Saints march past Diggers at Nelson

HELENA — Saturday was a big-play day for the Carroll College Fighting Saints.

Every time Montana Tech got something going at Nelson Stadium, the Saints responded with a big play in a 38-10 Frontier Conference victory. Stats

“Any time there was a big play being made it was them,” Montana Tech coach Chuck Morrell said. “Their receivers came down and made some phenomenal catches at critical times. They made all the monster plays, and obviously we didn’t make very many big plays today.”

The biggest play came in the form of a pick 6 by Matt Wymore with 9 minutes, 52 seconds left in the second quarter.

Montana Tech tied the game at 7 on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Loudenback to Braxton Lucero early in the second quarter.

Braxton Lucero comes down with six points for the Orediggers.

The Saints broke that tie on Mac Roche’s second touchdown pass of the game. This time he hit a leaping Anthony Clarke for a 28-yard touchdown the drive after Tech tied the game.

A few plays later, Wymore jumped a pass by Loudenback in the left flat and he raced untouched for a 30-yard touchdown and a 21-7 lead after Matt Wiest’s extra point.

Morrell said the game started coming apart before Wymore’s touchdown pass. On third and long, the Saints converted on a screen pass to Clark to keep the scoring drive alive.

“We played some really poor team football at that point,” Morrell said. “It’s just disappointing on my end that we’re not playing very good disciplined football right now. There’s too many penalties, too many turnovers. Obviously, when we had the time to prepare we should have played much better today.”

Carroll had a chance to blow the game open late in the first half when a low snap to punter Tech punter Travis Farewell resulted in a rushed punt that sailed only to the Tech 18-yard line.

A Carroll defender hit Farewell, drawing a roughing-the-punter flag. That flag, though, was waved off because an official said the ball was tipped, something Farewell said never happened.

The controversial no-call, though, didn’t matter because Tech linebacker Mike Touzinsky recovered the ball after it was snapped way over Roche’s head, sending the game to halftime at 21-7.

The Orediggers opened the second half with a nice drive. Carroll, though, kept Tech out of the end zone, and Matt Berg booted a 40-yard field goal.

“We held them to a field goal, and that’s a big thing,” Carroll coach Mike Van Diest said. “You can’t let them get within seven. We still had that two-score cushion, and then we responded with a drive.”

The Saints killed any momentum when Dylan Simac capped that drive with a nine-yard TD reception from Roche.

That scoring play was set up by a diving catch by Kyle Griffith to the 10-yard line. It was one of several nice catches by the Carroll receivers, who helped Roche pass for 258 yards.

“Those receivers are very good, and Mac’s got a lot of confidence in them,” Van Diest said. “He’s got their confidence, and that’s a big thing. He doesn’t lose his poise back there. He’s a veteran. He hasn’t played, but he’s three years in the program.”

The Saints extended the lead to 35-10 on a 4-yard run by Dustin Rinker, who ran for 52-yards on 16 carries, on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Wiest added a 28-yard midway through the final frame.

Clarke caught seven passes for 129 yards to lead Carroll’s playmakers. Simac caught five passes, while Griffith and senior running back Jordan Pine each caught two.

Pine, who was wide open, caught an 18-yard touchdown pass to cap the opening drive to put the Saints up 7-0.

Morrell said third downs were killer for the Orediggers, who saw the Saints to 6 for 12 on third down conversions and 1 for 1 on fourth downs.

“Defensively, right now third-down execution is a flaw that we’ve got to be able to manage better,” the coach said.

The Orediggers played without senior running back Pat Hansen. He suited up but was held out with a calf injury suffered in the win over MSU-Northern two weeks ago.

Sophomore Nolan Saraceni got the start and ran for 69 yards on 23 carries.

Loudentback passed for 99 yards. He was picked off three times. James Dowgin and Adam DeBruycker intercepted passes.

Carroll’s Adam DeBruycker celebrates his interception.

Alec Bray caught five passes for 39 yards. Zach Bunney and Sean Sullivan joined Lucero with two receptions.

Levi Dawes also recovered a fumble, which was forced by Rial Gunlikson.

The 1-2 Orediggers are back in action next Saturday when they play host to Eastern Oregon on Homecoming weekend.

“They’re good football players and a good football team,” Morrell said of the Saints. “We think we’ve got some guys who can play, too. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board. Eastern Oregon is an outstanding football team. They’re going to be very good coming into our place. I just ask our guys to work for each other and play together.”

Tech’s Zach Bunney hauls in a pass.

The 1-1 Saints, who fell in a heartbreaker at Southern Oregon last week, head to Rocky Mountain College. The Bears won big at MSU-Northern on Saturday.

“There’s never an easy game,” Van Diest said. “All the easy games are in the spring.”

Tech receiver Alec Bray is brought down by Saints Shayne Durbin (42) and Austin Ybarra (45).

Tech safety Rial Gunlikson forces a Mac Roche fumble. Levi Dawes (52) caught the fumble out of the air.

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