Carroll College football travels to Butte to open their Frontier Conference football season against Montana Tech.
Fighting Saints head coach Mike Van Diest says the Orediggers’ recent success only adds to the intensity of the rivalry road-trip.
“Well, you’re playing the best team in the conference right now and they’ve been the conference champion the last two years. There’s always been a great rivalry. I know it was something when I came here in ’99 I heard a lot about it,” said coach Van Diest.
Junior wide receiver Connor Fohn says the fans in Butte always bring a lot of energy.
“It’s a great atmosphere. They always sell it out down there and obviously they’re very vocal down there so it’s always a very fun atmosphere to go in and play,” said Connor Fohn.
Junior linebacker Reece Quade says the hostile environment can be a great motivator.
“So much different than anywhere else you play. The crowd there really likes to heckle the players. This year it’s under the lights so that’ll be a lot more fun,” said Reece Quade.
The team practiced under the lights at Vigilante Stadium this week to help prepare for that aspect.
“Playing under the lights, especially in college, is something special. I mean, it’s a nice close road-trip. I mean, it’s almost like a home game but being on their field you feel far away from home at the same time just because of that hostile environment,” said sophomore running back Major Ali.
Coach Van Diest says it helps kick college football season into high gear throughout the state.
“I think both teams are excited about playing on a Thursday night, kind of open up college football for the state of Montana. We’re the only teams playing this week on a Thursday night. That’s going to be awesome for both teams,” said coach Van Diest.
The Saints opened the 2016 season with a home victory over the Diggers and we'll see if they can start 2017 with a win on the road.