(Editor’s note: Carroll College athletics release)
BUTTE — Behind Shane Sipes’ school-record-tying four receiving touchdowns and three interceptions by the defense, the Carroll College Saints defeated Montana Tech 35-14 on Saturday at Alumni Coliseum during the Orediggers’ Senior Day.
“I respect Chuck Morrell so much for his program and what he’s done since he’s been here,” Saints coach Mike Van Diest said. “He’s a great coach. His team, they play football the way it’s meant to be played. For us to come over here and do what we did today is just a credit to these players. Win or lose, we always come back in practice on Monday. This was fun.”
Montana Tech took its opening drive and scored in just three plays when Jet Campbell hit Will Hunthausen for a 33-yard touchdown.
It was a short-lived lead as the Saints scored on the very next drive. Freshman quarterback Hunter Bledsoe tossed up a 19-yard pass to Sipes to knot the game at seven. The Saints’ defense locked in after that.
“After that first drive I wasn’t so sure, but we had to scramble a little bit,” Van Diest said of his defense. “They did a good job. They came back. We got a pass rush and some pressure.”
Bledsoe’s day ended in the second quarter after the young QB took a big hit. The Saints moved to redshirt sophomore Kolby Killoy who didn’t miss a beat, though the Saints went to a little trickery first.
With time winding down in the second quarter, the Saints put senior wide receiver Troy Arntson at quarterback in the red zone. Arntson rolled out before finding Joe Farris for the Saints’ second touchdown of the day. A blocked PAT gave the Saints a 13-7 lead going into the half.
Killoy kept the Saints momentum rolling in the third quarter, hooking up with Sipes for a 24-yard touchdown pass to give the Saints a 19-7 lead. But Tech stormed back and Campbell found all-conference receiver Dion Williams on a fade route to cut the Saints’ lead down to 19-14.
Carroll’s defense did its job again and the Saints’ offense continued to drive. Just when it looked like the Saints stalled out, Van Diest and offensive coordinator Nick Howlett stayed aggressive.
Looking at a 4th-and-19, the Saints kept the ball in Killoy’s hands, with the redshirt sophomore heaving a 30-yard touchdown pass to Sipes. Killoy hit Eric Dawson on the two-point conversion and the Saints led 27-14 late in the third quarter.
Sipes wasn’t done yet, either. And the Saints’ secondary was just about to get started.
Ryan Beaulieu, Parker Bernhardt and Drew Melton all reeled in interceptions, thwarting any hopes of Tech passing their way back into the game. And, for good measure, Sipes slammed the door shut.
Killoy gave Sipes a chance deep on a third-and-eight, and Sipes hauled in a difficult catch, stepping over a defender and making another miss on his way to a 53-yard touchdown and giving him a share of the school record of four touchdowns.
Sipes joined Scott Davis (1982) and Kevin McCutcheon (2004) as the only receivers in school history to catch four touchdowns in a game.
“Shane Sipes, we recruited him for the right reasons,” Van Diest said. “He’s a big time player. Him and Eric Dawson got the ball. Every time him and Dawson touched the ball something happened.”
Said Sipes after he learned he tied the school record: “It’s a pretty awesome feeling, especially to do it in Butte in a rivalry game. I’m just happy to get the win.”
“I think beating Northern (last week) showed us our offense can really drive,” Sipes continued. “We wanted to keep that momentum going this game and I think it showed.”
Sipes finished with six catches for 170 yards and four touchdowns. Three different Saints threw touchdowns on Saturday: Bledsoe, Arntson and Killoy (three).
The win broke a string of three consecutive 4-6 seasons by the Carroll College Saints (5-5, 4-5). The Saints’ fifth win guarantees them at least a 5-6 season.
Carroll closes out the season at Eastern Oregon next Saturday.