HELENA — Quarterback competitions are becoming fairly common for Carroll College’s football team.

Last year, Kolby Killoy and Reese Hiibel battled all the way until the season started.

This year, it looks like it’ll be a little more crowded.

Adding to the current lineup of Killoy, Hunter Bledsoe and Zach Leahy, coach Troy Purcell signed NCAA Division II Colorado State University-Pueblo transfer Devan Bridgewater in February.

“I’m really glad he is here,” Purcell said. “He is making this quarterback competition even stronger.”

Although Purcell has not named his starting quarterback for next season, Bridgewater did take most of the snaps with the first team during Saturday’s spring game at Nelson Stadium.

Even though it’s his first season with the Saints, Bridgewater said he feels pretty comfortable playing in the new offense.

“Coach Purcell just told me what I have to do,” Bridgewater said. “Honestly, all praise to my offensive line. They are the ones that make me feel comfortable out there.”

Bridgewater arrived at Carroll after spending last season redshirting with Pueblo.

“I wasn’t really a big fan of Pueblo,” Bridgewater said. “(Carroll) talked to me a little bit in high school, but I wasn’t really interested in Montana at first. When coach (Jason) Petrino came over here, he started talking to me right away and it felt right.”

It didn’t hurt that Helena was significantly closer to his hometown of Eagle, Idaho, which is just outside Boise.

“This has been the best decision I have made,” Bridgewater said.

Bridgewater saw plenty of success while playing for Eagle High School, leading the Mustangs to eight wins his senior season and being named the 5A SIC Player of the Year.

During his junior season he threw for 1,372 yards and ran for 303 yards and five touchdowns.

After arriving to Pueblo, he soon found out that the college game was a lot quicker.

“There are a lot of fast guys. Being able to redshirt and go against (Pueblo’s) defense was challenging,” Bridgewater said. “Their defensive backs had the most interceptions of any Division II team in the country.”

Bridgewater was the shortest quarterback on the roster this spring, standing at 5-foot-11, but that didn’t stop him from showing off his versatility.

“Not only can he move well in the pocket, but he is pretty accurate,” Saints wide receiver Joe Farris said. “He can throw a pretty good deep ball.”

Though he is doing well, Bridgewater has no intentions of slowing down. He knows the quarterback battle will continue into fall camp.

“It’s been pretty close,” Bridgewater said. “I need to get better knowing the ins and outs of the offense so I can lead it to the best of my ability, and then also the little things like my footwork and my timing on throws.”

Ryan Kuhn covers Carroll College athletics for the Independent Record and 406mtsports.com. Email him at ryan.kuhn@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @rskuhn

Carroll College sports reporter

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