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What we saw, what we'll see


October 1, 2013

Another hectic, fun, exciting and dramatic weekend of sports on the Hi-Line is in the books. And so is the month of September.

It’s hard to believe, but we’re already at the halfway point of the fall sports season. And this past weekend, local athletes and teams certainly sent the month out with a bang.

Here’s a few things we saw this weekend that might not have made it in to Monday’s Hi-Line Sports Weekend Roundup. And we’ll also take a look ahead at what should be another thrilling week.

This past weekend in Havre, there was plenty of Blue Pony Pride on display.

First and foremost, congrats to Havre High School, its students, faculty and everyone who helped make HHS Homecoming week a truly special event.

Of course, the week culminated with Havre’s huge win over Livingston Friday night at Blue Pony Stadium, and what a game the Ponies played. While Havre’s offense certainly rolled right by the Rangers, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the Pony defense.

Havre set up to stop Livingston’s run game, and the Ponies crowded the line of scrimmage all night just daring the Rangers to throw. The strategy worked well, as any time Livingston got behind the chains, it seemed as though the Rangers had little chance of picking up a first down. In fact, Havre’s defense was extremely dominant on third down, and the Ponies continually had solid field position as a result.

So kudos to the head coach Jason Christenson and his staff for coming up with an excellent game plan Friday night, and for putting Havre in a position to have a shot at winning the Central A title this season.

A strong kudos also needs to go out to the HHS student section at Friday night’s game. The Pony students were loud, enthusiastic and also conducted themselves with great sportsmanship. The students truly helped make the homecoming game a truly magical night.

Meanwhile, Saturday at Prairie Farms Golf Course was a big day for the Blue Ponies as well. In know I mentioned the wind in my story in Monday’s sports section, but it’s worth noting again just how difficult the conditions were for the Central A Divisional Golf Tournament.

I know the Weather Channel might have said the wind was blowing 20 MPH Saturday, but trust me, it was blowing a lot harder than that during the back nine of Saturday’s tournament. And that fact makes what the Pony girls and boys did Saturday all the more impressive. There’s a lot of pressure heaped on golfers at the divisional tournament, much more than there will be this week at the Class A state tournament, and when Mother Nature decided to intervene, the pressure gets ratcheted up a couple more notches.

But the Blue Ponies stood up to the elements and the pressure. The Havre girls won their Central A title, not just in the wind, but in a pressure-packed playoff with Livingston. And the four Havre High boys who are going to state, well, they’re a mix of two sophomores and two freshmen. That’s impressive considering how difficult Saturday was out there.

I’d also like to take this moment to congratulate first-year head golf coach Brett Gilman on earning Central A Girls Coach of the Year honors. A job well done.

We also need to continue to take notice of what the MSU-Northern volleyball and football teams are doing right now. After sweeping Westminster on Saturday, in a match that wasn’t even as close as the scores showed, the Skylights are still unbeaten in the Frontier Conference, and are sure to be nationally-ranked come Tuesday afternoon.

And while we didn’t see the Lights’ win at UM-Western Saturday in Dillon, we now know a result of that win is a national ranking. For any of you local sports trivia buffs out there, feel free to e-mail me and let me know the last time both the football team and volleyball team was nationally-ranked at the same time. It’s been a truly remarkable month for the Lights and Skylights.

And yet, a new month of sports begins this weekend.

Both Northern teams are away this weekend, and so are the Blue Ponies. But there’s still plenty to see on the Hi-Line.

The Havre High cross country teams make their only home appearance of the season on Saturday when the Ponies host the Havre Invitational at MSU-Northern Saturday morning. And the HHS volleyball team already plays its final two home matches of the season, including a Central A showdown with Browning on Saturday afternoon.

There’s also a big high school football game in Chinook Saturday as the Sugarbeeters, who have won four straight, host Simms. The game will be a good one as the Tigers have garnered national attention after hiring former Montana State assistant coach Joe O’Brien. O’Brien has Simms playing its best football in a decade, and Saturday’s game in Chinook will have huge Northern C playoff implications.

Wrestling fans will also get their first look at the MSU-Northern Lights on Saturday. One of the great traditions in Northern sports is the annual Alumni Dual, and the 2013 version will take place Saturday afternoon in the Armory Gymnasium. The dual will feature some of the greats of Northern’s storied past and it’s one event fans should never miss.


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