First One: Ponies down Eagles
Havre High's Thurman Holdsclaw (left) looks for running room while teammate Tristan Manual blocks during Friday night's Class A football game between the Blue Ponies and Sidney Eagles at Blue Pony Stadium. Holdsclaw had four touchdowns as the Ponies won 40-26.
Havre High's Thomas Gruber races down field after a big catch during Friday night's game between the Blue Ponies and Sidney Eagles at Blue Pony Stadium.
Havre High's Zach Plum (ball) fights for yards during Friday night's Class A football game with the Sidney Eagles in Havre. The Ponies won their first game of the season, beating the Eagles 40-26.
It took much longer than any of the Havre High football players, coaches, or fans wanted, but the Blue Ponies were finally able to break into the win column.
The Central A Ponies entered Friday's home contest with an overall record of 0-3. But hosting the winless Sidney Eagles, the first win for the Ponies didn't come without a fight as they outscored the Eagles 40-26 at Blue Pony stad
HHS's Thomas Gruber and Thurman Holdsclaw celebrate a play during Friday night's Class A football game at Blue Pony Stadium.
ium in Havre.
With the win, the Ponies are now 1-3 overall and still 0-0 in conference play. The win also breaks a four game slide dating back to last season's semifinal loss to Dillon.
"We showed a lot of heart and a lot of composure," Havre High head coach Jason Christenson said. "We had some bad breaks, but we finally got that monkey off our backs and it feels good. Sidney is a quality team and it felt really good to get a win against a quality team like that. The kids understand that playing hard and physical will pay off, and it paid off tonight."
With the final score, it looked to have been a comfortable win for the Ponies, but in fact, it was a tough battle.
After a 19-point second quarter, the Eagles held a 19-18 lead over HHS at the break. All in the second frame, the Ponies watched the Eagles score on a three-yard rush, an 84-yard kick return, and on a 11-yard run, as all the momentum shifted to the Sidney sideline.
But after an intermission filled with tweaks and changes, the Ponies came out in the second half and outscored the Eagles 22-7 for the win. The offense was able to keep adding to the scoreboard, but the defense was crucial in the final two quarters as well, ensuring the lead didn't slip away from the young
Ponies. Sidney scored one time in the third quarter, while the HHS grabbed two scores from Thurman Holdsclaw and one from one from Zach Plum in the second half. Holdsclaw scored on a 24-yard pass from Dane Warp, as well as on a 55-yard run, while Plum scored on a 19-yard pass from Warp.
Holdsclaw was an offensive powerhouse all night. He also had a six-yard rushing TD, and a five-yard rushing TD in the first half.
"I think it took a continuous battle (to get the win)," Christenson said. "They came out and focused up and really played sound assignment football. And the head guy is only as good as his assistants, and I have some great assistants. Coach (Ryan) Joy is my eye in the sky, and we made some adjustments and we attacked those areas. It took all 11 guys on the field, but what can you say about Thurman Holdsclaw? Obviously he is the center of attention, but it took 11 guys to get the win, and that was big factor.
"We are pretty excited after losing three games in a row," Holdsclaw added. And (Sidney) is a good team. It feels good to beat them by a couple scores, and our hurry up offense and our cards we used on the sideline gave us tempo, and we were able to catch the defense off guard."
Thomas Gruber also grabbed a 43-yard catch and score for the Ponies, as they returned a style of offense that made them successful last season. HHS went back to a high-tempo style, utilizing cue cards and signals from the sideline. The return to the fast pace offense was to hopefully catch the defense off guard.
The HHS offense had another good outing. Warp passed 19 times for 270-yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Gruber had his second straight big time performance, catching seven passes for 139-yards and a TD. Holdsclaw caught six passes for 62-yards and Plum caught three balls for 40 yards. Rushing the ball, Holdsclaw ran the ball 14 times for 101-yards, while Tristan Manuel rushed for 13 yards and Gunnar Aageson rushed for eight.
On defense, Chet Shrauger grabbed 13 tackles, while Tyler Adams grabbed eight tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery. Holdsclaw also had seven tackles, while Gruber had seven tackles and pass breakup. Jordan Schroeder had five tackles, a sack, and a caused fumble, and Jace Billy had six tackles, once sack and a fumble recovery. Travis Adams earned his first sack of the season and Plum snatched another interception.
The HHS defense also held the Eagles to 112-yards rushing and just 53-yards passing.
"To be completely honest," Tyler Adams said. "At the beginning of the season everybody was doubtful of where we were supposed to go or what we were supposed to do. But the last two weeks, we have really come together and it isn't just any one individual effort, it is everybody playing their assignments. The proof is on the board, it is everybody."
The Ponies remain at home this Friday to host the Belgrade Panthers in the Central A opener for both teams.
In the win column
Blue Ponies 40, Sidney 26
Sidney 0 19 7 0 – 26
Havre 6 12 8 14 – 40
HAV – Thurman Holdsclaw 6 run (kick blocked)
SID – Caleb Benson 3 run (Gresh Jones kick)
HAV – Thurman Holdsclaw 5 run (run failed)
SID – Caleb Benson 84 kick return (kick failed)
HAV – Thomas Gruber 43 pass from Dane Warp (pass failed)
SID – Jordan Stevens 11 run (run failed)
HAV – Thurman Holdsclaw 24 pass from Dane Warp (Zach Plum pass from Dane Warp)
SID – Jordan Stevens 1 run (Gresh Jones kick)
HAV – Zach Plum 19 pass from Dane Warp (Tyrell Pierce kick)
HAV – Thurman Holdsclaw 55 run (Tyrell Pierce kick)
Passing – Dane Warp 19-32-270
Rushing – Thurman Holdsclaw 14-101, Trastan Manuel 3-13, Gunnar Aageson 3-8
Receiving – Thomas Gruber 7-139, Thurman Holdsclaw 6-62, Zach Plum 3-40