Cowboys, Blue Ponies to square off in first round

Cowboy Ben Herzog looks downfield for a pass against Havre earlier this season. The Cowboys and Blue Ponies will meet again tomorrow at 12 p.m., in the first-round of the Class A playoffs. (Photo by Steve Allison)


The Custer County District High School Cowboys have had their season marked by a tie since the second week of play.

They will get a chance to rectify that tie tomorrow afternoon when the Cowboys head to Havre for the second time this season, this one being the first round of the Class A playoffs.

The teams met in the second week of the season and played an even first half, going into halftime tied at six. Early in the third quarter, a thunderstorm rolled through Havre, and after a two-hour delay the game was cancelled, leaving the teams with a 6-6 tie.

This is the second time that the teams played in the regular season and then met in the first round of the playoffs. 

In 2010, the Cowboys began their state championship run with a 54-26 win over the Blue Ponies that saw the teams combine for nearly 900 yards of offense.

This year, the Cowboys and Blue Ponies feature strong offenses again.

The Blue Ponies, led by sophomore quarterback Dane Warp, averaged 333 yards of offense per game. Most of their offense comes through the passing game, but they do average 95 yards on the ground.

Warp has been outstanding this season. He's completed 139 of 224 passes for 2,434 yards. He's thrown 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Thomas Gruber and Nate Rismon are Warp's top targets. Gruber has 34 catches for 599 yards and 10 touchdowns. Rismon has 35 catches for 549 yards and seven scores.

The Cowboy offense is much more balanced. They average 353 yards of total offense, 145 in the air and 208 on the ground.

Despite missing time with an ankle injury, senior quarterback Ben Herzog has led the Cowboy offense. He's completed 86 of 162 passes for 1,177 yards, 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also leads the ground game with 688 yards and 12 touchdowns. Evan Haughian has 599 yards and four touchdowns on the ground and Alec Haughian has stepped into the running game lately and has 373 yards on the ground.

Alec Haughian has been Herzog's top target in the passing game. He has 53 catches for 820 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. Brett Keith has 12 catches for 155 yards and four scores this year.

The teams have multiple common opponents. Both teams beat Livingston and Glendive, while the Cowboys beat Belgrade and Sidney, and Havre lost to those two teams.

Kickoff in Havre is set for 12 p.m. on Saturday. The winner advances to the Class A Quarterfinals next Saturday in Columbia Falls.