive. And if everything falls into place, they also still stand a chance at repeating as Central A champions. But there are several outcomes to the season that the Ponies are well aware of. Anything is possible, from repeating as conference champions to missing out on the playoffs completely. To lock down a playoff spot, the Ponies have to beat Belgrade next weekend on the road. And, if that doesn't happen, the Ponies are relying on other teams to win or lose, something Sukut doesn't want to happen. “We are still in good shape,” Sukut said. “All of those scenarios still exist, but we still control our own destiny. All we have to do is go win and we are in the playoffs, no matter what else happens.” The Ponies will return to the road this weekend, as they gear up to play the Belgrade Panthers Friday night in Belgrade in the regular season finale for both teams.