BUTTE — Following No. 22 Montana Tech’s 35-12 win over No. 15 Montana Western, music was blaring and jubilation was ensuing.
Oredigger safety Justin May was flying in the air to bump people in celebration. Offensive lineman Grant Benz was dancing. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kyle Samson was dapping up anyone who came within walking distance.
Wide receiver Trevor Hoffman, meanwhile, was standing around smiling.
“It feels so awesome. It feels great man,” the redshirt sophomore said. “We owed them one for sure.”
Five catches for 120 yards and a touchdown was his final line. His biggest catch was a 43-yard touchdown that came minutes after a ball ricocheted off fellow wide out Alec Wooley-Steele’s hands and landed in the waiting arms of Bulldog defensive back Carson Hritsco, who then rumbled down the field for a 47-yard interception return for a score.
Hoffman also had two catches on the Orediggers opening offensive drive, when they took the ball 86 yards down the field on eight plays. It made the score 7-3 in favor of the home team and Montana Western would never lead the game again.
“I think Trevor is one of the elite wide receivers in the league,” Montana Tech head coach Chuck Morrell said. “There’s no doubt he’s right at the top. We have a pretty good secondary, and we can’t cover him in practice.
“So I think everyone else is gonna have trouble covering him too.”
That secondary Morrell mentioned? They played pretty well on Friday night too. Though, to be fair, it would be pretty easy to say that about the entire Oredigger defense.
Montana Western quarterback Jon Jund seemed flustered throughout the night, completing just 13 of his 33 passes for 87 yards and was sacked three times — twice by standout fifth-year senior Carter Myers and the other by defensive lineman Art Flynn.
Myers quite possibly had his best game of the year thus far, recording 10 tackles, four of which were for loss. The Bulldogs were forced to punt 10 times and turned the ball over twice on downs.
Montana Western had just 150 total yards.
“I dunno if you guys can tell, but we love playing with each other,” Myers said. “We love going around hitting people and playing defense.”
After each team had scoring drives on their first two possessions, the game developed into a defensive slugfest, with each team punting and the Bulldogs recording a safety to make the game 7-5.
It was tough sledding for both offenses, each of which struggled to establish any sort of a running game in the first half.
But then running back Tyler Folkes started biting off chunks of yardage during a drive that started with a bit over eight and half minutes left in the second quarter.
On the 10 play, 65 yard drive, Folkes had six of the carries. His final one was a four-yard touchdown run on third down, as he went in motion out of a wide receiver spot and took the handoff.
He cut inside and dived for the goal line, squeezing himself between a pair of Montana Western defenders.
It was a sign of things to come in the second half. Folkes and Blake Counts started to find some space as a tired Montana Western defensive front started to be driven backwards. Folkes finished with 30 carries for 187 yards, while Counts had 20 carries for 73 yards.
Counts, a true freshman, also had two late touchdowns that helped seal the game.
“The defense was on the field the whole game,” Montana Western head coach Ryan Nourse said. “We had one or two guys on every offensive snap not getting the job done in a game like that. It wasn’t a deal where our defense couldn’t stop the run game, they had  yards in the first half. Just a good team that kept battling and out-toughed us and were able to run the ball at the end.
Montana Western had just 51 yards on the ground and only 28 in the second half. The Bulldogs played clean football, but the tough Oredigger defense held its ground.
More than that, Montana Tech was able to finish the game — something they had not done the last two seasons, when the Bulldogs beat with huge fourth quarters.
That was not the case at Bob Green Field on Saturday night, as Morrell was able to get win No. 50 at Montana Tech.
“The second half, we knew we had to come out strong. There was still a lot of football to be played,” Morrell said. “They came out and executed in the second half. I think we overcame a lot of adversity situations.”
406mtsports.com's Evan Reier contributed to this report.