Blue Ponies host Laurel for senior night
Last updated 10/20/2022 at 10:41am
Forget about the NFL tonight because if you want to watch Thursday night football, you can head on down to Blue Pony Stadium where the Havre High football team will play Laurel. Not only will the game be the Blue Ponies' final game of the regular season, but it will also be their senior night, so excitement should be in the air tonight with the Laurel Locomotives coming to town.
"I think it's going to be really competitive and I'm excited to have our senior night. To celebrate our seniors in front of our home crowd. It's going to be a great night for football," HHS head coach Jake Eldridge said. "Laurel has always been physical, very well coached and they have a lot of really good athletes."
Before the game tonight, the Ponies will honor their senior class. The seniors whom Havre will honor include Kale Van Campen, Hunter Sawdey, Crawford Terry, Evan Baker, Ethan Elliot, Rylan Powell, Zeke Antonich, Brody Nanini, Stephen Preputin, Jericho Bracelet and Jason Wold. With this being his first senior class as the head coach of the Ponies, Eldridge appreciates them for helping him turn the program around this fall.
"It's a special group. These guys came in with no expectations for me and they've just bought into everything that I've been preaching and they've been the leaders of the team," Eldridge said. "It's special for me to be able to have the opportunity to coach them and just to see them have the success which they so much deserve."
The Laurel Locomotives are having a great season as they enter tonight's game with a 6-2 record. Their only losses this season came against top squads in Lewistown and Billings Central. But in their six wins, the Locomotives have won their games by an average of 37.2 points a game. Last weekend, the Locomotives defeated Glendive 42-0.
While the Locomotives lost many seniors from last year, they still have many players who can give the Ponies trouble tonight. On offense, Dalton Boehler returns for his senior season after earning first team all-conference honors as a tight end last fall.
But the front seven for the Locomotives will be the biggest obstacles for the Ponies. Camden Johnson returns at defensive end for Laurel after an all-state season last year. Also on defense is inside linebacker Aden Winder who is coming off a second team all-conference season.
If the Ponies want to move the ball against this tough Laurel defense, their offense will need to remain consistent. After a 2-2 start to the season, the Ponies have won four games in a row as they have picked up their offensive production.
At quarterback, Van Campen has been able to move the ball through the air and on the ground to help the Ponies start the year 6-2. The Ponies running game has picked up the pace, including running back Tate Nelson. In the passing game, receivers such as Tre Gary, Hunter Sawdey and Jacob Herring have been reliable options for Van Campen.
After playing on Friday last weekend, the Ponies get a shorter week with a game tonight. While they lose a day of preparation, Eldridge does not expect it to affect the Ponies. Even with the emotions of it being senior night, Eldridge expects the Ponies to put that aside with a tough Laurel team in town.
With their 6-2 record this season, the Ponies should be in position to compete in the postseason starting next weekend. Depending on the result, the Ponies could be the Eastern No. 3, 4 or 5 seed heading into the postseason. But the Ponies are not focused on that as they are just looking to continue getting better with their game tonight.
"It's another opportunity for us to go out and compete against a really good football team and just see how we've improved from week to week," Eldridge said. "Just continue to improve and do the little things the right way and be disciplined. Hopefully correct some of the things that we didn't do well last week and just put our best foot forward and continue to get better."
The HHS football team will kick off against Laurel at 6 p.m. tonight at Blue Pony Stadium.