HELENA — Nov. 16, 2019 was the last time a Frontier Conference football game was played in Montana. Now, more than 480 days later, Frontier Conference football returns when the Carroll College Fighting Saints heads to Billings to take on the Rocky Mountain College Battlin' Bears on Saturday.
To say members of the Fighting Saints staff and their players are ready to get back on the field after this extended layoff is an understatement.
“I'm excited for our players. They put in so much physical work, so much time," said Fighting Saints offensive coordinator Alex Pfannenstiel. "And the fact that they get to go out there and then compete on game day, right? Against people from another school? Man, I just can't be more excited for the opportunity for our guys to get to go out and do what they love.”
"You can look around. We're really excited. Right now we're getting going. We got the juice going," said redshirt freshman tight end Logan Gilliard. "It's going to go by fast, I feel like, because we're ready to go."
When Carroll College faces the Battlin' Bears, they'll do so on a turf field. Before this year, Helena and its surrounding areas didn't have a turf surface that Carroll could use to assimilate to the playing conditions. On Saturday, East Helena High School welcomed the Fighting Saints onto their new turf field to get a feel of playing on a turf field, which was a crucial part of their preparations.
“On grass, it really makes us have to focus on cutting and planting," said redshirt freshman wide receiver Liang Liedle. "It just really makes us have to just really think about what we have to do for every step and every rep we do."
Both Liedle and Gilliard redshirted last year, and because of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the Frontier Conference to postpone football to the spring, it will be the first time both players get the opportunity to suit up and play football in Montana since late 2018.
"It's been quite a journey, because I haven't actually played a game since the fall of 2018," said Liedle. "It's just been a long, crazy ride. And now we're here. And I'm just really excited now."
"It's been almost two and a half years. It's been a long time for me. So I'm ready to get on the field play," said Gilliard
The Carroll College Fighting Saints head to Billings to take on the Rocky Mountain College Battlin' Bears on Saturday at 1 p.m.