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PONY POWER PREVAILS

Havre scores in the final minute to beat Lewistown in Class A playoff game

 

November 4, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre High's Mason Dionne runs through the Lewistown defense during Saturday's Class A playoff game at Blue Pony Stadium. Dionne scored a touchdown in the final minute to lift the Blue Ponies to a 14-13 win.

Last Saturday afternoon was a day to celebrate for Havre High football because, after stomping Lewistown in their regular season finale, the Blue Ponies were back in the Class A playoffs.

But Havre had to face off against the Eagles once more in the first round to move on to the quarterfinals and the nailbiter of a game ended with the Ponies on top 14-13 Saturday inside Blue Pony Stadium. Havre escaped a refreshed Lewistown team and will move on to the quarterfinals.

And not only is it a playoff win the Ponies earned, but it is the first playoff win the team has had in four years. Havre's last was in the 2015 season against Columbia Falls in the first-round. It is the time for the Blue Ponies to celebrate a well-earned win. HHS head coach Ryan Gatch is happy to see his time pull through in what was a nerve-wracking game.

"This is the first playoff win in my four years of coaching football here," said Gatch. "Our guys did a great job this year putting our team in position to be able to be in the playoffs. Anytime you play a dynamic offense like Lewistown, our defense had to show up two weeks in a row and I was real pleased with our defense."

It is no wonder why Gatch was pleased with his defense, because the defense was the reason Havre was able to not only pull off the game-winning drive, but a game-sealing interception, too.

After Lewistown marched down the field to score on a one-yard run, the Ponies were down 13-8 with 4:09 left in the game. That's when the Havre offense put forth a wonderfully-executed drive.

With running back Mason Dionne running through the Eagle defense, Lewistown drew a holding penalty, which gave Havre a first down in Lewistown territory. Then, Dionne broke out on a 20-yard run to set up Havre first-and-goal. But Dionne was not done, as he pushed into the endzone to give the Ponies the lead 14-13 with 19 seconds left in the game.

Havre chewed up the clock, but the game was not over and the Eagles looked to find a miracle from their own 37. Lewistown drove to the Havre 40 with 2.5 seconds left, taking a shot to the endzone.

That's when junior Joey Byrd intercepted the ball for the second time on the day. Byrd sealed the victory for the Ponies and in the end, Byrd was lost for words on the day.

"I can't even explain it, man," said Byrd. "I was like, I just need to get this for the team. Y'know. I'm just so happy for the team and where we're at. They deserve this win."

Despite the win, it looked scary for the Ponies in the beginning.

Lewistown was the first to score on the day. The Eagles scored quickly with a 10-yard pass and a Keaton Potter 52-yard run to the endzone to lead 7-0. But, a certain defensive standout made a big play in the second quarter.

Junior running back Kellen Detrick managed to place a punt deep in Lewistown territory, setting the Eagles back up against their own endzone. From there, Lewistown had a bad snap and Detrick recovered it in the endzone for a safety as Havre thinned the Eagles' lead 7-2.

When the second-half came around, it was another play by Detrick that gave the Ponies the lead.

The Havre defense swarmed the ball and it popped out, and Detrick was there. He raced roughly 60 yards to the endzone to put Havre up 8-7.

Though Detrick made the play, he gave credit where it's due.

"It wasn't just me," said Detrick. "On that fumble, Quinn (Springer) and Carson (Lunak) forced it and I really didn't have to do anything. They did all the work and I picked it up and ran."

The dramatic series of events helped Havre beat the Eagles for the second time, and the Ponies will find a quarterfinals appearance after four long years.

Overall, the Blue Ponies had some impressive statistics in the game.

Havre's offense totaled 34 passing yards and 178 rushing yards in 66 plays. Senior quarterback Reese Bulkley led in passing yards with 34, Dionne led rushing yards with 129 and sophomore receiver Orion Thivierge led receiving yards with 34.

The Blue Pony defense had a great game, too. Havre totaled 24 tackles, 30 assists, two sacks, two tackles-for-loss, one safety, two interceptions, three fumbles and one touchdown.

With the defensive standoff that took place in the game, numbers like that are stellar.

HHS defensive coordinator Jacob Criner was very pleased with the results his defense and seniors put forth.

"They've spent a lot of time investing themselves in Blue Pony football and the culture we're trying to establish here," said Criner. "But that defense, man, I can't explain how proud I am of those guys right now. There were times we dug some holes in the fourth and they were able to band together, bend and not break to get themselves out of those holes. That was exciting stuff."

With an excellent performance and a long-overdue playoff win for the Ponies, they will move forward in the postseason. Havre will face top-ranked Dillon in the quarterfinals. It will not be an easy game for Havre, but an upset win will mean the world to the Ponies.

Havre High (5-4) kicks off against the Dillon Beavers Saturday at 1 p.m. inside Vigilante Stadium.

Blue Ponies 14, Lewistown 13

Lewistown 7 0 0 6 - 13

Havre 0 2 6 6 - 14

LEW – Keaton Potter 52 run (PAT good)

HAV – Kellen Detrick safety

HAV – Kellen Detrick fumble return (Conversion no good)

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre High's Quinn Springer, right, and Kellen Detrick celebrate during Saturday's game against Lewistown at Blue Pony Stadium. Havre's win means the Ponies advance to the Class A quarterfinals in Dillon this Saturday.

LEW – 1 run (Conversion no good)

HAV – Mason Dionne 1 run (Conversion no good)

Havre Individual Stats

Passing – Reese Bulkley 3-7 for 34, Mason Dionne 0-2

Rushing – Mason Dionne 29-129, Reese Bulkley 8-27, Kellen Detrick 9-19, Bradyn Winchell 1-5, Orion Thivierge 1- (-2)

Receiving – Orion Thivierge 3-34.

 

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