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Havre High football, volleyball teams hold annual Blue/White scrimmages

 

Last updated 8/24/2020 at 12:13pm

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre High sophomore Yelena Miller goes up for a shot during the Blue/White volleyball scrimmage Saturday at the HHS gymnasium. Though the regular season doesn't start for another two weeks, the Blue Pony volleyball and football teams both held their Blue/White games over the weekend.

Last week saw the Havre High football and volleyball teams push through their first week of official practices during the COVID-19 era. After putting in a lot of work throughout the week, the two teams wrapped up a great week of practice with the annual Blue/White Day scrimmages, which brought about plenty of positives for the upcoming season.

The weekend started off with the football scrimmage up at Blue Pony Stadium Friday night, where the Ponies suited up and took the field in their respective teams. The blue and white battled back and forth, with the white squad taking the scrimmage win 8-6. But, the score wasn't the true purpose of Friday, as Havre put forward an excellent effort on both sides throughout the scrimmage.

And at the end of the night, Blue Pony head coach Ryan Gatch was glad to see his team give it their all after a hard week at work.

"We were really excited about it," Gatch said. "Anytime we get the chance to play football, I think our community is winning. I know our high school players are winning because we have a chance to strap it on every day. It's a precious thing to have the ability to play sports. Everybody played a ton of reps, even our No. 1 guys, with three series on offense and defense, so that was a lot of fun for them. Our young guys got to play a ton of reps, even coming down to a goal line stand at the end and the hype from all the players. How much fun was that to see from all our players supporting one another and getting after it? That was a lot of fun."

As for the highlights on the field, two touchdowns were scored on the night. The blue team struck first as freshman quarterback Ciaran Courtnage found the endzone on a quarterback keeper to put points on the board, with the conversion being no good. The touchdown for the white team came about when junior quarterback Trenton Maloughney completed a deep pass to senior wide receiver Brock Nystrom, followed by a successful two-point conversion to take the lead.

From there, the defenses would go to work. Senior defensive lineman Kellen Detrick and sophomore defensive back Kale VanCampen put plenty of pressure on the opposing quarterback, while Ethan Carlson and Carson Lunak made an impact for their defensive efforts, as well. Overall, whether it was the veterans or the young guns, the Blue Pony defense once again is looking like a coming storm for the upcoming season.

Of course, there is still plenty to work on before the season gets here, but Gatch knows his guys will get it done as each day moves forward.

"We're looking to work on team continuity and solidifying the offensive line," Gatch said. "We got some guys stepping up and doing a really good job, but we still are unsure who the starting five are going to be. I know that Ethan Carlson and Carson Lunak are doing a great job at camp, but we've had some guys miss a couple practices or are banged up. Lot of things going on. It'll be real interesting to see how it all comes together."

With Friday night's action in the past, it was the Havre High volleyball team's turn to take the court for their scrimmage Saturday afternoon in the Havre High Gymnasium, which ended with the white squad - who were actually in their pink uniforms for the scrimmage - winning in comeback fashion over the blue squad 3-2. After the blue won the first two sets 25-20 and 26-24, the white rallied by winning the next three 25-20, 27-25 and 17-15. Needless to say, both teams definitely kept the game close through and through.

That was something that head coach Steph Huse was proud to see Saturday afternoon.

"I was pleased," Huse said. "With only a week of practice and several double-days, you're often not ready to go, but it was good to see them compete finally. I wanted to see how they responded to competition. It changes a player all of the sudden when the pressure is on and you're playing different people. I was really pleased with the responses from the girls."

There were plenty of highlights throughout the scrimmage. Sophomore Yelena Miller made quite the impact when it came to both blocks and kills, senior Sydney Wilting not only helped the white squad rally, but had some impressive digs, too, and both Quinn McDonald and Talia Ralph shared a great deal of excellent kills on the day. When the scrimmage wrapped up, it was clear that the Ponies had plenty of phenomenal senior leadership, energy and competitive spirit.

Several lineups were put to the test on Saturday, too. There was a great mix of youth and experience on the court. While many of the veterans of the team proved that they never had any slack in their game, the younger spikers kept up the pace and worked very well alongside their teammates.

There will still be some things that need fine-tuning before the season starts, but Huse is excited with the direction that the squad is taking.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Ellie Collins

"We're going to be working on everything," Huse said. "If they were where I wanted them to be right now, we would be in danger. They have a lot of improvement to make, but this crew is definitely coachable and ready to put the time in to get better every single day. I think it's more about shifting the energy when the momentum is not going their way. That's a big part of volleyball, knowing how to stop the momentum when it's not on your side. We're going to work on that a little bit. I got to watch film and see what that looks like. Everything can be improved on, though."

With the Blue/White Day wrapped up, the Ponies will be getting to work both on the field and the court. With a longer wait for the season to start, as the first game for both teams will be in September instead of this weekend, there will be plenty of time to improve before the season begins.

Havre football will take the field for their season and home-opener against the Laurel Locomotives Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at Blue Pony Stadium, while Havre volleyball opens their season on the road in Malta against the M-Ettes Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. in Malta.

 
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