Diggers get commitment from BC’s Eyston Lakkala

Diggers get commitment from BC’s Eyston Lakkala
Butte Central's Eyston Lakkala looks to the sideline during BC's Oct. 1 home game against Dillon. (Butte Sports file photo by Shelly Davis)

By Bill Foley

Eyston Lakkala said he always wanted to play football with his longtime pal Cole Stewart.

But Lakkala was a Butte Central Maroon, and Stewart played for Butte High. Even though the friends tried to recruit each other to their schools, they played out their high school careers in different colors.

Now, both players will wear Oredigger green.

One day after Stewart committed to play football at Montana Tech, Lakkala announced, too, that he will be an Oredigger. He made his announcement on Twitter.

“When I saw he committed yesterday, it is kind of a big deal,” Lakkala said of Stewart. “He’s been trying to get me to go to Butte High all these years.

“Me and Stewie have been close since elementary school. It will be good to wear the same jersey as him.”

A three-year starter for the Maroons, Lakkala is a player who can contribute on either side of the ball for the Orediggers. He ran for 353 yards and seven touchdowns in seven games this past season. He also caught a touchdown pass.

Those stats include a 138-yard game in BC’s season opening win at Browning. He scored three touchdowns in that game and three more in Central’s season-ending win over Stevensville.

He probably would have at least doubled those numbers if he did not spit carries with junior Konnor Pochervina. Both had huge games this season for the Maroons.

“Connor Pochervina is a stud,” Lakkala said. “We would switch between running back and halfback.”

Defense, though, is Lakkala’s favorite position. The Maroons do not have defensive stats posted, but he had to have averaged at least 10 total tackles per game as a linebacker.

He figures to be a fit as a safety, nickel back or outside linebacker for the Maroons.

“I like that because I’m a defensive guy,” Lakkala said. “I’m going to play wherever they need me. But if you I had my choice, I’d play defense.”

Lakkala said he is listed at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, and he has room to grow.

“I’m 175 but we give me that extra five to make me sound bigger,” he said. “I’m probably that size in pads.”

Lakkala, the son of Scott and Airika Lakkala, is also a standout baseball player for the Butte Miners. He is a versatile player who can play many positions, including pitcher and catcher. Without question, Lakkala could have options to play college baseball.

“All my family wanted me to go play baseball, but I’ve been set on football,” he said. “My dad was a really good football player. I think I get it from him. I just like hitting people.”

There is also the alure of playing on Friday nights and now Saturday afternoons

“There’s some about football on a Friday night,” Lakkala said. “It’s definitely a special feeling.”

Lakkala, though, still plans to take the field for the Miners and new head coach Jim LeProwse in 2022.

“I think we’re going to be pretty good this year in baseball,” he said. “I might as well stick with it one more year.”

In addition to playing with Stewart, Lakkala said playing in front of his large extended family in Butte was also a lure to the Orediggers.

“I think it’s awesome to play in front of my hometown,” he said. “It’s kind of been a dream of my for a while. I’ve got a lot of family here.”

Lakkala has not nailed down a major just yet, but he knows he has plenty of solid options at Tech.

“I just want to be a part of something that is going to be great,” he said. “I just wanted to do what’s best for me, and that’s staying in Butte and playing for the Diggers in front of my family.”

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