HELENA — Carroll College wrapped up spring drills last weekend with a scrimmage at Nelson Stadium, and fifth-year coach Troy Purcell said he was happy with how it all played out.
"We got out of here safe, no critical injuries, which is always a worry during spring ball," said Purcell, whose team earned a share of the Frontier Conference title and a berth in the NAIA playoffs last season. "So (I'm) real proud. Had a good performance and we improved."
Purcell, last year’s AFCA Region 5 coach of the year for the NAIA, said last Saturday's spring game was “kind of a Montana spring day, the field conditions weren’t great. But I’ll tell you what, the guys played hard, they played fast and we got to evaluate a lot of work from the last 14 days, so it was pretty fun out here today. Now it’s (on to) spring recruiting, it’s a short turn around."
The community of Helena was out in full force as Purcell estimated Carroll had over 1,000 fans in attendance. “We really appreciate that and we’re so thankful for that,” he said.
"To be around this program, be around Carroll, the city of Helena and our players, I’m very, very fortunate.” Purcell said. “It’s unbelievable here in Helena, you know the tradition here. It’s just exciting.”
Linebacker Hunter Peck emphasized the team's goals heading into next season: “Being the best team in the Frontier Conference (and) getting another shot at the playoffs.”
Andrew Carter, a returning offensive lineman and the 2022 Rimington Award winner for the NAIA, expressed optimism going into his senior season, saying, “Win. That’s the ultimate goal all the time, is to just keep winning. Its only fun if you’re winning right?”
Carter added: “The rule we have is you don’t take it off the field. Football is an emotional game, as long as you understand that you don’t carry it over into your actual life, that’s all that matters.”
Carroll will open the 2023 season on the road in Butte versus Montana Tech on Aug. 31. The Saints' first home game at Nelson Stadium will be played Sept. 9 against St. Thomas (Fla.).