Cowboys vs. Havre - Playoff Edition
Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
In anticipation of the Cowboys' upcoming playoff game against Havre, I'll be posting random tidbits as they come to mind. I've already posted a couple of them on the Cowboys vs. Sidney thread (http://milescity.com/foru...ew/321208/) but I'll start posting on this thread from here on out for the Havre game.

Alec Haughian has already rewritten the Cowboy record book in terms of receptions and yardage this year and he's in pretty select company in terms of how he ranks among Class A players this season.

So far, Haughian has caught 53 passes for 820 yards and seven touchdowns. His receptions total is tied for second among Class A receivers and his yardage ranks third. Here is the list of players with 50 or more receptions this year:

Kale Guldseth, Butte Central - 57-850-10 (source: www.buttesports.com)
Teague Blome, Hamilton - 53-961-11 (source: www.maxpreps.com)
Alec Haughian, Miles City - 53-820-7 (source: www.milescitystar.com)
Kris Cleveland, Hamilton - 50-808-7 (source: www.maxpreps.com)
Ty Morgan, Columbia Falls - 50-783-14 (source: www.ihigh.com)

What makes Haughian's accomplishments all the more impressive is that he has accumulated his stats in eight games (7.5, really, considering he played the second half of the Billings Central game as the Cowboys' quarterback). Only Morgan has compiled his totals in just eight games - Blome, Cleveland and Guldseth have each had nine contests in which to post their totals.

In terms of per-game average, no one has caught more passes per game (6.6) than Haughian, and only Blome (106.8 ypg) has more yards per game than Haughian's 102.5.

And when one considers that Haughian has also rushed for 394 yards this season (358 over the last three games), his value to his team is incomparable.

There have only been four players in Class A history to top 1000 yards receiving in a single season, and all four of them have played for Havre: Daine Solomon (72-1039-9 in 2003), Marc Mariani (48-1237-16 in 2004), Coda Tchida (34-1010-16 in 2004), and Zach Plum (48-1117-9 in 2012). There exists a very strong likelihood that the exclusive club could more than double this season.

If anyone is curious, Billings Central's Dallas Leslie owns the Eastern 'A' Conference's single-season record for receiving yards, having caught 56 passes for 976 yards and 10 TDs from Travis Blome (Teague's older brother and Hamilton's head coach) in 2001. Leslie was one reception off the division's record for receptions, set by fellow Ram Doug Reid in 1995. Reid had 57 catches (for 884 yards and nine scores) one season after tallying 56 catches for 915 yards and 11 TDs.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
This is unrelated to the upcoming game, but an interesting fact:

This season marked the first time since 1997 that there were no zero-win teams in Class A. Browning (1-8), Corvallis (1-7), and Glendive (1-7) - each of which went winless in 2012 - all won a single game this season, as did Libby (1-8) and Livingston (1-8).

News you probably can't use, but now you know something you probably didn't before.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Here's a little history of the Miles City - Havre rivalry:

The Cowboys and Blue Ponies were divisional opponents for one season: 1986, which Havre's first year after dropping from Class AA. The Blue Ponies won the team's first meeting in Havre, 35-14. The loss denied the Cowboys (5-3) an opportunity to defend their state championship from the year before and secured a playoff berth for the Blue Ponies (7-2), who would advance to the semifinals that year.

Miles City has dominated the series since that loss, starting a 7-1-1 run with a 43-7 annihilation of Havre in the 1994 state championship game. The Cowboys also had playoff victories over Havre in 1996 (38-14 in the quarterfinals) and 2002 (20-12 in the semifinals). The Blue Ponies' only victory since the initial meeting was a 19-12 upset of the previously-unbeaten Cowboys in the 2002 semifinals.

The teams began playing each other on a regular basis in 2010. With the exception of this season's truncated contest, the Cowboys haven't failed to score at least five touchdowns in any game and have won by at least 20 points in each of their last four meetings.

2010 - Miles City 34, Havre 14 - The Cowboys rushed for 378 yards, including 15-179-3 from quarterback Shane Cooley and another 20-137-0 from Tyler Essex. Havre was held to minus-2 yards rushing and Blue Pony quarterback Justin Jensen completed 15 of 28 passes for 178 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions (three by Cooley, who tied the CCDHS record). Havre had seven turnovers total.

2010 playoffs - Miles City 54, Havre 26 - Havre was much improved offensively, as Jensen redeemed himself from his disastrous showing in the regular season meeting to pass for 22-26-291-3-0 in a near-perfect performance. But even with Jensen and Casey Schwab (18-125-1 rushing, 5-146-1 receiving) having monster games, Miles City was even better. Cooley set the CCDHS record for total offense (since broken by Ben Herzog) with 336 yards, passing for 9-12-197-3-0 and rushing for 13-139-1. Kyle Larson was Cooley's primary target, catching six passes for 138 yards and a pair of touchdowns. As a team, the Cowboys had 507 yards of total offense, including 310 on the ground. The Cowboys averaged 10.8 yards per play.

2011 - Miles City 48, Havre 14 - In just his third varsity game, Herzog completed nine of 16 passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns. Six of his completions went to Dalton Reid, who finished the contest with 101 yards and two scores. Robert Nalewaja added a team-record 98-yard punt return for a touchdown. The Cowboy defense was no kinder to Zach Plum than they were to Jensen the year before, picking off six of his passes as he filled in for an injured Jensen. Alec Haughian became the first Cowboy since Jeff Muri in 1972 to score a touchdown in a varsity game, picking one of Plum's passes and returning it for a 28-yard score.

2012 - Miles City 35, Havre 14 - With Herzog out due to injury, Haughian became the second sophomore quarterback in as many seasons to dominate the Blue Ponies. Haughian passed for 10-20-120-2-1 and rushed for 26-147-3 to tie the sophomore record for total touchdowns (5) he set the previous week against Dickinson. The Cowboys held freshman sensation Dane Warp - who would go on to pass for 2837 yards and 30 touchdowns on the season - to 120 yards below his per-game average and limited 1100-yard receiver Plum to a pair of receptions for only 18 yards and zero touchdowns.

So far this season, Warp - again, only a sophomore - has passed for 128-210-2228-19-8 in eight official games (unofficially, he was 7-9-130-1-1 in the first half of the tie against the Cowboys). He has topped 300 passing yards four times this season and has failed to reach 200 passing yards only once (in a 33-0 win over Glendive). In just two seasons, Warp has established himself as one of the most prolific passers in Montana history. For his career, he has passed for 295-470-5065-49-22, totals to be envied by upperclassmen with three years of varsity experience.

Warp's primary targets are senior Thomas Gruber (34-656-9) sophomore Nate Rismon (35-554-7) and freshman Parker Filius, who is listed at 5'7" and 140 lbs, but plays much bigger. In just six games, Filius - who did not play against the Cowboys earlier this season - has caught 31 passes for 546 yards and two scores and has rushed for 27-134-3. Gruber, who caught seven passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns against the Cowboys in 2012 and added another four catches for 75 yards and a score in the tie), Rismon, and Filius each have multiple 100-yard receiving games this year.

Senior Tristan Manual and sophomore Kody Pribyl handle most of the rushing duties and have teamed for the bulk of the team's 95 rushing yards per game. Manual and Pribyl are also threats to catch the ball out of the backfield, having combined for over 30 catches and 400 yards.

[This message has been edited by Brian A. Reed (10/31/2013)]
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Here are my thoughts on the first-round games, starting with Polson-Hamilton.

Polson (5-3 overall, 2-2 NW - third seed; PS: 201, PA: 192) at Hamilton (6-3 overall, 3-2 SW - second seed; PS: 289, PA: 222) - Polson isn't a bad team, but I don't think the Pirates can keep up with Hamilton's passing game, which is every bit the equal to that of Columbia Falls, which defeated Polson, 42-5 last week.

Hamilton's aerial attack is directed by Josh Bauder, who has completed 152 of 255 passes for a Class A-leading 2503 yards, 21 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Bauder's primary targets are Teague Blome (53-961-11), Kris Cleveland (50-808-7) and Abe Westfall (28-491-1). Bauder (326.7 ypg), Blome (137.3 ypg), and Cleveland (109.0 ypg) feasted on Northwestern `A' competition this year, as the Broncs defeated Libby and Frenchtown and were narrowly defeated by unbeaten Columbia Falls (30-29 on Sept. 6). Adam Smith (85-452-7) and Mathew Turley (88-333-1) are the Broncs' leading ballcarriers.

Polson - one of the NW `A's more balanced teams - are led by Andrew Weltz, who leads the Pirates in passing (76-152-1059-6-12) and rushing (125-634-11). Brady Hislop has rushed for 580 yards and five touchdowns on 82 carries. He is also an outstanding kicker, having converted 19 of 21 PAT kicks and four of seven field goal attempts. His 41.65 average on 17 punts leads the conference. Polson's top receivers are Cedrick Smith (34-408-1) and Tanner Wilson (15-277-4).

The Pirates have some quality athletes, but this is not the best time for the NW `A's worst passing defense (165 ypg) to go head-to-head with one of the two best passing attacks in the state. The Broncs should win handily and put themselves in position to test the Billings Central Rams next week.

Prediction: Hamilton 35, Polson 17.

Lewistown (2-6 overall, 2-2 Central - third seed; PS: 157, PA: 248) at Laurel (6-3 overall, 4-1 Eastern - second seed; PS: 228, PA: 136) - I am not going to waste much time on this preview, as I think the Locomotives will roll over the Golden Eagles with little difficulty. Lewistown can pass the ball, but not enough to match scores with Laurel's rushing attack.

Ultimately, the winner of this game will be irrelevant, as the victor gets to be obliterated by Dillon.

Prediction: Laurel 31, Lewistown 7.

Butte Central (5-4 overall, 3-2 SW - third seed; PS: 294, PA: 175) at Whitefish (7-2 overall, 3-1 NW - second seed; PS: 241, PA: 110) - This game has the potential to be the best matchup of any of the first round games and has been the most difficult for me to handicap. Despite the disparity in records, I find these teams to be very evenly matched.

The Maroons enter the postseason having played the second-most difficult schedule among playoff teams, based on the aggregate win-loss record of the teams they've played. Butte Central, whose four losses have come against fourth-ranked Belgrade (7-2), second-ranked Billings Central (7-1), top-ranked Dillon (8-0) and Hamilton (6-3), have an overall opponents' winning percentage of .580 (42-33), second only to the Rams' .588 (40-28).

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, have enjoyed the weakest strength-of-schedule, having played only three teams with winning records (Belgrade, Columbia Falls, and Polson) and losing to the Panthers and Wildcats. Whitefish's opponents' winning percentage was just .408 (31-45), as the Bulldogs played four one-win teams (Browning, Corvallis, Livingston, and Libby).

Even though Whitefish finished two games better than Butte Central, I think that the Maroons' losses were worth more than the Bulldogs'. With the exception of their 34-7 loss to Dillon, the Maroons didn't get whipped in any game this year. Whitefish was blanked, 21-0, by Columbia Falls and narrowly lost on the road, 21-19, to Belgrade early in the season.

Where the most telling comparison may be is in their contests against common opponents, as both teams faced Belgrade, Livingston and Corvallis. Both teams lost close contests to Belgrade before the Panthers went on a 5-0 run to close out the regular season and both teams shutout Corvallis. But where Whitefish defeated Livingston, 6-0, Butte Central won their game against the Rangers, 40-8.

Whitefish's sophomore quarterback, Luke May, has been as dangerous of a dual threat this season as any quarterback west of the Continental Divide, passing for 87-146-1180-9-3 and rushing for a team-leading 117-538-7. But as impressive as May has been, the best athlete on the Bulldogs is senior Sean Foley, who has caught 26 passes for 424 yards and five touchdowns and has rushed 51 times for 316 yards and four scores. He is also the most dangerous return man in the state, having returned five kickoffs for 222 yards and two TDs and 13 punts for 305 yards and another touchdown. He also has three interceptions, two of which he's returned for scores.

Butte Central, which has as balanced an offensive attack (226.4 ypg passing, 157.3 ypg rushing) as any team in Class A this year, is led by junior quarterback Danny Peoples (137-264-2004-22-9), senior running back Wyatt Kingston (149-1079-14) and senior wideout Kale Guldseth (57-850-10). Peoples, who has passed for over 300 yards twice and for at least three scores five times this year, also has dangerous targets in senior Connor McGree (28-384-6), junior Chad Peterson (22-245-3), and junior Dalton Sessions (20-437-3).

Whitefish, which is hosting a playoff game for the first time since 2005, should get a boost from the home crowd, as Butte Central has not won a road playoff since 2003 (against the Bulldogs). But while Butte Central has struggled against the strongest teams on its schedule, I think Whitefish is the weakest strong team the Maroons will have faced. I have a feeling that the Bulldogs - who have allowed fewer than 200 yards per game - will play their best game this season, but I don't think it will be quite enough.

Prediction: Butte Central 28, Whitefish 21.

[This message has been edited by Brian A. Reed (11/1/2013)]
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Miles City (5-3 overall, 3-2 Eastern - third seed; PS: 225, PA: 204) at Havre (4-4 overall, 3-1 Central - second seed; PS: 192, PA: 197) - As I've already posted quite a bit about this game, I'm going to keep my preview here relatively brief.

The differences between the 2012 and 2013 Cowboys are obvious. Last year's team had the weakest running game of any CCDHS squad in memory, averaging only 110 yards per contest. This year, the Cowboys are averaging 208 yards per game. And it hasn't been a matter of one hand taking from the other; Miles City is averaging 145 passing yards per game this year, down only six yards per game from a year ago. Overall, the Cowboys are averaging 353 yards per game, compared to 261 per contest last season.

Defensively, the Cowboys aren't as strong against the run this season, allowing 224 yards per game, compared to 178 last year. But the improvement against the pass has been pronounced and has offset the difference against the run. The Cowboys are allowing only 66.5 yards per game through the air (compared to 110 ypg last year) and have not given up more than 100 aerial yards since the season opener against Powell.

In Ben Herzog and Alec Haughian, the Cowboys will have the two best athletes on the field on Saturday.

Herzog, who has completed a team-record 81 passes in 154 attempts for 1140 yards and 12 touchdowns is throwing the ball with more accuracy than he ever has. His 52.6 completion percentage is a career high and his six interceptions area career low. Prior to his ankle injury, Herzog averaged 122 rushing yards per game, and he'll be at full strength on Saturday.

Haughian, who may be the best wide receiver in the state, has averaged 119 yards as a rusher over the last three games. Over the last four contests, Haughian has averaged 206 yards from scrimmage. He'll have a tall task in helping clamp down Gruber and Rismon, but he hasn't shied away from a challenge all year and I think he'll be up for it.

With three receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown last week against Sidney, Brett Keith has given Herzog another reliable target. Evan Haughian, who has 124 rushes for 530 yards and three touchdowns this year, may be the Cowboys' third-best option when it comes to running the ball, but he's been a more productive rusher than anyone on Havre's entire team.

With the exceptions of being the game's host and having one of the most talented passers in the state, I see Havre as having few other areas of advantage over the Cowboys. Warp may or may not get his yards, but I think he'll throw a pick or two and I believe the Blue Ponies will be unable to match the Cowboys score for score.

Prediction: Miles City 41, Havre 21.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
To recap my predictions:

Hamilton 35, Polson 17
Laurel 31, Lewistown 7
Butte Central 28, Whitefish 21
Miles City 41, Havre 21

[This message has been edited by Brian A. Reed (11/1/2013)]
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Posted by Kyle Stanton (+291) 5 years ago
I really enjoyed the predictions and great statistics. Thank you for continuing to post the information!
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Thanks, Kyle!

Cowboys are up, 20-7 at the half.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Havre just moved ahead, 21-20 with over eight minutes left in regulation.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Cowboys are down, 21-20, with 4:07 left. They have the ball.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
2:45 left, Cowboys on Havre's 35 yard line.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
4th-and-14 with 1:14 left. Ben hurt. Alec in at QB ...
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Make that 1:36 left on the 43 yard line.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Ben back in - hits Alec for a 16-yard gain. First down.
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founder
supporter
Posted by Tom Masa (+1732) 5 years ago
What was the score? Must have lost.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Penalties killing MC.

Now 1st-and-24 with 1:17 left. Ball on Havre's 40.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Scroll up, Tom. It's 21-20, Havre. 1:06 left to play. Cowboys with the ball, 2nd-and-long after a sack.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Now 3rd down ... made a completion, but lost yards.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
3rd-and-34 at the 50 with 1 minute left.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
4th-and-20. Incomplete.

Penalty flag on Havre. Pass interference.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Repeat of 4th down. 34 seconds left.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
4th-and-6 ...
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Caught by Haughian at the 8 yard line.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
First down! 1st-and-goal at the 8-yard line. Spiked it with 25 seconds left. 2nd-and-goal ...
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Incomplete pass on 2nd down. Now 3rd-and-goal ...
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banned
Posted by Arron (+99) 5 years ago
waiting
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
False start, MC. Two seconds run off clock.

19 seconds left. 3rd-and-goal from 13.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6023) 5 years ago
Ballgame over. Havre 21, Miles City 20. Clock ran out before MC could snap the ball.
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supporter
Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+13070) 5 years ago
I listened to the game on the radio while hunting near Miles City this weekend. Why oh why wouldn't the coach let the kicker take a chance on winning the game with a field goal???? Surely there is one kid at CCDHS who can kick a 30 yard field goal?
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Posted by Kelly & Danelle Walker (+78) 5 years ago
VERY MUCH LIKE ^
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Posted by Tim Wagoner (+722) 5 years ago
A good kicker has a great chance for scholarships. It is one of the easier ones to get. Sounds to me like being a kicker would be a great start on a college education.

It would be nice to have a kicking program, but then again this is Miles City....

Here is a shout out for the Cowboys and a great effort put out in the 2013 season.
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