Digger Football leads in all-conference selections

WHITE FISH, Mont. โ€“ The commissioner of the Frontier Conference today announced the football teams for all conferences. The Montana Tech Orediggers led the conference in all-conference selections as well as first-team honorees.

The Border Conference teams are determined by the head coaches of the leagues.

Tech led the conference with 13 all-conference selections that included a league-leading eight first-team picks.

Carroll College fielded 11 all-conference teams and the College of Idaho had 10. The Yotes five first-team selections, the most after the Orediggers. Rocky Mountain had four on the first team and the Saints fielded three.

The Orediggers’ first-team selections included three on offense and defense along with two from special teams. The second team honorees consisted of three from the offense and one from the defense and special teams. Per class, the Orediggers chose four seniors, three juniors, and three sophomores.

Trevor Hoffman, Blake Counts, and Jack Hiller were first-team selections for offense, while Blake Thelen, Carson Shuman, and Kyle Torgerson were named to the second team.

trevor hoffman

A 6-4 senior from Renton, Wash., Hoffman finished his career as the Orediggers’ all-time leader in receiving yards (2,897) and touchdowns (26). Hoffman led the conference in receiving yards (757), receptions (50) and was second in receiving touchdowns (6). The all-conference nod is the third for Hoffman, who was a first-team selection in 2019 and a second-team selection last season.

blake counts

Counts, a 5-11 junior, is making his first first-team appearance after being selected second-team all-conference in his freshman and sophomore seasons. From Kalispell, Counts finished the season with 803 rushing yards averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Counts has surpassed the century mark four times, including his last three games. He finished with six rushing touchdowns and caught three more.

jack hiller

Offensive lineman Hiller and Shuman earned their first all-conference awards. Hiller, who is a first-team selection, is a senior from La Center, Washington. Shuman was a second-team selection and is a junior from Helena, Montana. The Orediggers had one of the most consistent and productive offenses this season leading the league in scoring and second in total yardage. Hiller and Shuman led the offensive line that produced 1,663 rushing yards and a league-leading 24 rushing touchdowns. The Orediggers averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Tech’s offensive line gave the Oredigger quarterback plenty of time to get the pass and allow the fewest sacks in the conference this season.

Thelen, a sophomore quarterback from Great Falls, Montana, started his first game of his Tech career in the fourth game of the season against a ranked opponent on the road. Thelen threw three touchdowns in his first outing and finished with 12 for the season. He averaged 171.9 passing yards per game and completed 53.4% โ€‹โ€‹of his passes. Thelen led the conference in efficiency rating and threw fewest interceptions.

Torgerson, who earned second-team all-conference as a wide receiver and kick returner, is making his first appearance on all-conference teams. A sophomore from Great Falls, Torgerson was fourth in the conference in receptions (45) and was second behind Hoffman in total yards (709). Torgerson took on additional ball-returning duties and led the conference in all-purpose yardage this season with 1,376 total yards. He had the highest kick return rate in the league averaging 27.2 per return.

First team defensive picks were Keyshawn James-Newby, Jordan Washington and Naoki Harmer. Ben Windauer was given the second team defensive nod.

Keyshawn James Newby

James-Newby, a sophomore defensive lineman from Helena Montana, led the conference in sacks (9) and tackles for loss (14.5) this season. The Capital High product knocked down five passes, the most by a defensive lineman. James-Newby finished the season with 61 solo tackles with 30 stops. James-Newby forced a fumble and recovered two.

Washington and Harmer helped lead Oredigger High School which led the conference and ranked sixth in the nation in pass defense, giving up just 138.7 passing yards.

Jordan Washington

Washington, a junior from Torrance, California, is making his second first-team all-conference appearance. The corner shut down opposing receivers and finished fourth in the conference with nine pass breakups. Washington had 23 solo tackles and 43 total as he forced a fumble.

Naoki Harmer

Harmer, a senior from Bellevue, Washington, led the Orediggers and was fourth in the conference in tackles with 75. He also had six tackles for loss and forced two fumbles. Harmer continually interrupted the passing game and finished with eight pass breakups and one interception. Harmers’ speed and quickness down the field produced a league-high three blocked kicks, with two of them being recovered by technical defense for touchdowns.

Windauer, a senior linebacker from Columbia Falls, Montana, finished with 55 tackles. He was seventh in the conference with an average of 6.9 tackles per game. Windauer had 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Windauer had the first interception of his career returning it 31 yards for a touchdown.

Punter Andrew Almos and placekicker Ryan Lowry earned first-team all-conference special team honors in addition to Torgerson’s second-team nomination.

andres almos

Almos, a sophomore from Great Falls, Montana, was also a first-team selection as a freshman last year. Almos led the conference and was second nationally with an average of 42.3 yards per punt. Almos had the fewest attempts on a starting punt with 32 on the season, but he led the league in punts inside 20 with 21.

ryan lowry

Lowry, a sophomore from Pasco, Wash., led the Frontier in scoring, not just kickers, this season with 77 points. He missed just one extra point in 45 attempts and was 11-for-16 from the field with a 42-yard season. Lowry was 12 years old.the in the nation in points by a kicker.

Montana Tech finished the 2022 season with a 7-3 record. The Orediggers began the season unranked and were ranked 19th in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll for the year. Tech will return six of its all-conference picks, including four first-team honorees.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *