By George Ferguson
For the Havre Blue Pony football team, tonight's visit to Glendive is not only the first road trip of the season, it is a continuation of their search for that first win. Glendive (0-2) is also in search of that elusive first victory of the season.
The Ponies are coming off back to back losses at home while Glendive dropped their season opener to Class B Glasgow and also lost to Lewistown last Friday night, 25-17. Despite the 0-2 start, Havre head coach Troy Purcell is feeling pretty good coming into tonight's contest.
"We have had the best week of practice that we've had so far this season," Purcell said. "The kids and the coaches are really fired up and hungry to go get our first win."
While the Ponies are mentally ready to play Purcell has also made several adjustments on defense coming into this game.
"We changed our defensive front a little bit to help out against the run," Purcell said. "We're going to run a 4-4 stack in stead of our usual 4-3 front and see if we can't slow the running game down."
Just like Sidney and Whitefish Havre's previous two opponents Glendive will present a strong rushing attack for the Blue Ponies to defend.
"Glendive has two real solid running backs," Purcell said. "They have a smaller speedy back and a big bruiser so hopefully throwing a different look at them on defense will be something their not prepared for."
While the Blue Ponies offense hasn't really had trouble scoring points with big play threats like Justin Kegel, Steven Harman and Steve Heberly, Purcell said mental mistakes has killed his team over the course of the first two games.
"We have got to cut down on the turnovers or we're going to be in trouble," Purcell said. "We have also put some new plays in this week to fire up our offense and give Glendive some things they haven't seen before."
One good thing to come out of the last couple of weeks is that Havre has stayed clear of the injury bug for the most part.
"We're pretty healthy," Purcell said. "Daine Solomon and Bobby Bergren are a little banged up but they'll be ready to go."
Veteran head coach Jim Person leads Glendive into tonight's contest with a solid senior class headed by halfback Shawn Wilcox (5-6,180) and quarterback Mike Crisafucci. The offense is also spearheaded by speedy halfback Brett Gow.
On defense, the main focus has been looking for some one to replace all-state linebacker Tyler Hostetler. However, Person does have some size on defense, like defensive ends Ryan Sturlaugson (6-0, 215) and Blake Corneliusen(6-3,250)AM . Senior linebacker Ryan Rickett was also an all-conference player from a year ago and lends some veteran leadership to the Red Devil defense.
This is the final game of the non-conference schedule for both teams and even though Havre is winless Purcell says it's not time to panic yet.
"Laurel started off 0-3 last season and ended up winning our conference and going all the way to the semi-finals last," Purcell said. "We just need to cut down on some mistakes and improve each week and I think we can be right there in the end."
Kickoff between Glendive and Havre is tonight at 7:00 p.m. The game can be heard on 610 AM KOJM.