A Pony Homecoming Stampede
When the Havre High football team wins, it seems that the Blue Ponies win big. That was once again true this weekend, when the Ponies advanced to 2-0 in conference play.
Friday night in Havre was an important one for the Central A Ponies. Not only was it Homecoming weekend for the HHS, it was also a crucial conference game. But taking care of business for the second straight week, the Ponies defeated the Lewistown Golden Eagles 49-20 at Blue Pony Stadium.
"To win the way we did," Havre High head coach Jason Christenson said. "Against a quality opponent was good. Lewistown is a tough team, and they just caught the turnover bug and we were on the better end of that. The kids were focused all week of practice and came out ready to play."
Defense and turnovers were both very key in the Ponies win, as the HHS defense forced the Eagles into six of them.
Kameron Pribyl recovered a fumble in the first quarter, as well another fumble in the second quarter. The Ponies' Brayden Grimson also recovered a fumble in the third quarter, while late in the fourth, Brian Smith also recovered an Eagles' fumble. Brandon Smith also intercepted an Eagles' pass in Blue Pony territory to end the third quarter as well as a scoring threat by Lewistown. Mark Vukasin caused one of the Eagles' fumbles, as did Casey Schaub and Brandon Smith.
The turnovers kept the Eagles away from the end zone and often resulted in the Ponies coming away with a score of their own, as the ponies outscored the Eagles 21-0 in the first quarter, 20-14 in the second quarter and 8-6 in the fourth quarter. Neither team scored in the third.
HHS went up 14-0 early, and made it a 21-0 lead after scoring on the drive ensuing the first fumble recovery by Pribyl. The Ponies also scored on the ensuing drive following Pribyl's second fumble recovery to go up 35-14. And keeping the Eagles at bay one more time, the Ponies made the score 49-14 after Brandon Smith's interception.
With all the scoring the Ponies did, and with all of the turnovers by the Eagles, the Ponies accomplished exactly what they wanted, they forced the Eagles to abandon the run, their true strength, and pass the ball as they struggled to keep from falling further behind. The Eagles' offense had just one rushing yard, but did take some shots through the air with 345 passing yards
"They are a run-first team," Christenson said. "And getting them to throw the ball around a little bit was what we wanted them to do. We accomplished our goal that way, but creating those turnovers was even more demoralizing to them and boosted us up."
Schaub led the team with 12 tackles and one sack. Eli Hinebauch had 11 tackles and one sack, and Pribyl earned 10 tackles. Flathers also had five tackles, while Thurman Holdsclaw had eight tackles and two sacks. Grimson and Brandon Smith combined for 10 tackles.
But as explosive as the defense was, the Blue Pony offense was not to be outdone as they put up 49 points.
Ryan Brandt was the top performer for the Ponies with seven carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns and three catches for 21 yards and two scores.Brandt scored on an eight-yard pass from Justin Jensen and a seven-yard pass from Jensen in the first quarter. Also in the first quarter, Brandt scored on the ground from one-yard out, while he added another one-yard rushing score in the second quarter.
"This was a great win," Brandt said. 'And the fans were great. It is awesome and felt good to have a good game under the lights on homecoming."
Schaub also had two scores for the Ponies as he racked up 259-yards rushing on 11 carries. Schaub scored on a 22-yard run and on a 73-yard run in the second quarter.
Holdsclaw scored on a 43-yard catch from Jensen in the third quarter and finished the night with three catches for 55-yards. Jensen finished the night with three passing touchdowns and 11-of-18 completions for 148 yards in the air.
Havre High senior Mark Vukasin (left) defends a pass during Friday night's homecoming game at Blue Pony Stadium. The Ponies beat Lewistown to improve to 2-0 in the Central A.
Havre High quarterback Justin Jensen looks to pass during Friday night's Central A Conference game at Blue Pony Stadium.
Havre High senior Brayden Grimson (left) leaps over a Lewistown defender after making a catch in Friday night's Blue Pony Homecoming game against the Eagles at Blue Pony Stadium.
"The kids really did (play how we wanted them to) for the most part." Christenson said. "We wanted to see them flying around playing assignment football and I think we saw that, and they did that pretty well. It was a total team effort and we preached that all season, from day one till now, it's team, team, team, team. The team is greater than any one individual, but at the same time it takes individual efforts to be a great team. It was huge, everybody stepped up."
HHS improved to 2-0 in conference play and 3-3 overall. And playing their last nonconference game of the season, the Ponies will travel to Libby on Friday for a 6 p.m. kickoff.
Havre's last home game is set for Oct. 21 against Livingston.
Havre 49, Lewistown 20
Lewistown 0 14 0 6 — 20
Havre 21 20 0 8 — 49
HAV — Ryan Brandt 8 pass from Justin Jensen (Kameron Pribyl kick)
HAV — Ryan Brandt 7 pass from Justin Jensen (Kameron Pribyl kick)
HAV — Ryan Brandt 1 run (Kameron Pribyl kick)
LEW — Karson Feller22 pass from Blake Phelps (Dylan Stenseth kick)
HAV — Casey Schaub 22 run (Kameron Pribyl kick)
LEW — Jim Malone 67 pass from Blake Phelps (Dylan Stenseth kick)
HAV — Ryan Brandt 1 run (Kameron Pribyl kick)
LEW — Casey Schaub 73 run (kick blocked)
HAV — Thurman Holdsclaw 43 pass from Justin Jensen (Holdsclaw pass from Jensen)
LEW — Kyle Parry 22 pass from Dylan Phelps (run failed)
HHS Individual Stats
Rushing — Casey Schaub 11-259, Ryan Brandt 7-79
Passing — Justin Jensen 11-18-148
Receiving — Thurman Holdsclaw 3-55, Zach Plum 3-50, Ryan Brandt 3-21, Brayden Grimson 1-20, Brandon Smith 1-5
Ponies are 3-3 overall, 2-0 in the Central A Conference. Next at Libby Friday night.