Oredigger football team lands McCarthy, Gardner

Oredigger football team lands McCarthy, Gardner
Butte High's Kale McCarthy, ,left, and Butte Central's Seth Gardner are taking their talents to Montana Tech. (Butte Sports photos)

By Bill Foley

The Montana Orediggers are getting some more Butte flavor on their football team.

This week, the Orediggers are adding Butte High senior Kale McCarthy and Butte Central senior Seth Gardner to the program. McCarthy signed an NAIA Letter of Intent on Thursday. Gardner, who announced his commitment earlier this week, will sign on Friday.

“They’re getting all the Butte players,” Gardner said of the Orediggers.

The additions come a little more than a week after the Oredigger signed Butte Central running back Clay Fisher.

“We’re really happy to keep three players in town so far,” Tech coach Chuck Morrell said. “It’s always been a goal of mine to keep the best players in from going out of town.”

The 6-foot-1, 160-pound McCarthy inked with the Orediggers after an outstanding career with the Bulldogs. He earned a varsity letter three years, and started at cornerback the past two. McCarthy, who earned all-conference honors the past two years, was named All-State honorable mention last month.

McCarthy, who is in his second season as a key contributor for the Butte High varsity basketball team, will play cornerback or safety for the Orediggers.

“He’s had a lot of experience in the secondary at Butte High,” Morrell said. “He’s been a regular playmaker for them. He’s got some flexibility to play multiple positions on the back end.”

Over the past two seasons, McCarthy picked off seven passes. He returned one for a touchdown to cap Butte High 56-13 Senior Night win over Billings Skyview.

Butte High’s Kale McCarthy gets a block from teammate Kash Kelly on his way to a touchdown on a pick 6 against Billings Skyview Oct. 19 at Naranche Stadium. (Butte Sports file photo)

“I’ll do whatever they want me to do,” McCarthy said after basketball practice Thursday. “I’ll do whatever it takes to get on the field.”

McCarthy, the son of Mikelyn and Shane McCarthy, talked to other schools, but the 4.0 student was looking mostly at Tech because he wants to be a civil or electrical engineer.

“It’s where I wanted to go because of the school,” McCarthy said. “Nobody else has the engineer that Tech does.”

Signing to play college football is a dream come true for McCarthy.

“It’s a big dream. I’m excited about it,” he said. “Tech’s got a great program. Coach Morrell runs a pretty tight ship. He seems like a really nice guy. He’ll be my coach for everything because he’s the DB coach. I’ll get to know him pretty well.”

The 6-3, 300-pound Gardner will likely play offensive line for the Orediggers. He played guard and defensive tackle for the Bulldogs this past season.

Like McCarthy, Gardner scored a defensive touchdown this season. He recovered a fumble and rumbled 24 yards for a touchdown in BC’s 45-13 season-opening win over Ronan on Montana Tech’s Bob Green Field.

Gardner, the son of Greg and Lisa Gardner, was flagged for celebrating his first touchdown since he started playing football in the fourth grade.

“That’s my favorite moment,” Gardner said of the touchdown. “I was dancing in the end zone. If a big man scores he has got to dance. It was by far the best moment of my career.”

Butte Central senior defensive lineman Seth Gardner picks up a Maroon convoy on his way to scoring a touchdown on a fumble recovery Aug. 30 at Alumni Coliseum. (Butte Sports file photo)

Morrell said he is happy to land Gardner, a player the coach said is going to continue to grow and get better.

“We’re really excited we’re keeping him in town,” Morrell said. “The growth and progress he’s made the last couple of years has been outstanding.”

Like with McCarthy, Gardner said he focused mainly on the Orediggers.

Gardner plans to pursue a degree in interdisciplinary arts and sciences with the future goal of becoming a lawyer.

“Tech just stood out a lot. I like all the guys. They’re awesome,” Gardner said. “I love coach Morrell and (defensive line coach Alex) Garcia.”

The Orediggers are in the middle of recruiting season, and will likely be announcing all of their signings next month. The school hasn’t officially announced the additions of McCarthy, Gardner or Fisher, though Morrell confirmed the signings to Butte Sports.

“We’re really excited with both of them,” Morrell said of McCarthy and Gardner on Thursday. “We’re really pumped to add them into the mix.”

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