‘Clev’ offers Oredigger fans a glimpse of future

‘Clev’ offers Oredigger fans a glimpse of future
Kaimen Evans, left, and Jace Thompson

Blue stars Evans, Thompson are Tech recruits

By Bill Foley

When Blue Team members Kaimen Evans and Jace Thompson take the field for the 37th Bob Cleverley Class C All-Star Football Game Saturday night, they will be hoping to give Montana Tech fans a sign of great things to come.

Evans, from Belt, and Thompson, a Fort Benton star, have signed to play football at Montana Tech. First, though, they have two high school games left.

After playing for the Blue at 7 o’clock on Saturday on Tech’s Bob Green Field, Evans and Thompson will represent the East in the Montana East-West Shrine Game June 19 in Billings.

So, what can Oredigger fans expect to see from the only future Tech football players on the field Saturday?

“A dub,” Evans said with a smile after a 2-hour practice Friday morning on Tech’s HPER Field.

“We’re going to come out, play our hardest and beat the Red Team, hopefully,” Thompson added.

Evans and Thompson will both play linebacker and tailback for the Blue Team, which is made up of stars from the Northern and Southern divisions this year. The Red Team consists of players from the Eastern and Western divisions. (Blue roster; Red roster)

Those likely will not be the positions Evans and Thompson play when they don the Oredigger green in the fall.

Oredigger coach Kyle Samson said Thompson will likely play nickelback, while Evans will play safety.

“No. 1, they’re very athletic kids,” Samson said. “They play multiple positions. Both come from very successful programs and have been coached very well.”

While Samson said the two will likely begin on the defensive side of the ball. That could easily change. After all, Tech starting quarterback Jet Campbell began his Tech career as a receiver.

“I’m really excited about them,” Samson said of Evans and Thompson. “They are very multiple in what they can do, and very athletic. That bodes well for college. We can find them a position that fits well.”

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Thompson did it all at Fort Benton, where he was coached by his father, Jory. For the Longhorns, Thompson is a two-time first-team all-conference and All-State selection at linebacker and running back. He helped lead Fort Benton to the semifinals of the Class C 8-man playoffs the last two seasons.

The 6-2, 200-pound Evans earned first-team all-conference honors at running back, quarterback and linebacker. Last season, he was named All-State while playing linebacker and quarterback, leading coach Jeff Graham’s Huskies to the playoffs.

Both stood out in basketball and track for their respective schools as well. Thompson cleared 13 feet to win the pole vault and help lead the Longhorns to the Class C State title last week.

Evans ran to second place in the 200- and 400-meter races. He took third in the 100 and ran a leg of both Belt relay teams. The Huskies placed second in the 1,600 relay and fourth in the 400 relay.

Thompson was named All-State in basketball last year. Evans was on the Belt varsity hoops team since he was in eighth grade.

Thompson and Evans have long been rivals in the Northern C, competing in three sports. Fort Benton is 42 miles northeast of Great Falls, while Belt is 21 miles southeast of the Electric City.

They know each other well, but this week is the first time they got to know each other as teammates. They said they are looking forward to playing together Saturday and beyond.

“It’s nice to play with each other, other than at Tech,” Evans said.

Thompson added that he is eager to see what he can do while playing with and against the best the Class C 8-man game has to offer.

“I think going against 8-man’s best is going to be nice,” Thompson said. “You get to see how you compete against the best in 8-man.”

Thompson will don No. 21 for the Blue Team. Evans will wear No. 82. Those are two numbers that Oredigger fans will definitely be looking for. So will Samson, who stopped by the HPER Field to watch his future Orediggers practice Friday.

“We’re excited to come watch them compete tomorrow night,” Samson said. “What a cool deal for them to have one of their last high school games at the stadium where they’re going to be playing at for college.”

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