Orediggers v. Battlin’ Bears – Round 2
Before we get into this slugfest, let’s look at the Frontier Standings (with national ranking where applicable)
(#12) College of Idaho 6-1
(#23) Montana Tech 5-2
(#25) Carroll College 5-2
Rocky Mountain 5-2
UM Western 3-4
Southern Oregon 3-4
Eastern Oregon 1-6
MSU Northern 0-7
Schedule this week:
MSU Northern @ Western (senior day) 1pm
Eastern Oregon @ Carroll College (Senior Day) 1pm
Southern Oregon @ College of Idaho 1pm
Montana Tech @ Rocky Mountain 1pm
The Frontier just loves to crash all 'best-laid plans'. Not long ago we had a shot at two teams making the playoffs. Now it seems the string of “IF’s” needed to make that happen is incalculable. So, it will come down to the winner of the Conference, and that race has gotten a lot tighter, with both Montana Tech and Rocky Mountain College right in the mix.
The first meeting between the Bears and Diggs was won by Rocky, 28-20. In that game, Nathan Dick threw for 150 yards and a TD, he also ran for 68 yards and a pair of scores. On the Oredigger side Jet Campbell threw for207 yards and a score, he also ran for 105 yards and a touchdown. In the 42 days between that first matchup and this second throwdown, both teams have lost their starting quarterbacks. Dick has not taken a snap since that first meeting on Sept 17th, and it was also the last game Campbell played in until this past week when he did see action against Southern.
With the absence of Nathan Dick, Rocky’s offense has been led by George Tribble. Tribble has thrown for 743 yards and 6 touchdowns thus far. His main target has been the Whitehall product, Andrew Simon. Simon leads Rocky with 27 catches good for 248 yards. DeNiro Killian Jr, and Trae Henry both have over 20 receptions as well. Killian accounts for 23 catches, 400 yards, and 2 TDs. Henry has 20 catches, 372 yards, and 3 TDs. Rocky’s running game is led by Zaine Wilcox. Wilcox has rushed for 557 yards and 5 TDs on 131 carries this season.
Rocky will be trying to shake off a 24-0 loss at Carroll last week. Rocky only managed 127 yards of total offense and 7 first downs in that loss. You know they will be ready for a big game at home.
Montana Tech will head to Herb Klindt field riding the momentum of a big win over Southern Oregon last Saturday at home. Blake Thelen started at quarterback against the Raiders, but Jet Campbell did see action the entire second quarter, and a good chunk of the second half as well. Going into the Rocky game it would seem both quarterbacks will be available, which is a tremendous advantage for Coach Samson knowing you have two veteran signal callers at your disposal. Number-wise they are awfully close. Thelen is completing 56% of his passes for 940 yards and 9 touchdowns. He hasn’t thrown an interception this season. Campbell is hitting 54% of his passes for 717 yards, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Thelen only has one more passing attempt than Campbell. The other part of the equation you must factor in is running the football. Campbell is a run threat. In 4 games, Jet has rushed for 140 yards and 4 touchdowns.
In the run game, Tech is led by Junior tailback Blake Counts. Counts has accrued 630 yards and 5 touchdowns this year on the ground. He is also a significant threat catching the football out of the backfield with 7 catches, 3 of those for touchdowns.
The Tech receiving core is stacked. Trevor Hoffman leads the Diggs (and tied for the conference lead) with 38 receptions, Kyle Torgerson has 26 catches, Wyatt Alexander has 16, and tight end Logan Kennedy sits with 11 catches. As a group, the receivers have amassed 15 touchdowns.
Tech’s offensive front is coming off a big game last week, and they will need to be ready again. This game is going to be won up front.
There just isn’t anything better than Frontier football, especially with the Frontier crown still in play for both teams.