BUTTE -- Chuck Morrell and the Montana Tech football team continue to build the program after old-fashioned football – a hard-nosed defense and gritty ground game, and those two aspects appear to be back this fall.
Running back Jed Fike begins his senior season for the Orediggers after the Whitehall grad burst onto the scene two years ago with 1,252 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. Fike now boasts nearly 2,600 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns at Tech after transferring from Dickinson State following the 2016 season.
Fike led the Frontier Conference in rushing a season ago, totaling 1,340 yards, good for 134 yards per game, to go with nine touchdowns.
“He’s in tip-top shape, and we’re excited for him going into his senior campaign. I think our offense is going to fit him very well this season," Morrell said. "I look for him to be explosive and to be able to carry this team on (his) back. But we also feel good at running back right now, that is arguably our deepest spot on our football team, and there are a lot of guys I feel great about."
That's not to say Fike won't be the workhorse in 2019 -- he accumulated nearly 80 percent of the Orediggers' rushing yards last season -- but Morrell knows the importance of building confidence down the depth chart, especially at a position that sees constant contact.
"Tyler Folkes and Braxton Porter are guys that have played for us in the past. You throw Blake Counts into that mix and you have a great combination of guys in the backfield, so definitely providing (offensive coordinator Kyle Samson) with some versatility back there,” said Morrell.
Montana Tech ranked second in the Frontier in rushing yards a year ago, just 1.4 yards shy of league-leading College of Idaho, which tallied 175 rushing yards per game. The Orediggers will put their ground attack on display when they host the Yotes on Saturday, Sept. 7.