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Saints Football Picked to Win the Frontier

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 10:53 PM
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GREAT FALLS, Mont. – Defending Frontier Conference champion Carroll College was named the favorite to repeat as conference champions in the 2015 Preseason Coaches' Poll released today at the Frontier Conference Media Days in Great Falls. 

The Saints received five of eight first-place votes, national champion Southern Oregon received the three remaining first-place votes but the Saints edged out the Raiders with 47 points to 44 points. 

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. A first-place vote is worth seven points, second-place vote was worth six points, a third-place vote was worth five points and so on. 

Eastern Oregon was picked third with 36 points, Rocky Mountain was fourth with 28 points and Montana Western was fifth with 27 points. College of Idaho and Montana Tech tied for sixth with 16 points and MSU-Northern rounded out the poll with 10 points. 

The Saints were picked to win the conference in 2014 and followed through with a 9-1 conference record and a No. 1 NAIA ranking in the final regular-season coaches' poll. 
Carroll received a No. 5 ranking in the post-spring rankings. 

Fall camp begins on Aug. 13. 


Carroll College ... (5) 47 points 
Southern Oregon ... (3) 44 points 
Eastern Oregon ... 36 points 
Rocky Mountain ... 28 points 
Montana Western ... 27 points 
College of Idaho ... 16 points 
Montana Tech ... 16 points 
MSU-Northern ... 10 points

Saints Ranked Fourth in Preseason NAIA Poll

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 10:55 PM
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Carroll College Fighting Saints Football team tied for the No. 4 ranking in the NAIA Football Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll, released Monday.
The Saints moved up one spot from the spring ranking where they were ranked fifth. NAIA defending national champion Southern Oregon tied for the No. 1 spot with runner-up Marian.
Carroll opens the season against SOU on Sept. 5, at Nelson Stadium in Helena.
Eastern Oregon just missed out on the playoffs in 2014 and received the No. 13 ranking in the poll, they were the only other Frontier Conference school to land in the top 25. Montana Western just missed the poll and finished in a tied for the most votes outside of the top 25.
The Saints were picked to win the conference in the Frontier Conference preseason Coaches' Poll released at the Frontier Conference Media Day.
Fall camp begins Thursday for the Saints with just over three weeks until the matchup with the Raiders. 

Saints Football Begins Fall Practice

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 10:57 PM
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Prospectus l Roster l Schedule

HELENA, Mont. – 
The wait is finally over. After months of offseason workouts, weightlifting, conditioning and watching film, the Carroll College football team finally took the practice field Thursday in preparation for the Sept. 5 season opening matchup with defending national champion Southern Oregon.
The Saints edged out Southern Oregon in the Frontier Coaches' Poll but SOU held on to the top spot in the NAIA Top 25 Rankings. The Saints came in at No. 4.
Joining the veteran squad with 12 returning starters (six on offense, six on defense) is the largest recruiting class in school history, 47 freshmen. Veteran head coach Mike Van Diest is confident that the veterans on the team will put the young players in a position to succeed.
"Our juniors and seniors do a great job of leading by example and showing the younger guys what we expect here," Van Diest said. "They need to sprint to the football and run from one drill to the next. When they come off the field and go to the meeting room they need to stay alert and when they are off the field, in the dining hall and dorms they need to act in a respectful manner. If guys like James DowginGreg TuckerMac Roche or Ryan Armstrong need to step and say something they will but I don't anticipate that have to get on their teammates too much."
The Saints also have four new coaches on staff, two were athletes on last year's squad. Former Center Alex Kastens will work with the offensive line and tight ends and former wide receiver Anthony Clarke will work with the offense.
Also joining the staff are Marcus Mayo, a University of Montana graduate and Travis Andrus, a former Griz receiver who has worked in the Canadian Football League and the defunct United Football League.
"The core of coaches on both sides, offense and defense, are coming back," Van Diest said. "Nick Howlett and Jim Hogan Tyler Emmert on offense; myself, Joe Dunning Mason Siddick on defense.  The addition of these four guys makes a big difference in terms just another set of eyes at each position."
Preparation for the start of the season began just weeks after the NAIA Quarterfinal loss to SOU. Early morning winter condition, spring practice and summer workouts and film sessions all play a part in the work leading up Thursday's first practice. Players are expected to come into practice with a high level of conditioning, the real effort is getting players up to game speed.
"Our coaches worked 10 or 12 hours a day in the summer because there are 65 to 70 players here at one time," Van DIest said. "They come in at pretty good shape now they need to get into game shape, the speed of the game the tempo of the game, at practice we have to be able to simulate some of that."
The Carroll offense has a strong core of returning players led by Roche at the quarterback position. The senior signal caller was second-team all Frontier Conference in 2014. He returns two solid targets in senior receiver Dylan Simac and junior Kyle Griffith.
Three starting offensive linemen return to anchor the o-line, seniorsRyan Armstrong and Josh James as well as sophomore Chris Emter.
The Saints need to fill the rather large shoes of Carroll all-time leading rusher Dustin Rinker who finished his career in the NAIA top ten all-time rushers. Dylan Green and Ryan Walsh received the bulk of the work during spring drills but incoming freshmen Connor Poulson and Major Ali could battle for carries.
At the receiver position, redshirt freshman Troy Arnston had an impressive spring and should challenge for reps. Incoming freshman Connor Fohn brings in a lot of athleticism and will look to contribute right away.
On the offensive line, the Saints need to replace Kastens, a team captain and all-conference center. Starting right tackle Dominic Sallealso graduated. Several upperclassmen will compete for the open spots, including seniors Andrew and Michael Blum and juniors Tyson Budler and Grady Holt-Seavy.
Eric Dawson moved to the tight end position from linebacker and will look to contribute right away. Van Diest said repeatedly that Dawson has some of the best hands on the team.
Defensively, the Saints return four starters in the secondary including Second-Team All-American James Dowgin at Safety. Adam Debruycker makes the move to outside linebacker but senior Greg Tucker will move into his open starting spot. Second-Team All-Conference cornerbacks Matt Wymore and Ryan Gregory both return with the top three back-ups, senior Robbie Sharps and juniors Vince DiGiallonardo and Taylor South.
First-Team All-Conference Linebacker Shayne Durbin anchors the linebacker corps that needs to replace the production of 2013 NAIA Player of the Year Sean Blomquist. DeBruycker and Dawson Osbornwill look to start in the outside linebacker position, which should be a strength of the defense.
A lone question mark comes in the defensive line where the Saints need to replace the entire front. Seniors Kyle Smith and Gus Somerfield juniors Zeke Koslosky, Alec Basterrchea and Elliot McGill will battle for playing time. Sophomore Beaugh Meyer is back after sitting out last season with an injury, he played significant minutes as a freshman.  
Freshman T.J. Togiai brings a lot of athletic ability at the defensive tackle position and should compete for time right away.
Second-team All-American punter Rhys Felton graduated but sophomore Dylan Torgerson had an outstanding spring is on track to take over.
"Every year we sit here and worry about who's going to take the place of a Tyler Emmert or Gary Cooper or Jeff Shirley and now Sean BlomquistDakota Amy and Anthony Clarke but somebody always steps up," Van DIest said. "There is always somebody waiting in the wings because the coaches have done a great job recruiting the key for us."
The Saints have a little over three weeks to prepare for Southern Oregon. Season Tickets and individual game tickets are available by visiting the PE Center or by calling 447-4480.

Saints Football Scrimmage Set for Saturday

Contributed by admin on Aug 24, 2015 - 11:25 PM
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HELENA, Mont. - The Fighting Saints take the field on Saturday for their second scrimmage of this year's fall camp and head coach Mike Van Diest is looking to create more competition on both sides of the ball.
The defensive line lacks a returning starter but senior Kyle Smith and sophomore Beaugh Meyer have the most experience.

"I am pleased how the guys on the defensive line have progressed," Van Diest said. "Kyle and Beaugh both are playing physically and put on some weight in the offseason. Beaugh is using his hands a lot better than two years ago before he got hurt. Gus Somerfield is another guy who is impressive, he hasn't played in a game but he's been on this team for four years and he has come a long way."

The Carroll offense is progressing nicely under the helm of senior quarterback Mac Roche and Eric Dawson's move from the defense to tight end looks to be paying off. He has impressed Van Diest so far with his pass catching ability and is improving run blocking.

"Eric is just doing a great job," Van Diest said. "We've talked about in the paper and the media but he gives us something we haven't had since 2010 and that is a big weapon in the tight end position. That's a big plus for the offense. Now we have to put him in better position to run block and I think he is getting more physical in that aspect."

The battle for the starting running back position continues to be a tight contest between Dylan Green and Ryan Walsh. Walsh has made big strides since spring.

"Ryan has always had speed but he added a little bit of weight and I like how physical he has been," Van Diest said. "Ryan and Dylan Green are still battling but whoever doesn't start is going to get pretty equal time and that is a real plus for us."

Depth is a strength at a few positions, including quarterback, and the Carroll coaching staff doesn't want to see athleticism sit on the bench. Tanner Gustavsen currently sits third on the depth chart but he has found reps at receiver as well as with the quarterbacks.

 "Gustavsen is very much like Dakota Stonehouse, he is playing behind a great quarterback in Mac Roche and an experienced backup in JT Linder," Van Diest said. "It is hard to get a QB on the field but he is talented and athletic and it is a great opportunity to build some depth at the receiver position."

The defensive secondary is the most experienced group on the field with returning starters at every position and led by Second-Team All-American James Dowgin at Safety.

"Every time I see number four line up out there I get excited," Van Diest said. "We have had some great players here and this isn't to undermine anyone else who has ever played here but Dowgin is the best safety I have ever been around. His instincts are tremendous and the plays he makes are just awesome.  If I was at the University of Wyoming he would be playing for me there. James and Greg Tucker make a great duo."

The veterans aren't the only players turning head over the first nine days of practice, freshmen Connor FohnConner Poulson and Isazah King have all seen significant time with the first and second-team offense. Van Diest is excited continue to evaluate during Saturday's scrimmage.

"There are a lot of guys that people don't know much about like Green and Walsh at running back and a few young freshmen out there," Van Diest said. "This scrimmage is a great opportunity for us to get some great film and continue to evaluate and continue to build depth."

The scrimmage is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. Saturday at Nelson Stadium and is open to the public.

Offense Strikes First in Football Scrimmage

Contributed by admin on Aug 24, 2015 - 11:27 PM
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HELENA, Mont. – The offense struck first but the defense closed strong at Carroll College scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Nelson Stadium.
Ryan Walsh took the fifth play of the scrimmage and bounced it outside for 54 yards and a touchdown to open up the scoring. It was the bulk of his 69 yards.
Dylan Green, the other running back vying for the starting job had a respectable 23 yards on five carries.
The starting running back position is still the hottest contested position and it showed as the first team offense only ran four pass plays.
On Mac Roche's four attempts on the day two were completed, both going to converted tight end Eric Dawson.
Dawson compiled ten yards and a touchdown on a four-yard reception to cap the second first-team drive of the game.
Freshman running back Conner Poulson had three carries for 22 yards and a reception for 20 yards. He also had one long carry called back on a holding call.
Linder aired the ball out more than Roche. He was 7-for-8 for 82 yards.
 Head coach Mike Van Diest was pleased with his team's performance although there is still work to be done before the season opener on Sept. 5.
"There were some good things on both sides of the ball but I am really happy with the three running backs," Van Diest said. "You saw what Ryan Walsh can do with a little open space, I thought Dillon Green ran very hard between the tackles and Conner Poulson did some really good things today, not only running the ball but out there on a screen play too."
The Carroll defense didn't try to do too much, Van Diest wanted them to focus on the basics and it paid off with seven tackles for loss including a sack against Linder.
"We played pretty vanilla on defense today," Van Diest said. "We didn't blitz at all today and we didn't put them in too many bad situations. We just wanted to see them execute the fundamentals. Those are defenses that we run a lot and we need to execute on assignment, alignment football."
School starts Monday and the team will move to one-a-day practices for two weeks leading up to the home opener against Southern Oregon.

2015 Football Captains Announced

Contributed by admin on Aug 24, 2015 - 11:28 PM
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HELENA, Mont. – Head Coach Mike Van Diest announced the captains for the 2015 season as voted on by the members of the team after fall camp.

Mac RocheJames DowginRyan ArmstrongGreg Tucker and Shayne Durbin were all named captains.

"I don't think it is a surprise to anyone when you look at the guys who were voted captains," Van Diest said. "I think there are some other guys that would make great captains but there is no doubt in the leadership that these five bring."

In addition Van Diest appoint three senior non-captains to the senior leadership team who, along with the captains, will be involved in matters concerning the players.

Josh JamesKyle Smith and Dylan Simac were named to the group and Van Diest believes they bring a lot to the table.

"All eight of these seniors have grown so much in their time here and I want them to be leaders at their positions," Van Diest said. "With eight guys we have all of the positions covered and these guys can be a voice of their teammates."

The Saints open the Season on Sept. 5, when they host defending national champion Southern Oregon at Nelson Stadium at 1 p.m.