HELENA — Coming off of their exciting 21-6 win against the then-ranked No. 11 College of Idaho, that won them the Frontier Conference title, the No.15 Carroll College Fighting Saints have been preparing all week for their first round game of the NAIA Football Championship Series against the No. 2 Grand View University Vikings.
“You work for this, 365 days out of the year, you're trying to get to this point, for a conference championship, we earned that. And then now get to the point to get some national playoffs and again, 16 out of 100 teams, you got to go get to have this opportunity. And they're excited, we got good senior leadership, we got great culture around here. And the guys believe,” Carroll head coach Troy Purcell said.
The Vikings enter Saturday’s match up undefeated on the season, holding the most wins nationally. They’re also the 2021 national champion runners-up, and just took their fourth straight conference title.
“Very, very competitive, you know, their top end is some of the best. Well, it's obvious that they're number two ranked in the nation. They're a real, real solid conference over there. They're fun to watch, we had a chance to watch 10 games with them, everybody they played and what an exciting conference that they play in,” Purcell said.
To take down number two Purcell knows the Saints will have to go the distance all four quarters, and says at the end of the day "it’s just football."
“Everybody just being at your best when your best is needed, when that interception needs to happen, it can't hit you in the chest and drop off. When you need to make that touchdown catch, you got to be able to make it and make it stick," Purcell said. "Got to be able to make the throw, you got to be able to stay on that block just a couple more ticks, you know, so the quarterback can get to that post route and, and that's just everybody working together. Again, it's just a great sport because 11 guys have to be on a positive to get a positive play.”
Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. Mountain time at Williams Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.