The Battlin’ Bears shook the Frontier Conference with a dominating 40-14 win over Carroll College at Nelson Stadium in Helena. This is the first time Rocky has beaten the Saints at their home field since 2000.
The Bears finished with 503 yards of total offense; 297 yards on the ground and 206 yards passing. Quarterback Jacob Bakken made 18-25 pass attempts for 206 yards and ran one touchdown, Mason Melby had 12 carries for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Sam Sparks had 13 carries for 44 yards and one touchdown. RMC’s kicker, Griff Aimes, also contributed a total of 13 points for the Bears. “The offensive line is doing a lot better after the first few games” said Senior offensive lineman Jacob Roumanos. “Jacob [Bakken] is starting to trust us more to make our blocks, and he is able to make better decisions during plays. The three parts of our team (offense, defense and special teams) really came together against Carroll.”
On the defensive side, linebacker Billy Williams forced a fumble while safeties Keenan Fagan and Markale Moses caught an interception each. The defense forced three turnovers on the Saints. “A lot of the coaches have worked for Carroll College before, so they know about the rivalry between Carroll and Rocky” said redshirt junior linebacker Chase Bertleson. “We have a lot of new faces on the team, but this week everyone on the team bought in to really getting the jump on them and this time we put it together all four quarters.”
Fresh off the road win against Carroll, the Battlin’ Bears returned to Herb Klindt field on Saturday, Sept. 16 to take on conference opponent Montana Tech, currently one of the top teams in the country. The orediggers proved to be a challenge on the opening play as Tech’s Dylan McQueary connected with Dion Williams for a 75 yard touchdown. The orediggers scored two more times before going into the locker room, leading Rocky 20-0. Jason Petrino made a few adjustments during halftime and the Battlin’ Bears got themselves back in the game with a 1 yard touchdown run by Mason Melby. The orediggers pulled ahead by 2 scores with two more touchdown passes by McQueary to Sean Sullivan and Chris Kelly, with the score being 34-7. The Battlin’ Bears did not go quietly as they began to mount a late comeback in the 4th quarter. A 40 yard touchdown run by Max Gray shifted the momentum to the Battlin’ Bears. A couple of possessions later the offense mounted another successful drive with a 2 yard touchdown run by Mason Melby. The Bears successfully recovered an onside kick and Jacob Bakken connected with Lucas Overton for a 41 yard touchdown pass. Unfortunately, the bears ran out of time Montana Tech would left with the victory. The final score was 34-28.
“We are doing better as a team, but we cannot start slow like we did against Tech” Bertleson went on to say. “Things really started to click in the second half, but there was not enough time left in the game for us to finish the way we wanted to. Our goal is to keep up the consistency and have a better start to the game in the upcoming weeks.”
The Battlin’ Bears finished with 377 yards of total offense, which consisted of 164 yards rushing and 213 passing yards. Quarterback Jacob Bakken finished 16 out of 23 pass attempts for 213 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mason Melby had 12 carries for 75 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Lucas Overton had 2 receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown. Max Gray caught 3 passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, safety Keenan Fagan caught an interception and finished with 3 solo tackles, 7 assists, and a quarterback sack. Linebacker Billy Williams racked up 5 solo tackles and 5 assists. Linebacker Dallas Mack made 4 solo tackles and 5 assisted tackles. “We just need to start faster against a top 5 team” said Roumanos. “That game is behind us, we’re not focused on last week, we are focused on the next opponent.”
The Battlin’ Bears will be at home following their BYE week and road game at MSU-N0rthern for their second matchp against Carroll College on October 21.