Saints Football Opens Camp with Renewed Purpose - News, Sports and Weather

Saints Football Opens Camp with Renewed Purpose

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Day one of Carroll football's fall camp is an exciting time for everyone in Helena, but no one gets excited more than Mike Van Diest.

"Oh no this is the greatest thing in the world," said Van Diest. "We wait for this, I've been waiting for this since November 29th."

On offense the Saints lose key players such as center Alex Kastens, running back Dustin Rinker, and wide out Anthony Clark, but with quarterback Mac Roche returning, those concerns aren't as big.

"That's a big question mark that you don't have to answer," said Van Diest. "Mac Roche is a guy that came on the scene, and from the very first game out in Ashland, Oregon last year gave the fans a little bit of what was going to come for the rest of the year. And he certainly lived up to the billing."

"Yeah there might be a little more passing this year, but we have a bunch of guys that are going to step up and be able to run the football," said Roche. "We've got Dylan Green and Ryan Walsh. Those guys really compliment each other well."

On the defensive side the Saints will be without All American linebacker Sean Blomquist for the first time in four years, causing coach Van Diest to joke about retirement at Frontier media day. But coach is no stranger to replacing top defensive talents.

"That's happened every year it seems like. The great news is that we still have guys like Kyle Smith, we have Dowgen, we have Wymore, we have Gregory. At linebackers DeBruycker, Durbin, Osborn, those guys will make me smile. So I think I'll coach one more year with those guys."

Carroll opens their season the same way they ended it last year hosting Southern Oregon. This year the Raiders come to Helena as the number one ranked team in the country. And while they did eliminate the Saints in the quarterfinals last year, opening night won't be about revenge.

"Obviously you want to play the best team in the nation," said Roche. "Right now they're ranked number one. And I love that we're playing them in the first game. We'll see what we're made of and we'll see what they're made of."

After only being two games shy of a national championship appearance last year, the Saints are hoping what they're made of in 2015 is the stuff of champions.

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