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Blue Ponies shut out Miles City on the road


Last updated 9/26/2022 at 8:18am

Heading on the road this past Friday night, the Havre High football team was facing plenty of adversity. Not only were the Blue Ponies looking to get back on track after a loss to Billings Central the previous week, the Ponies were facing a tough Miles City squad on the road. Yet, the Ponies did not blink as they came out strong on both sides of the ball to win, 26-0, against the Cowboys.

"I think we showed a lot of discipline and toughness as a team going on the road," HHS head coach Jake Eldridge said. "I think all the credit goes to the players, our captains and senior leaders."

After getting shut out the previous week, the HHS offense gained 283 total yards of offense. Quarterback Kale Van Campen had a strong game as he went 7-for-12 for 101 yards, two touchdowns and interception through the air. He also led the team on the ground with 72 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. As a whole, the Ponies ran for 182 yards as a team which Eldridge credits to their offensive line.

"I think it starts first and foremost with the guys up front on the offensive line. We really controlled the line of scrimmage," Eldridge said. "They controlled the line of scrimmage, moved people, finished plays and showed a lot of toughness."

After giving up 35 points the previous game, the HHS defense stiffened up. On defense, the Ponies allowed 119 yards of offense and no points. Tre Gary had a strong game in the secondary with one interception while Van Campen cleaned up the middle at linebacker with seven total tackles.

"Those guys are just being very consistent and disciplined on defense," Eldridge said. "They're really buying into the mentality of playing for each other and everybody doing their job to the best of their ability."

The Pony defense started strong by forcing the Cowboys to punt on their first drive of the game. But even with the great field position after the punt, the Ponies could do little on offense and had to punt it away themselves.

After another Miles City punt, the Ponies made some plays on offensive momentum. It took the Ponies only a couple of plays to get down to their own 48-yard line. On first and 10, Van Campen scrambled around and completed a short pass to Gary down the left sideline. Gary was all alone, so he scampered down the sideline all the way to the endzone to give the Ponies a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.

The Cowboys looked to respond as they finally found an offensive rhythm. On a third and long, quarterback Kordt Smith completed a deep pass to Brayson Gonzalez to get the Cowboys into Havre territory. But the Cowboys were unable to pick up a first down on the next three plays. On fourth down at the Havre 35-yard line, Smith's pass fell incomplete and the Ponies took over.

The Ponies almost got their own offense on a roll. On a third and long, Van Campen connected with Brisbin Reiter for a big gain to midfield. But a few plays later, Van Campen's pass was intercepted and returned all the way to the Havre eight-yard line.

But the HHS defense stood strong in the shadow of its own end zone. After a quarterback run for minimal yards to start the series, an offensive foul on the next play pushed the Cowboys back. Two straight incompletions then made it fourth and goal at the HHS 14-yard line. The Ponies did not have any lapses in coverage as another pass from Smith fell short and the Cowboys remained scoreless despite the field position.

The Ponies and Cowboys exchanged drives to end the half. After a Havre punt, the Cowboys ran out the clock to send the game to halftime, with Havre still leading 7-0.

With the ball to start the second half, the Ponies looked to take control of the game. A couple of runs got the Ponies to their own 49-yard line. Then on third and five, a defensive offsides gave the Ponies a first down in Miles City territory.

The Ponies continued to move the ball. On third and nine at the 32-yard line, Van Campen connected with Jacob Herring for a first down to keep the drive alive. The Ponies then ran the ball on two consecutive plays to make it first and 10 at the 11-yard line. Van Campen then found Gary in the left corner of the end zone for a score to make it 14-0 halfway through the third quarter. Gary finished the game as Havre's leading receiver with five catches for 80 yards and a pair of scores.

The HHS defense made sure to keep momentum on the Ponies side. On the third play of the ensuing Miles City drive, Smith fumbled and the Ponies recovered it at the Miles City 38-yard line.

With the ball and the lead, the Ponies ran it four straight times down to the 20-yard line. Then on a passing play, Van Campen scrambled around and eventually found a lane to run all the way for a touchdown, extending the Ponies' lead to 20-0 late in the quarter.

The Cowboys tried to put a drive together to get themselves back in the game. Several runs and screen passes got them down to the Havre 46-yard line. But the drive ended with the Cowboys once again failing to convert a fourth down and giving the ball back to the Ponies.

With the lead in the fourth quarter, the Ponies looked to milk the clock and add some points for insurance. The Ponies continued to run the ball as they moved all the way down to the Miles City seven-yard line. But the Ponies fumbled the ball and the Cowboys recovered to keep the score 20-0.

The Cowboys gave it right back to the Ponies on the next play with an interception. Three plays later on third down at the Miles City 25-yard line, Van Campen kept the ball and ran it all the way for the score to push the lead to 26-0 late in the game.

The Cowboys had two more drives to end the game. On their second-to-last possession, the Cowboys once again failed to convert on fourth down. After a Havre punt, the Cowboys' last possession ran out the clock for the game.

The Ponies are now back above .500 with a 3-2 record just halfway through their season. With just four games left in the regular season, a win like this over a good team can help the Ponies make a push toward the postseason.

"It just gives us the confidence and understanding that the things that we're doing are the right stuff," Eldridge said. "The way that they're working and preparing is what's giving them an opportunity to go out there and have success on a Friday night."

The HHS football team will next play this Friday against Glendive at Blue Pony Stadium.

Havre 26, Miles City 0

HAV - 7 7 6 6 - 26

MC - 0 0 0 0 - 0

HAV - Tre Gary 52 pass from Kale Van Campen (Trayden Riley kick)

HAV - Gary 11 pass from Van Campen (Riley kick)

HAV - Van Campen 20 run (kick failed)

HAV - Van Campen 25 run (pass failed)

Havre Individual Stats

Passing - Kale Van Campen 7-12-101-2-1.

Rushing - Van Campen 8-72, Tate Nelson 14-62, Brisbin Reiter 16-46, Crawford Terry 2-10.

Receiving - Tre Gary 5-80, Brisbin Reiter 1-12, Jacob Herring 1-9.

Defense - Van Campen 7 tackles, Herring 5.5 tackles, Terry 4 tackles.


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