BUTTE – Some losses are just hard to forget.

“It was definitely something that we got to keep in the back of our minds, keep ourselves prepared for our next game. It was a tough one for sure,” said Jake Hape, a Montana Tech offensive lineman.

A game-winning 45-yard field goal from Carroll College’s Colter Hamel capped an improbable late rally, stunning the Orediggers in last fall’s season-opener. Thursday, the two rivals will take the field again.

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“You can’t play bad for two minutes in a game in the Frontier league and expect to win. We just didn’t close that game very well. They know we’re going to have to play four full quarters in order to come out on top,” said Tech head coach Chuck Morrell.

And the Saints are a better team than a year ago.

“I think they’re better,” said Morrell. “I mean, there’s no doubt I think they’re an improved team for sure.”

But so are the defending conference-champion Orediggers.

In sports, they say there’s no place like home. And at home, there’s no team like Montana Tech. The Diggers haven’t lost a game on Bob Green Field since 2014, and Thursday is promising an atmosphere that Tech hasn’t seen in years.

“Playing under the lights Thursday night, couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere. Can’t wait to open up at home,” said defensive lineman Tyler Sanders.

“It’s a good place to be at home. Our guys understand they respect this field. It’s an honor for them to step on this field. They know that we need to play our best football when we’re here at home,” Morrell said.

And the packed home crowd can be guaranteed a show from what is a juggernaut of an offensive unit.

“Some days, we just can’t do anything to stop them, so it’s going to be super exciting to watch those guys get on the field, watch them play against someone other than us, and see what they can do out there,” said Sanders.

The Diggers are motivated, they’re ready to begin, and they won’t forget to play 60 minutes.

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