HELENA -- Though the Carroll College football team didn't close out its season the way it would have liked, ending on a 28-26 loss, first-year head coach Troy Purcell said his team's spirit in that game exemplified their willingness to compete from the first day he met them.
"You want to end with a winning note and it just didn't come out that way, but the kids didn't quit," said Purcell. "That's No. 1, they didn't quit. They battled, they battled, and they battled. Again, it came down to the last play of the game to try to decide the game. Just proud of the kids and the coaching staff. There's a lot of stuff that happened in the last year."
Though the season did end on a sour note, the Fighting Saints posted their first winning record since 2014, they cracked the NAIA's top-25 rankings for the first time since 2016, and finished the season ranked No. 25 in the nation. Now just more than 72 hours removed from the 2019 season, Purcell knows the key to success is preparation. As a college football coach, that means hitting the road to evaluate talent.
"We've just got to have a good offseason. Right now, the recruiting is probably the most important part, (more) than even the season," said Purcell. "You've got to have good guys, you got to bring good guys in to continue the trend upward -- continue the tradition of excellence at Carroll College."