BUTTE — For the first time in program history, Montana Tech returned to Butte from Caldwell, Idaho with a win. The Orediggers defeated the College of Idaho 36-16 last week to start the 2018 Frontier Conference football season 1-0.
“I thought we played very physical, and that’s something Week 1 we challenged our guys to establish that as a part of our identity, ” said Montana Tech head coach Chuck Morrell.
Holding the Coyotes to just 16 points surely proves that Tech’s level of physicality was up to the coach’s standards. A big reason the Orediggers were successful on Saturday was their defense, which limited the Yotes to just 19 yards on the ground.
“Defense had been beating us up pretty good all camp, so they were definitely looking good going into the game,” said Tech running back Jed Fike. “We were kind of shaky on offense, so the defense had our backs at the end of the game, so I’m really thankful for our defense.”
The Diggers’ offense might’ve been shaky in the beginning, but Fike and freshman quarterback Tanner Kump got the offense clicking at the right time.
“I thought mentally we were really clicking. Throughout fall camp we were kind of struggling — we’d line up wrong, we’d have a few mental errors here and there,” said Kump. “But once it got to game time, I really feel that we stepped it up and actually locked in.”
Now Tech returns to Bob Green Field for its home opener on Saturday, and it will likely be a packed house for the annual Copper Game against Eastern Oregon.
“It’s a great feeling. I mean, growing up I always went to Oredigger games and I looked up to these guys, and it’s such a great feeling knowing I can represent Butte,” said Kump.
Kump is recent Butte Central graduate, but he isn’t the only person who feels the excitement of Saturday’s home opener. Even the guys not from Butte know what this game means to the community.
Fike mentioned that the Copper Game is special because the history behind Butte and the history behind the program.
“It’s a great feeling running in with your brothers onto the field and seeing that many people in the stands. It’s just awesome,” Fike said.
“I think we have some of the best fans around the Frontier Conference,” said Morrell. “People are going to come out in droves and support us. We’re excited for that buzz and that atmosphere, and our guys love playing in that environment.”