Frontier Conference Football: Week 12 top performers, storylines to follow, players of the week |  SWX Right Now

Frontier Conference Football: Week 12 top performers, storylines to follow, players of the week | SWX Right Now

HELENA — Where did the season go?

It feels like just last week it was August and team’s were gearing up for the season. Now, as we hit mid-November, seven Frontier Conference teams enter the off-season, while one – Carroll College – forges on to represent the league in the 16-team NAIA Football Championship Series.

Playoff bound

Back to Iowa go the Saints.

For the second time since 2014 (and the second time in three seasons), Carroll is playoff bound.

The Saints will travel east to battle an Iowa powerhouse.

Carroll is the No. 15 seed and will play No. 2 seed and defending national runner-up Grand View on Saturday in first-round action.

Carroll is still searching for his first playoff win – and first playoff points – since 2014 following a 55-0 blowout at the hands of Morningside (Iowa) in the spring of 2021.

Just like that spring season, the Saints got into the playoffs on the back of a defensive points allowed tiebreaker after Carroll and College of Idaho were both ranked top 20 in the final NAIA Coaches’ Top-25 Poll and each team claimed a share of the Frontier Championship and a head-to-head victory.

Carroll players react moments after taking the final snap in the Saints’ 21-6 victory over No. 11-ranked College of Idaho on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. The win secured the Saints a share of the Frontier Conference Championship and propelled them to a berth in the NAIA Football Championship Series.

Now, Carroll will rely on that defense to slow down the fifth-best scoring offense (42.2 PPG) in the nation.

Entering the playoffs, the Saints’ defense is ranked ninth in scoring defense (13.3 PPG), seventh in yards allowed per game (230.5 YPG), 11th in pass defense (159.1 YPG) and 10th in rush defense (71.4 YPG).

That unit has allowed 29 total points (5.8 PPG) during the Saints’ current five-game winning streak. Opposing teams are averaging just 146.2 yards of offense per game and no team has scored more than 17 points against Carroll during that stretch.

Four times in those five games the Saints have kept their opposition out of the end zone.

1,000-yard club

Montana Western redshirt senior Reese Neville is one of just 11 running backs in the NAIA to crack 1,000 yards on the ground this season.

Neville, a University of Nevada transfer in his second season with Western, broke the 1,000-yard barrier on Saturday with 177 yards in a 44-21 victory over Rocky Mountain College.

With 1,065 yards this season, Neville broke the Bulldogs’ single-season rushing record (1,061 yards) previously held by Sam Rufferford since 2014.

According to Western’s record books, Neville accomplished the feat on 42 less carries. He averaged 6.6 yards per rush (best in the Frontier) and finished the regular-season first in the conference in rush yards per game (96.8) and tied for first with nine rushing touchdowns.


Montana Western running back Reese Neville extends into the end zone for a second-quarter touchdown during the Bulldogs’ 35-14 win over No. 16 Dickinson State in Dillon on Sept. 10, 2022.


In Jerome Souers’ first season at the helm, MSU-Northern’s football team suffered its first winless season since the spring of 2021 (0-4), and the first winless season in a full 10- or 11-game campaign since 2015 (0 -11 overall, 0-10 Frontier).

The Lights scored just 24 total points in 10 games. They were shut out five times and did not score a touchdown in the final seven games.

Defensively, Northern gave up 45.9 points and 437.5 yards per game. Opposing teams scored at least 30 points nine times, at least 40 points six times, at least 50 points four times and at least 60 points twice.

Regular-season statistical leaders (all games)

Passing yards –

Jon Jund, Western – 2,401

Blake Asciutto, Southern Oregon – 2,067

Jack Prka, Carroll – 1,904

Passing TDs –

Jon Jund – 22

Blake Asciutto – 18

Jack Prka – 13

Rushing yards –

Reese Neville, Western – 1,065

Allamar Alexander, College of Idaho – 804

Blake Counts, Montana Tech – 803

Rushing TDs –

Hunter Gilbert, College of Idaho – 9

Jon Jund – 9

Reese Neville – 9

Receiving yards –

Trevor Hoffman, Tech – 757

Kyle Torgerson, Tech – 709

Christain Graney, Southern Oregon – 695

Receiving TDs –

Chris Akulschin, Carroll – 8

Trey Mounts, Western – 7

Trevor Hoffman/Dylan Shipley (Western)/Isaiah Thomas (Western) – 6

Chris Akulschin vs.  C of I

Carroll wide receiver Chris Akulschin caught seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 21-6 victory over No. 11-ranked College of Idaho on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Caldwell, Idaho.

Punt average (yards) –

Andrew Almos, Tech – 42.3

Matthew Victor Jr., MSU-Northern – 41.9

Wyatt Brusven, Rocky Mountain College – 41.0

All-purpose yards –

Kyle Torgerson – 1,376

Reese Neville – 1,270

Allamar Alexander – 926

Tackles –

Jake Regino, Southern Oregon – 113

Dylan Wampler, MSU-Northern – 91

Hunter Riley, MSU-Northern – 84

Bags –

Keyshawn James-Newby, Tech – 9

Tanner Harrell, Western – 8.5

Keagan McCoy, College of Idaho – 8


Montana Western defensive lineman Tanner Harrell first bumps with a teammate during the Bulldogs’ 35-14 win over No. 16-ranked Dickinson State on Sept. 10, 2022.

Intercepts –

Kaysan Barnett, Rocky – 5

Josh Mendoza, Eastern Oregon – 5

Keegan Croteau, College of Idaho – 4

Week 12 game results

No. 21 Carroll 21, No. 11 College of Idaho 6

RV Montana Tech 49, MSU-Northern 6

Montana Western 44, Rocky Mountain College 21

Eastern Oregon 21, Southern Oregon 14

Rex Irby vs.  C of I

Carroll linebacker and Boise, Idaho, native Rex Irby intercepted two passes in the Saints’ 21-6 victory over No. 11-ranked College of Idaho on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Caldwell, Idaho.

Frontier Conference football standings

Carroll – 8-2*

College of Idaho – 8-2*

Montana Tech – 7-3

Montana Western – 6-4 (7-4 overall)

Rocky Mountain College – 6-4

Southern Oregon 3-7

Eastern Oregon – 2-8 (2-9 overall)

MSU-Northern – 0-10

* – shared Frontier Conference Championship

Conference Players of the Week

Insulted: Quarterback Jack Prka, Carroll

Defense: Linebacker Rex Irby, Carroll

Special teams: Peter Wyatt Brusven, Rocky Mountain College

Jack Prka vs.  C of I

Carroll quarterback Jack Prka threw for a season-high 275 yards and three touchdowns in the Saints’ 21-6 victory over No. 11-ranked College of Idaho on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Caldwell, Idaho.

Frontier Conference teams in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll (released on Monday)

Carroll – No. 16 (previously No. 21)

College of Idaho – No. 18 (previously No. 11)

Montana Tech – No. 24 (previously receiving votes)

Montana Western – receiving votes

Week 12 top performers


Carroll quarterback Jack Prka: 17-for-27 passing, 275 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs

Montana Western quarterback Jon Jund: 21-for-32 passing, 337 yards, 4 TDs – 42 rushing yards

Jon Jund 2022

Montana Western quarterback Jon Jund attempts a pass during the Bulldogs’ 16-10 loss to Carroll College last Saturday inside Nelson Stadium.

Montana Western running back Reese Neville: 177 rushing yards, 2 TDs

Montana Western wide receiver Trey Mounts: 10 receptions, 132 yards, 2 TDs

Carroll wide receiver Chris Akulschin: 7 receptions, 133 yards, 1 TD

Montana Western wide receiver isaiah thomas: 4 receptions, 114 yards, 2 TDs

Eastern Oregon quarterback Andrew James: 15-for-25 passing, 282 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT – 36 rushing yards

Rocky Mountain College quarterback Trent Nobach: 34-for-53 passing, 324 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT – -17 rushing yards, 1 TD

Montana Tech running back Kaleb Winterburn: 122 rushing yards, 2 TDs

Tech vs.  Western (copy)

Montana Tech’s Kaleb Winterburn carries the ball as Tech’s Kyle Torgerson blocks on Nov. 5 against UM Western in Butte.

Southern Oregon quarterback Levi Durrell: 20-for-35 passing, 231 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT – 39 rushing yards, 1 TD


Carroll linebacker Rex Irby: 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 INTs

College of Idaho defensive lineman Keagan McCoy: 10 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 TFL

Montana Western linebacker Ben Howerton: 9 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFL

Montana Tech defensive back Naoki Harmer: 15 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 fumble recovery

MSU-Northern defensive back Hunter Riley: 13 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 break-up pass

College of Idaho defensive back Keegan Croteau: 8 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 break-up pass

Montana Tech defensive back Brandon Morley: 11 tackles, 0.5 TFL

Montana Western defensive lineman Tanner Harrell: 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 1 break-up pass

Southern Oregon defensive lineman Noah Turnbull: 8 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL

Rocky Mountain College defensive back Jack Cline: 9 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 break-up pass

Special teams

Rocky Mountain College punter Wyatt Brusven: 5 punts, 173 yards, 34.6-yard average, long 60, 1 touchback, 3 punts inside 20-yard line

Montana Western punter Eddie Dewart: 4 punts, 147 yards, 36.8-yard average, long 47, 3 punts inside 20-yard line

Montana Tech wide receiver Kyle Torgerson: 2 kick off returns, 94 yards, 47-yard average, long 64

Rocky Mountain College vs.  Montana Tech

Montana Tech’s Kyle Torgerson (#11) returns a kickoff during the Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears’ game against the Montana Tech Orediggers at Rocky Mountain College in Billings on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.

Southern Oregon punter colton samis: 3 punts, 143 yards, 47.7-yard average, long 61, 2 punts inside 20-yard line

Montana Tech kicker Ryan Lowry: 7-for-7 extra point, 7 points

Playoff prediction

No. 2 (#2 seed) Grand View vs. No. 16 (#15 seed) Carroll: Vikings 31, Saints 17

There’s no doubt Carroll is clicking on all cylinders right now, offensively and defensively.

The Saints climbed their way from the middle of the pack in the Frontier at 3-2 to the top at 8-2 by the end of the regular-season, but now it’s playoff time.

Forrest Suero and Jake Walk vs.  C of I

Carroll defensive linemen Forrest Suero (#91) and Jake Walk (#98) pursue College of Idaho quarterback Ryan Hibbs (#4) in the second half of the Saints’ 21-6 victory over the Yotes on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 .

Shutting down one of the nation’s top offenses (42.2 PPG) for four quarters and putting up points against the NAIA’s second-best scoring defense (8.5 PPG) will be a tough task.

This won’t be a 55-0 drubbing like Carroll experienced in the spring of 2021 against Morningside. Don’t be surprised if the game is close at halftime, or even if Carroll leads at some point in the first half – the Saints’ defense will keep them in the game.

Down the stretch, though, Grand View’s firepower will likely be too much for the Saints.

Live coverage: No. 3 Montana State Bobcats play at Cal Poly

Scoreboard: NAIA Football Championship Series pairings


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