Saturday was a great day to be a Digger
Montana Technological University had 4 different teams playing Saturday, and all of them came away victorious.
The Oredigger men’s basketball team got their season started with a dominant win over Portland Bible College. The Orediggers held the Arrows scoreless for the first 15 minutes and rolled to a 109-24 win. Coach Hiatt pointed to the defensive pressure and sense of urgency the Orediggers were able to keep at a high level through the entire game. “This was a great opportunity for our guys to develop chemistry as a team, and a wonderful chance to play everyone.”
That chemistry won’t have long to form a bond before it is tested again, and this time by a much tougher opponent. The Orediggers will be hosting their Tip Off Classic this weekend, with Bacone College out of Oklahoma on Friday at 4 and Warner Pacific on Saturday at 7p.
Under new head coach Jeff Graham, the Montana Tech women’s basketball season got underway Saturday with a pair of scrimmages on the road. Not only did they play two games Saturday, but they also basically played them back-to-back. The first was against Okanagan (Canadian school) at noon, then a 2p game against North Idaho College. Coach Graham felt there were some (understandable) nerves early, but that the team got better in the new system each quarter. The team’s effort on the defensive side was mentioned several times, and that the press was especially solid. Offensively the Diggs were explosive, putting up 93 points against Okanagan, and were up 42-12 at one point against North Idaho. The ladies will have their home opener this Friday when they host Dickinson State at the HPER for a 2pm matchup.
Montana Tech volleyball (currently #15 in the nation) was on the road Saturday, looking to bounce back from their first conference loss on Wednesday to Carroll College. Saturday’s matchup had the #1 team in the Frontier, The Orediggers, taking on #2 in The Battlin’ Bears of Rocky Mountain College. Montana Tech swept the Bears 3-0 at home on the first trip through conference, and trying to follow that up with a win in Billings would present an incredibly tough challenge. In talking to Coach Brian Solomon, he believes the last time the Diggs got the win in Billings (in a conference game) was in 2017.
The Diggs entered the match a bit healthier than they had been according to Coach Solomon, and the team showed “a definite toughness throughout, especially as the match drew to a close”
Tech won the first set 25-20, the second 25-18, Rocky came to life in the 3rd to win 25-20, and the 4th deciding set goes to the Diggs 27-25. Tech goes to 7-1 in conference play with the win (22-7 overall) Rocky falls to 6-2 in Frontier play (16-14 overall).
“This was a big road win, in front of a loud crowd in a great environment.” “This was a big step forward for a team that doesn’t have anyone on it who has won a Frontier championship, we’ve been to Nationals, but have never won conference with this group.” “The level of play, by both teams at the end of this match was at a really high level” Coming from Coach Solomon, that’s saying something.
Montana Tech football was in playoff mode again Saturday as they were on the road taking on the Bears of Rocky for the second time this year. The Bears got the win in the Mining City earlier this season, and this game had a ton of conference and possible postseason implications. Turnovers and penalties were the tale of the tape over the first 30 minutes of the game. George Tribble put up a pair of passing touchdowns in the first half for the Bears, who led 14-0 in the second quarter before Blake Thelen trimmed that lead to 7 when he hit Logan Kennedy for a score before halftime.
Blake Counts had his best day as an Oredigger as he ran for 153 yards and a second-half touchdown to tie the game at 14- all. The Offensive front for the Diggs seems to get better and better each week. Counts ran for 7 yards a carry Saturday, and to add to that, the Orediggers didn’t allow a sack.
The Digger-D had themselves a day, sacking Tribble 3 times and forcing 3 turnovers as well. Cole Wyant accounted for 12 tackles and a sack. Keshawn James-Newby put up 8 tackles and 2 sacks. In the secondary, Angel Sanchez ended with 2 interceptions, and Naoki Harmer finished with 5 tackles, and a forced fumble.
Coach Sampson credited his coaches for their second-half adjustments “Coming out in the second half, we controlled the clock, with 22 minutes of possession, against their 8”. “Our guys showed a ton of toughness and heart, down 14-0 they never did flinch”. “I feel our team toughness is at an all-time high right now”.
Special teams had a huge part in the battle. “Ryan Lowry was big for us, hitting those 2 key field goals, and then (Andrew) Almos with a huge punt that completely shifted field position late in the game, that was a bigtime play for us”