There is a driving force behind what we see on the field and on the sidelines, as fans watch from the stands at Alumni Coliseum. The Montana Tech football team is a brotherhood, and above all it has generated a quality season thus far. On Saturday, November 28, the No. 5 Diggers will play in the national quarterfinals in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
This past Saturday the Diggers defeated Dickinson State 44-10 in the first round of the NAIA playoffs.
Tech’s tight-end-turned-quarterback Andrew Loudenback, a transfer from Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, CA had yet another strong showing in Tech’s opening playoff game Saturday. In total, he has passed for eight touchdowns over the last six games, being 37 for 67 passing for 565 yards.
“Winning the conference championship was a great feeling, especially beating such a quality opponent. It was surreal, but I think as a team we know that there is still work to be done so the celebration was short,” Loudenback said. “I am blessed for the opportunity to be a part of this team that has a chance to represent ourselves, coaches, school, community and Frontier Conference in the playoffs.”
In addition to the Montana Tech-Dickinson State showdown that occurred Saturday, the top four teams in NAIA played Saturday, all resulting in victory.
“We play as a family,” Clay Cavender, a junior studying business management from Redding, CA said in a post-game interview.
Cavender scored two touchdowns in the win against the Blue Hawks.
Matt Berg, a senior kicker studying Occupational Safety and Health, continued to be a strong foot kicking a 19 yard field goal during the first round playoff game. Both Berg and David Meis, a defensive linebacker and senior studying mechanical engineering, took home Frontier Conference player of the week after defeating No. 10 Montana Western November 14.
But Meis didn’t let up after the win against Western: he came in strong against Dickinson State with a total of seven tackles, two quarterback sacks, and three tackles for loss. He also forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.
“Being a senior I know my time is limited so I plan on making the most of it and try to leave behind a legacy for other Diggers to carry on,” Meis said after the win against the Blue Hawks.
The All-American leads the team in tackles for loss (15.5) and sacks (7.0), and is second of the team in total tackles (67).
“The defense has grown throughout the season in every way,” said Meis. “The most critical thing to keep us on the road to the chipper is for us to stay healthy. We have a very skilled group of guys and as long as we all are able to keep playing we should keep winning.”
“We were able to accomplish this title because of our team chemistry. You do not often see a team that plays together the way that we do, and I could not be happier being a part of the Digger family,” Derrick Holt, a junior from Renton, Washington, said.
Holt was recently named All-Frontier Conference for his role on special teams as a punter.
The Oredigger football team credits their brotherhood and strong bond both on and off the field to the success of the team. Cheer on the Diggers this Saturday, November 28, as they continue the championship journey against No. 4 St Francis Cougars at Fort Wayne, Indiana.
“There is so much work being done behind the scenes since our season ended last year, that it is awesome to be out there with your brothers seeing our hard work paying off,” Loudenback said. “My motivation on the field is my teammates, we are so close. It’s really special [and] we play for each other. I [also] play for my family, especially my mom; I know she is looking down on me every Saturday.”