Oredigger Fever: Mines football fans rally behind team at local watch parties

Corinne Westeman
cwesteman@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/19/22

Like the Terminator, Colorado School of Mines players, coaches and fans shared the same sentiment this weekend: they’ll be back.

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Oredigger Fever: Mines football fans rally behind team at local watch parties

Posted

Like the Terminator, Colorado School of Mines players, coaches and fans shared the same sentiment this weekend: they’ll be back.

The Mines football team lost in the NCAA Division II National Championship game 41-14 to defending champs Ferris State on Dec. 17. The Orediggers were hoping to win the program’s first national title.

Thousands of Oredigger fans made the trek to watch the team play in McKinney, Texas. Meanwhile, hundreds more turned out for watch parties in and around Golden, including at the Golden Mill, Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza, and Evergreen’s The Wild Game.

At the 11 a.m. kick off, it was standing room only inside the Golden Mill. Hundreds of Mines students, parents, alumni and other fans had their eyes glued to the TV screens, cheering every time the team had a good play and singing the school fight song after the two Oredigger touchdowns.

While the outcome wasn’t what fans had hoped for, with many clearing out before the game ended, Golden’s Tim and Ellen Hawkins believed they could be back for a watch party next year.

Senior quarterback John Matocha, who won the 2022 Harlon Hill Trophy last week, has another year of eligibility left, Tim pointed out. So, Mines has a good shot to repeat this year’s successes.

“I’m happy they made it this far,” he said of the team. “It’s a very academically rigorous school, and they have the privilege of playing in the finals.”

The Hawkins said one of their daughters is a current Mines student while the other graduated from there. They frequent the Mines football games, and talked of driving to McKinney for the National Championship.

However, they opted for the Golden Mill’s watch party, saying they had good conversations with Mines students and alumni. The watch party atmosphere was a lot of fun, they continued, even though the Orediggers didn’t win.

Highlands Ranch’s Dillon Kolstad, who graduated from Mines last spring, felt similarly.

People were very excited to see the team go to its first title game, he described, so the place filled up quickly. He appreciated how Mines alumni of all ages showed up and added that he’d come back for a future watch party.

Isabella Libonate, a junior at Mines, said there were more attendees than she’d expected, but believed that only added to the energy.

That was exactly why Lindsey Melville and her family drove down from Westminster to watch the game in Golden. The family doesn’t have any ties to Mines specifically, but Melville has a lot of Golden connections. She said she and her family wanted to support a local team and watch the game with the students and other fans.

Lee Begin, who graduated from Mines on Dec. 16, attended the watch party with family members and friends were in town for his graduation.

He’s had classes with several of the football players, and went to high school with junior linebacker Adrian Moreno.

“It’s fun rooting for your friends and watching them succeed,” he continued.

While it was strange to see the crowds huddled around the TVs inside, rather than outside like usual, Golden Mill co-owner Don Martin said the venue was “the closest you can get to McKinney, Texas” in terms of Oredigger spirit.

He hoped to see Mines fans back at the Golden Mill soon, to cheer on all the Oredigger teams, including football next fall.

colorado, school, mines, football, team, fans, watch, party, parties, golden, mill, national, title, championship, ncaa, division, ii, d2, d-2, ferris, state

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