Diggers sign Paffhausen, Reich, Dennehy, 10 others

Montana Tech football coach Chuck Morrell announced the signing of 13 players Wednesday.

That list includes 10 players from Montana and three from out of state. It also includes area stars Mick Paffhausen of Dillon and Ethan Reich of Anaconda and Kalispell’s Zach Dennehy, the son of Butte High graduate Mark Dennehy.

Also signing with Tech are James Foote of Missoula, Nich Amestoy and Daniel Van Dyke of Helena, Bradley Humphreys of Great Falls, Cameron Nissen of Bigfork, Levi Lynde of Red Lodge, Zeb Bloom of Simms, Jordan Traynor of California, Jacob Nelson of Utah and Jimmy Weigel of Spokane.

“This is a great group for us as it helped us fill spots for many different positions,” Morrell said in a press release. “There are some unbelievable classroom achievements with this crew as well.

“This group of student-athletes certainly adds to the outstanding quality of the earlier signees that we have had this winter,” “We are continuing to work towards finishing out this class in the near future with a few more signings.”

Paffhausen was a star on the 2013 Class A state champion Dillon squad. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Paffhausen played safety and receiver for the Beavers. He will play offense at Montana Tech, Morrell said.

Paffhausen was named first-team All-State at strong safety last fall and was an All-Conference wide receiver. The Great Falls Tribune selected him to their Super State squad.

The Dillon standout is also set to play in both the Montana East West Shrine Game and the Montana-Dakota All-Star Game. Paffhausen also earned All-State in track last season winning gold in the 300-meter hurdles.

The son of Tom and Camy, Paffhausen plans on majoring in construction business management.

Reich is a 6-foot, 195-pounder who played running back and linebacker for the Copperheads.

He was a two-time All-Conference linebacker and was selected All-State his senior season. He led the Copperheads in tackles his junior (85) and senior (83) seasons. At running back, Reich earned a first team All-Conference nod rushing for 723 yards and a 5.4 yard average.

Reich excelled on the wrestling mat as well. Last winter he finished third at the Class A state tournament in the 160-pound weight class. He is currently ranked No. 1 at 170-pounds this year.

The son of Bill and Billie, Reich plans on pursuing a degree in general engineering.

Dennehy, a 6-4, 240-pound offensive lineman, was a standout for Kalispell Glacier High School.

“Zach had a great year as a mainstay on the front-lines for the state-runner up Glacier Wolfpack,” Morrell said.

Dennehy helped Glacier reach the state championship last year and the semi-finals in 2012. He is a two-time All-State selection on the offensive line earning first team as a senior and second team as a junior. This summer, Dennehy is slated to play in the Montana East West Shrine Game.

Not only did Dennehy find achievement on the grid iron, he succeeded in wrestling and track and field as well. On the mat, he finished sixth at state last year in the heavy weight division and was a member of the state championship team in 2012. Last spring he finished sixth at divisions in the discus.

In the classroom, Dennehy carries a 3.3 GPA. He is the president of the Wolfpack Leadership Club and has been a member of the student council throughout high school. The son of Mark and Kim, Dennehy plans on pursuing a degree in business.

Foote, a 6-foot-2 offensive tackle and defensive end, played prep for Missoula Big Sky. Foote was successful on both sides of the ball receiving an All-State honorable mention this past fall and second team All-Conference on the offensive line as a junior. On the defensive side, he was named second team All-State as a senior and first team All-Conference as a junior. Foote will play on the defensive line for Tech.

“James plays with extreme effort all of the time; he reminds me a lot of Jake Workman,” Morrell said.

Foote, the son of Roy Foote and Georgia Worden, has a 3.3 GPA and plans on majoring in business.

Amestoy, a 5-10, 210-pound linebacker and fullback for Helena High, will suit up on defense for Tech.

Amestoy was selected first team All-State at linebacker last fall. As a fullback, he was Honorable Mention All-State and was an All-Conference honorable mention as a long snapper as well. He was named Academic All-State in football.

The son of John Amestoy and Kristy Amestoy,  he plans on pursuing a degree in general engineering.

From the perennial tough Capital High defense, the 5-8, 160-pound Van Dyke suited up at cornerback for the Bruins and will play the same position for Tech.

Not only was Van Dyke a captain on the grid iron, he also leads the track and field team. He was selected first team All-Conference and second team All-State at corner. On special teams, he was named honorable mention All-Conference as a punt returner.  This summer he is playing in the East-West Shrine Game in Great Falls.

Van Dyke, the son of Jackie Ludwig and Rus Van Dyke, carries a 3.88 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. He plans on majoring in general engineering.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Humphreys was a running back and outside linebacker for Great Falls High.

“Brad is an athletic player that had a great year kicking the football,” Morrell said.

As a junior, Humphreys was a first team All-Conference and All-State punter. Last fall he was selected second team All-Conference as a kicker.

The son of Eileen Humphreys and Aaron Humphreys, Humprheys is pursuing a degree in engineering.

Nissen, who is 6-6, 205 pounds, played both ways for Bigfork High School. He will suit up on the offense for the Orediggers.

Nissen earned All-State at both tight end and defensive end. He was selected All-Conference at both positions as a junior.

“Cam is easily one of the most athletic players in Class B,” Morrell said. “He will be able to play multiple offensive positions with his frame and speed.”

Nissen, the son of Michael and Wendy, plans on pursuing a degree in nursing.

Lynde, 5-9” 160 pounds, played wide receiver and defensive back for Red Lodge.

Lynde was selected All-State on both offense and defense last fall. He is listed as an alternate for both the Montana East-West Shrine Game and the Badlands Bowl. He was selected to play in the Class B All-Star Game. As a junior, he earned All-Conference on offense and defense.

“Levis is a tough young man and a leader,” Morrell said. “He has shown the ability to play several different position for Coach Fitzgerald.”

In the classroom, Lynde is a four-time Academic All-State selection and a member of the National Honors Society. The son of Rich and Lori, he plans on majoring in petroleum engineering.

The 5-11, 190-pound Bloom lit up the 8-man state record books for Class C Simms this fall.

“Zeb Bloom put up some Tecmo Bowl numbers this year breaking several Class C records,” Morrell said.

The first team All-State quarterback broke numerous passing a scoring records last season. Bloom set the record for most points in a season (350), touchdowns (53), points in a single game (64), yards in a season (2,771), and yards per game (307.9). Bloom tied the state record for most touchdowns in a game with ten. He averaged 182.6 yards through the air and completed 60 percent of his passes. As a linebacker, he was also named All-State.

Bloom found success on the basketball court and in track and field as well. He was selected second team All-Conference in hoops and was an All-Conference thrower and jumper.

The son or Russell and Carol, Bloom plans on pursuing a degree in petroleum engineering. He carries a 3.81 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Traynor is a 6-2, 230-pound running back and linebacker from Rocklin, Calif.

While playing at Whitney High School, Traynor was a first team All-League linebacker as a junior and senior. He was named the Special Teams Player of the Year as a kicker both his junior and senior years.

The son of Sean and Erin, Traynor carries a 3.85 GPA and plans on majoring in general engineering.

Nelson, a 6-5, 285-pound force, played multiple positions on the offensive line for Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper, Utah.

“Jacob had a great year in the trenches and is one of the best heavyweight wrestlers in Utah,” Morrell said.

Nelson attended the 2013 Elite Lineman Camp. On the mat, he placed second in the 3A Region in 2013 and finished fourth in the Super Region.

The son of Anthony and Jennifer, Nelson plans on pursuing a degree in general engineering.

Weigel is a 6-2, 203-pound wide receiver, played prep for North Central High School in Spokane, Wash.

“Jimmy will quickly become an impact wide receiver for us with a combination of size and speed,” Morrell said.

Weigel had 83 catches and 1,363 yards receiving in his career while hauling in 13 touchdowns. He was selected All-League for the Greater Spokane League (GSL). He was also a two-time GSL Player of the Week, GSL Play of the Week and Hit of the Week. In addition, he was a two-time GSL Academic Player of the week.

The son of Jim and Jody, Weigel plans on majoring in biological sciences.

— ButteSport.com and Montana Tech Sports Information contributed to this report

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