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Frontier Conference Football: Week 7 top performers, storylines to follow, players of the week

Jack Prka versus Montana State Northern 2021

Carroll quarterback Jack Prka takes the snap during the Saints' game against Montana State Northern on Saturday inside Nelson Stadium.

HELENA — Heading into the second of two open weeks for Frontier Conference teams, Rocky Mountain College is still holding onto a one-game advantage over Montana Western and College of Idaho in the standings. Both the Bulldogs and Yotes won to keep pace with a Battlin’ Bears team that cranked out another 30-point performance, their fifth in six games.

Eastern Oregon dropped its third-straight game on Saturday, this time to Rocky Mountain, locking the Mountaineers in a three-way tie with Carroll and Southern Oregon for fourth place in the conference. Both Montana Tech and Montana State Northern lost again this week, keeping the Orediggers and Lights at the bottom of the league totem pole.

Dual-threat quarterbacks

Four times this season, a Frontier quarterback has passed for at least 100 yards and rushed for the same. Rocky Mountain College quarterback Nate Dick has accomplished that feat twice, including last Saturday against Eastern Oregon (224 pass yards, 123 rush yards).

Western signal-caller Jon Jund and College of Idaho’s Jack Rice are the only other quarterbacks in the league to pull that off. Rice passed for 103 yards and rushed for another 106 earlier in the season against Rocky Mountain, while Jund passed for 164 and rushed for 101 yards on Saturday against Southern Oregon.

Both Dick and Jund have thrown for over 1,500 yards in conference play this season. Jund is nearing 2,000 passing yards for the year with an extra non-conference game under his belt. The two quarterbacks have each thrown 13 touchdowns against Frontier teams through six games and average better than 250 passing yards per contest.

The pair has combined for nine rushing touchdowns, with Dick (438 yards) holding the edge over Jund (227) in total yards on the ground.

Field flipper

Montana Tech punter Andrew Almos has established himself as one of the best punters, not only in the Frontier, but in the NAIA. With four more punts for 195 yards against C of I on Saturday, the freshman has now punted for more than 1,000 total yards on the season, one of less than 40 punters in the NAIA to accomplish that so far this season.

Of his 22 punts, Almos has pinned teams inside their own 20-yard line 14 times, a number that is tied for fifth in the nation. He is one of just 23 punters in the NAIA to have a punt travel at least 66 yards and his 45.7 yards per boot ranks second in the country.

Almos played high school football under Mark Samson at Great Falls High where he was all-state and all-conference as both a quarterback and punter.

Frontier Conference in the polls

With a 17-point road win over Eastern Oregon, Rocky Mountain moved up four spots to No. 19 in the latest NAIA top-25 coaches poll released on Monday. At 5-1 and atop the conference, the Battlin’ Bears are the Frontier’s highest-ranked team, with Montana Western following closely behind at No. 21.

College of Idaho entered the top-25 this week after a come-from-behind against Montana Tech. The Yotes, now 4-2 on the season, are ranked No. 25, giving the Frontier three teams among the top-25 in the nation.

Conference Players of the Week

Offense: Quarterback Nate Dick, Rocky Mountain College

Defense: Defensive end Keagan McCoy, College of Idaho*

Special Teams: Kicker/punter Riley Garrett, Rocky Mountain College

*McCoy also earned NAIA National Player of the Week honors for his performance.

Week 7 top performers

Offense

Rocky Mountain College quarterback Nate Dick: 14-for-26 passing, 224 yards, 4 TDs -- 123 rush yards

Montana Western quarterback Jon Jund: 16-for-28 passing, 164 yards, 2 TDs -- 101 rush yards, 1 TD

College of Idaho quarterback Ryan Hibbs: 18-for-36 passing, 221 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs

Carroll running back Duncan Kraft: 155 rush yards, 1 TD

College of Idaho running back Nick Calzaretta: 64 rush yards, 1 TD -- 2 receptions, 25 yards, 1 TD

Montana Western wide receiver Nate Simkins: 8 receptions, 64 yards, 2 TDs

Rocky Mountain College wide receiver Lucas Overton: 2 receptions, 76 yards, 2 TDs

Southern Oregon wide receiver Bryce Goggin: 5 receptions, 99 yards

Rocky Mountain College wide receiver Trae Henry: 3 receptions, 63 yards, 1 TD

Montana Tech wide receiver Trevor Hoffman: 7 receptions, 93 yards

Trevor Hoffman 2021

Tech's Trevor Hoffman carries the ball up the sideline on Saturday in the Orediggers home game against the College of Idaho.

Defense

Montana State Northern linebacker Dylan Wampler: 12 tackles, 1 TFL

College of Idaho linebacker Dylan Martinez: 11 tackles, 1 sack, 1.5 TFL

College of Idaho defensive lineman Keagan McCoy: 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 fumble recovery (40-yard TD return)

Southern Oregon linebacker Bryce Kasch: 9 tackles, 0.5 sack, 0.5 TFL

Southern Oregon defensive back Stokes Botelho: 9 tackles, 2 TFL

Carroll linebacker Rex Irby: 8 tackles, 0.5 sack, 2 TFL, 1 INT

Montana Tech defensive back Naoki Harmer: 6 tackles, 2 pass break-ups, 1 INT (25-yard TD)

Montana Western defensive back Braden Swank: 7 tackles, 4 pass break-ups

Montana Western defensive lineman Tanner Harrell: 7 tackles, 2 TFL

Montana Tech linebacker Blake Allred: 9 tackles

Montana Tech linebacker Cole Wyant: 9 tackles

Special Teams

Rocky Mountain College kicker/punter Riley Garrett: 2-for-3 FG, 4-for-4 on extra point, 10 points -- 2 punts, 59 yards, 29.5 average, long 41, 1 punt inside 20-yard line

Montana Western wide receiver Trey Mounts: 2 kick off returns, 65 yards, 32.5 average, long 38 -- 3 punt returns, 86 yards, 28.7 average, long 31

Montana Tech punter Andrew Almos: 4 punts, 195 yards, 48.8 average, long 66, 3 punts inside 20-yard line

Montana Western punter Joseph Lema: 3 punts, 133 yards, 44.3 average, long 53, 2 punts inside 20-yard line

Eastern Oregon wide receiver Isaiah Thomas: 4 punt returns, 98 yards, 24.5 average, long 62 -- 1 kick off return, 25 yards

Southern Oregon wide receiver Shane McLaughlin: 5 kick off returns, 90 yards, 18 average, long 27

Rocky Mountain College punter Wyatt Brusven: 4 punts, 160 yards, 40 average, long 43, 1 punt inside 20-yard line

Montana Western kicker John Mears: 1-for-1 FG, 5-for-5 extra point, 8 points

Week 9 predictions

**No week eight conference games. Montana State Northern plays Simon Fraser University in Havre.

College of Idaho vs. Montana Western: Bulldogs 35, Yotes 21

This is a game for sole possession of second place in the Frontier. Both teams enter at 4-2, chasing a one-loss Rocky Mountain team. Western has to go on the road for this match-up, but the Bulldogs will bring with them the best scoring offense in the league (36 points per game), a unit that averages over 450 yards per contest behind quarterback Jon Jund.

Izayah Boss versus Carroll 2021

Montana State Northern running back Izayah Boss looks for some running room against the Carroll defense.

Montana State Northern vs. Eastern Oregon: Mountaineers 28, Lights 13

After starting the season 3-0, Eastern Oregon is back to .500 after three-straight losses. In their last four games, the Mountaineers are averaging just 9.3 points per game and have looked like a shell of the team that scored 26 and 35 points in the season’s first two contests.

The Lights have not won a league match-up in about five years, so this looks like a good opportunity for Eastern Oregon to get back on track.

Rocky Mountain College vs. Carroll: Battlin’ Bears 24, Saints 14

The Battlin’ Bears are rolling right now. Quarterback Nate Dick threw another four touchdowns on Saturday, giving him 13 in six games. As good as Rocky Mountain’s offense has been (415.8 yards per game), its defense has been porous, allowing over 400 yards of offense and 27.5 points per game to opponents.

That is good news for a Carroll team that will be coming off a season-high 34 points scored against Northern, and one that is looking to win its third-straight contest after starting the season 1-3.

Southern Oregon vs. Montana Tech: Raiders 21, Orediggers 17

Tech gave up a late lead against C of I on Saturday, dropping the Orediggers to 2-4. Southern Oregon was beaten soundly by Western in Dillon and is still searching for its first road win of the campaign. At home or at neutral sites in the state of Oregon, however, the Raiders are 3-0 this season, a trend that should give them an edge against a Tech team that has largely struggled through six games this season.

Email Daniel Shepard at daniel.shepard@406mtsports.com or find him on Twitter @IR_DanielS.

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