By Tiffany L. Rehbein
In a rare position, the Havre Blue Ponies football team looks to collect its first win of the 1999 season Friday at Livingston.
The Park County Rangers, though in not as rare a position, are looking to do the same.
Havre, 0-2 in the Central A and 0-3 overall, is the surprise of the season in that they are winless after three games. The Blue Ponies, who went 8-1 last season and finished first in the conference, might have the upper hand over Livingston (0-2, 0-3), who finished 1-7 last year.
The Ranger defensive line is young and inexperienced with its greatest strength in senior Kevin Olmsted, who is a returner from last year.
Senior quarterback Todd Wegner is a three-year starter, who will likely throw to senior Dan Busch and junior Devlin Scofield. Wegner also plays free safety, where he will be joined by All-State selection Jesse Schwartzer.
The Havre offense, behind the arm of senior quarterback Ricky Brown, will look to capitalize on the young Rangers.
Brown was 14-of-25 for 171 yards against Lewistown last weekend. Those yards included a 74-yard pass reception by senior Nate Baltrusch, who ran for the only Pony touchdown of the game.
Junior Brent Finneman led the Ponies last weekend with 15 carries for 52 yards.
But the Ponies have been plagued with recent injuries. Up-and-coming sophomore running back strength Kevin Harada and outside linebacker, defensive leader, Chris Klobofski are both out with season-ending knee injuries.
The defensive assignments will fall largely on senior Tyler Bebee, junior Grant Roman, and senior Troy Worden.
At defensive end, Landon Grant has been playing tough and Doug Kallenberger and Jesse Suek, who has been quick on the fumble recovery of late, have each made some big defensive plays this season.
The tough defense, especially on third down stands, has held the opponents total points to 39 on the season.
Offensively, seniors Michael Holden and David Heberly have each scored a touchdown for the Ponies.
But generating a hard-driving scoring offense has been difficult for the Blue Ponies. Havre has only managed 23 total offensive points so far.
Livingston, on the other hand, has only generated nine offensive points, while its opponents have scored 120 on average.
With playoff hopes growing dim, other Central A games could change the playoff scene. Also Friday, Central A leader Anaconda (2-0, 3-0, plays at Belgrade (1-1, 1-2) and Browning (0-2, 0-3) plays at Lewistown (2-0, 2-1).
The Blue Ponies kick off is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Livingston.