Going To The ‘Ship

Once again the Carroll College Saints have marched their way into another NAIA football championship game.  This time by rolling over undefeated Georgetown, Kentucky 35-3.

The Saints pushed Georgetown all over the field on Saturday, making it look something close to easy, on their way to the NAIA national championship for the second straight season and the eighth time in 10 years.   The Saints are marching on to Rome, Georgia again.

How good was Carroll on Saturday?  The Saints (13-1) amassed 447 yards of total offense and converted on nine of 14 third-down attempts in Saturday’s semifinal, and the purple-and-gold kept third-ranked Georgetown out of the end zone all afternoon. The Carroll defense has not given up a second-half score in its last four games.

The Saints’ defense shut down the Tigers’ first drive when cornerback Mike Siegersma batted away a Neal Pawsat pass in Carroll territory, and the offense needed just six plays to get on the board.   Quarterback Dane Broadhead hit tight end Anthony Hogan on a bootleg on third-and-2 for the first score of the game, when most were anticipating a Chance Demarais run; and the Saints scored on their second series on a reverse, when Matt Ritter took the ball and pitched it to backup quarterback Dakota Stonehouse, who then threw it 37 yards downfield to Anthony Clarke.  The Saints decided to mix things up against the very highly ranked Georgetown defense and it worked.

Against a defense that had been giving up just over 80 rushing yards per game, the Saints ran for 273 behind the one-two punch of Demarais and Dustin Rinker. Ritter also had 58 rushing yards and a score.  Despite seven different ball carriers, the Tigers managed just 68 yards on the ground.  The Georgetown QB Pawsat, a freshman, was 18 of 38 for 173 yards and an interception having to carry most of the offense on his shoulders since the Tigers running game was shut down by the Saints defense.  That defense led by Brian Strobel and Matt Upham with forced fumbles, interceptions and big tackles.

The reigning champion Carroll College Saints will face Saint Xavier in the title tilt December 17 in Rome, Georgia.  The Cougars upset top-ranked Marian 30-27 on the road Saturday.  The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 4:30pm ET.  The Saints are going to the “ship once again.

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