By Bill Foley
Egan Lester might have set a record for how quickly he threw shade at his new biggest rival Wednesday.
The Butte Central senior signed with Montana Tech during a ceremony in the BC Rotunda. A few minutes earlier, his friend and high school teammate Bryan “Hugo” Holland signed with Carroll College.
“I don’t know if Carroll was the right decision,” Lester said slyly, “but I know Tech is.”
The comment, which came moments after Lester signed an NAIA Letter of Intent to play football for the Orediggers, drew a laugh from Tech head coach Kyle Samson, and it will surly play well with Oredigger Nation.
Samson said Oredigger fans will soon find other reasons to like the Butte Central running back.
“A big thing for us since I’ve been the coach is we want to make sure we were trying to get the best kids from Butte to stay here in town every single year,” Samson told those on hand for the signing. “We feel like Egan is one of those guys, and we’re super excited having him come up the hill.”
Lester, who announced his commitment just before Christmas, was an All-State snub after finishing the season as the No. 3 rusher in the Class A. He ran for 726 yards on seven touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards per carry on 134 rushes.
His season was basically cut to six games because of the coronavirus. He only carried the ball seven times as BC closed the season with a last-minute game at Glendive.
“We know he is going to be successful for us because he is a tough kid,” Samson said. “I’m sure he played every dang play for them this year. I think if they have more games, he probably breaks a couple of rushing records.”
BC coach Don Peoples Jr. pointed out that Lester plays basketball and baseball.
“I think in the last two years, he was among the best running backs in the Western A,” Peoples said. “He brought that toughness and that work ethic to our team every day. I think he’s got huge upside. He’s one of those kids who goes from sport to sport to sport. Now that he’s a one-sport guy, his celling is going to be at another level.”
Samson said he was drawn to Lester’s versatility. The Orediggers could use Lester as a running back, receiver or defensive back.
“The No. 1 thing with him is just his speed and his toughness,” Samson said. “We think he could be a heck of a player for us on offense with the ball in his hands. He could be a great returner. Defensively, I think he could be a great defensive back for us. He’s just a kid that we want to get the ball in his hands.”
Lester said he will play wherever needed at Montana Tech, where he said felt like “home.”
“I just it was the best fit for me,” Lester said. “The coaching staff felt like family since I met them. They were always there talking to me.”
BC principal J.P. Williams introduced Lester as family and classmates gathered around for the signing.
“It’s a very, very exciting day for Egan Lester and his family,” Williams said. “Today, you’re making your commitment to continuing your athletic and academic career at Montana Tech. We couldn’t be more excited for you.”
Lester shared the praise after he put pen to paper.
“I’d like to thank all my teammates, all my coaches and my family and friends for supporting me and getting me to where I’m at today,” he said. “So thank you guys.”
Then Lester added: “Time to be a Digger. Roll Digs, baby.”
Lester is the son of June and Sheriff Ed Lester. The 4.02 student said he is undecided on his major.