HELENA — The Carroll College Fighting Saints and Montana Tech Orediggers, a rivalry that dates back to 1920 on the football field, will return to the hallowed grounds of Nelson Stadium for the first time since 2019 on Saturday.
With over 100 years of history between the two schools, it’s safe to say the rivalry is contentious and one of the best to found in Montana, even rivaling Montana and Montana State depending on who you ask.
Walking the halls of Carroll College, it’s seemingly void of the color green, but when asked about the rivalry between the two schools there’s a certain level of respect from the Fighting Saints Football team.
"Two good football teams, two very, very well-coached football teams, and a bunch of guys going out there and just competing their tails off," said Fighting Saints head football coach Troy Purcell. "It's fun. It's, you know, this is why you play."
Though Montana Tech was the team to deliver the first blow in 1920 with a 27-6 win, it’s safe to say that Carroll College has a comfortable lead overall with a 57-16-2 record against the Orediggers. As of late, the record has inched closer with each team winning five of the last 10 games. Montana Tech won three straight between 2016 and 2017.
Looking at the Carroll College roster, just 35 of the 105 players on the roster hail from Big Sky Country, but when looking at those 80 players that doesn’t mean this rivalry means any less to them.
"It just makes it … you don't want to, I don't want to say anything that I shouldn't or anything, but it just makes you, it just gets your blood going a little bit, you know? You're just ready to -- ready to play, and you don't want them to win. You don't want them to come out on top and the people around you, they want the same thing," said T.J. Abraham.
In the Frontier Conference, the venues may not be that of a Washington-Grizzly Stadium or Bobcat Stadium, but when Carroll and Tech meet Nelson Stadium will likely be at capacity with the return of fans, and players can't wait to see and hear every bit of what Saturday has in store for them.
"I think Saturday is gonna be an absolutely electric atmosphere. You know, it's just, I just think the history kind of makes it what it is too, you know?" said Rex Irby. "You come to Carroll to play Tech. You go to Tech to play Carroll. You know, I just think that rivalry is super fun. It's definitely one I look forward to the most every year."
The Carroll College Fighting Saints and the Montana Tech Orediggers will square off for the first time since 2019 on Saturday at Nelson Stadium at 1 p.m.