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Class of 2011
Carroll rebounds from Week 1 loss with blowout of Orediggers

September 13, 2014 6:10 pm  •  TROY SHOCKLEY Independent Record

It was far from perfect, but it was a win -- and that's just what the Saints needed.

Coming off a heartbreaking road loss at Southern Oregon to start the season, Carroll rolled to a 38-10 win Saturday over Montana Tech at Nelson Stadium. The Saints did it on the strength of their passing game and a ball-hawking defense that harassed the Orediggers all afternoon.

"It feels good. It always feels good to get the win, especially against Tech," Carroll wideout Anthony Clarke said. "We had a good week at practice; guys were mentally in there. We were there mentally and physically all week, and got well prepared for this game."

Clarke finished with a game-high 129 yards receiving, picking up chunks at a time on both screens and leaping, downfield grabs. He was one of five receivers with at least one catch in the win, helping first-year starter Mac Roche to another strong game. Throwing for nearly 300 yards a week ago, Roche passed for 258 and three scores in his home debut, hitting Clarke, Dylan Simac and Jordan Pine for touchdowns.

His feet and offensive line served him well, and he was sacked just twice.

"He works hard," Clarke said. "Even in his time when he was backing up Doc (Dakota Stonehouse), he was paying attention, knowing what he needs to do. So once he got the time to step in, he's done it like it's nothing. He's done his job, he's been there every day, and it's been fun."

The fun started early for the Saints, who put up the game's first points on an 18-yard pass from Roche to Pine, left all alone on the left when the quarterback rolled right and took the entire defense with him.

After swapping possessions -- Carroll (1-1) with its first of three interceptions and Tech (1-2) getting it back on its first of three recovered fumbles -- the Orediggers answered, tying it up on a third-and-9 play from the Carroll 12, Andrew Loudenback hitting Braxton Lucero in the back corner of the end zone early in the second quarter.

That, however, was about the last time all day Tech would have any momentum.

After Clarke picked up huge yards on a third-and-19 screen pass, Roche lofted a pass to the front corner of the end zone. It was Clarke, again, leaping for a fingertip grab at the goal line.

Then, Matt Wymore( class of 2011) happened.

Stepping in front of a Loudenback pass on a short, sideline route, the junior was off, stopping 30 yards later in the Tech end zone. Just like that, it was a two-score game.

"The coaches had a good call and I knew the formation they were in," Wymore said. "They like to throw that one, and it was third-and-short, so I just figured I'd for it and try to make a play.

"I thought I had a blocker in front of me, but I just turned on the jets and tried to get in."

Tech was able to get a 40-yard field goal early in the third quarter, but the game's result was never in question.

It made for a frustrating afternoon for the Orediggers, who now have lost their last 14 games in Helena.

"We definitely have to fix the little things," Tech running back Nolan Saraceni said. "We're making mistakes and shooting ourselves in the foot.

"It's just getting straight what we want to do. We need to align, assign and execute. We talk about it all week, what we need to do -- do your job, not worry about anyone else's. But I'll give it to Carroll. They had a good game."

Saraceni was limited to 69 yards on 23 carries to lead the rushing attack. The Saints also kept the visitors' passing game in check, with Loudenback only throwing for 99 yards. Playing big roles in that defensive effort were Jake Konen (3 sacks) Sean Condon (2 1/2 sacks and a game-high 10 tackles) and Shayne Durbin (9 tackles). In addition to Wymore's pick, Adam DeBruycker and James Dowgin also had interceptions in the win, while Ryan Gregory recorded five passes broken up.

That helped offset the three lost fumbles, along with the 71 yards lost to penalties.

"We're one step closer," Carroll coach Mike Van Diest said. "We've got a lot of things to do to stay on track. We need to get a couple of things cleaned up and get rid of the penalties. We just gotta make a little bit better plays and decisions on defense -- tackling up high and not the ankles. We've gotta tackle at the midsection.

"But, this team came back to work on Monday. They put that long bus ride and that loss behind, and it was a different team than the one we came home on the bus with."