Saint-Ignace’s last football victory is historic

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ST. IGNATIUS – The Saint-Ignace Bulldogs (Mission) have enjoyed a steady rise over the past two years on the football field.

In 2019, the Bulldogs ended an 18-year playoff drought and made their way to the playoffs again in 2020, both under former head coach Tyler Murray. But last Saturday the Bulldogs made school history again by winning their first football playoff game in over 30 years.

St. Ignatius made the long trip east to face Joliet in the first round of the playoffs at 8 on Saturday. The Bulldogs, seeded No.3 among 8 players in the West, left no doubt winning the game 34-12, the school’s first playoff victory since 1988.

This is Carson Oakland’s first year as a head coach, and the Glendive native and former Dickinson State player and coach said the playoff experience his players have gained over the past two years paid off in this latest victory.

“It’s all kids, man. All the credit goes to them,” Oakland said in practice Tuesday. “They bought into this thing. They’ve been here two years, haven’t done the job, and I think they’re a little hungrier this year and some guys who played sophomore and freshman, they’re juniors and seniors now and they know what it’s like to play in that playoff atmosphere, so it was good for them. “

Kyle Hansen / MTN Sports

Saint-Ignace football players exercise during training on November 2, 2021.

The Mission program has grown step by step, which players like Kellen McClure have seen firsthand.

The junior is in his third year as a quarterback starter and threw three touchdown passes in Saturday’s victory.

“It was super awesome, especially with the seniors now, they were sophomore back then when we first made the playoffs and just to see the growth,” said McClure, who is also playing safe. . “Losing on the first lap in the last two years sucked, but coming back here and finally getting one more step, I mean, it’s one more step on that ladder, it was good to climb.”

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Kyle Hansen / MTN Sports

St. Ignatius quarterback Kellen McClure (10) greets a teammate during practice on November 2, 2021.

With just 22 players on this year’s squad, including eight seniors, their job is still done for them, as St. Ignatius (7-2) returns to the road this week to face the seed North at Fort Benton. . (7-1).

But for the Bulldogs, scaling that last mountain was another step in the right direction for the program.

“The sophomore year we were sort of working towards that and the junior year was working on it and the senior year finally got it, so it’s pretty big,” said the senior running back and linebacker. Charley Adams. “It means a lot because we started off by not winning games to have this winning culture. We’re just changing the culture here.”


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