BUTTE — Coach Kyle Samson will lead his team against his alma mater MSU-Northern on Saturday at 1 p.m. as the Orediggers look to finish the season with an even .500 record with a win.
Not only is Saturday's game the final contest of the season for Montana Tech, but it is also Senior Night, which is certain to be a special occasion for senior defensive back Logan Kolodejchuk.
"I'm excited. This week has been an emotional rollercoaster," Kolodejchuk said. "But the relationships I've made with these guys will last me a lifetime. The season didn't pan out how we wanted it to but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I trust my coaching staff with everything."
Kolodejchuk, a Kalispell native and construction business management major, tied his season-high with nine tackles last week against Montana Western.
While Kolodejchuk has improved his game on the field and voiced his appreciation for his time at Montana Tech, he said that the friendships he has built will be the most memorable aspect of his college football career. He also said that one day, he hopes to give back to the university as it has meant a lot to him.
"The relationships I've made and the times I've had are irreplaceable," Kolodejchuk said. "The relationships with my current coaches and teammates and my past ones have been great. It's not like saying goodbye because I know they'll always be in my corner."
"I'll graduate in the spring and head into construction management," Kolodejchuk continued. "Hopefully one day I'll be able to give back to this university that gave me this wonderful experience and degree."
The Senior Day game will also be significant for Samson. He once played quarterback at MSU-Northern and spent seven seasons as the Lights' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Montana Tech defeated MSU-Northern 23-13 in Havre earlier this season, which Samson said was a very memorable experience. But as the teams prepare to face off once again, Sampson said his focus is mostly on the seniors' last game.
"Really we're just focusing on our seniors this week as we go up against a good football team," Samson said. "There's definitely some great memories for my family and myself that were made up there at Northern, but really we're focusing on sending our seniors off right."
"These seniors represent what Montana Tech is about," Samson continued. "They're really good football players but even better men. They're the first guys to volunteer in the community, they will be super successful when they graduate."
The game will also conclude Samson's first season as the Orediggers' head coach. He held the position for more than a year before coaching his first game due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Samson, the players and the fans all experienced uncertainty during the pandemic, but Sampson praised his team, especially the seniors, for how they handled the uncertainty and always competed for one another.
"I was super fortunate to work with these guys in my first year as coach. It's impossible to thank them for all that they do," Samson said. "The last couple of years has been tough with the COVID stuff, but they did a great job keeping things together."
Montana Tech will enter Saturday's game after a 35-21 road loss to Montana Western. Samson said his team has looked to put that game behind them and recall their winning efforts in the two games prior.
Last week, the Orediggers struggled defensively where they allowed the Bulldogs to rush for 261 yards and two touchdowns, and also allowed three Bulldogs touchdowns through the air.
"I think our guys have done a good job preparing this week and they're excited to play one more time, especially with it being at home," Samson said. "We're trying to put the Western loss behind us because we were playing really well before that game."
"That's life," Samson continued. "Sometimes you just have to push forward. So we're going to enjoy the rest of the season with these seniors and hopefully we end it with a win at home."
In Montana Tech's previous win over MSU-Northern, quarterback Jet Campbell had one of the best games he has had all season. He threw for an even 300 yards and three touchdowns. Blake Counts also had a breakout game against the Lights where he rushed for 106 yards.
MSU-Northern lost to Rocky Mountain College 19-7 last week. The Lights struggled to run the ball against the Battlin' Bears and have only won one game this season, but Sampson said duel-threat quarterback Kaymen Cureton must be accounted for if the Orediggers wish to come away with a victory.
"When you know its your last game it's nice to have it at home in front of your fans," Samson said. "It's an opportunity to send the seniors out well, it's special with college football. It's unlike a lot of things, you know you won't put the pads on again."
"It's our job to send our seniors out with a win," Samson continued. "I'm proud of everything they've done for us. We're prepared for this game but really we're just doing the best we can for the seniors this week."