HELENA — Helena Capital High football player Matt McGinley’s athletic versatility allowed him to be an asset for the football program will now be an addition to Carroll College.

McGinley, who opted to sign with Carroll College during National Signing Day Wednesday afternoon, could play multiple positions on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball in high school.

He will now be the fourth generation of football players in his family who all played for the Saints.

Based on that long-standing family tradition, McGinley said it was a relatively easy decision to opt to sign with Carroll.

Great grandfather Bernard McGinley, who is in the Montana Western Hall of Fame and according to Matt, even had a tryout with the Chicago Bears, and his father Mike and grandfather Steve all played for Carroll.

"Carroll has won conference championships and National championships, and I want to be part of bringing that back," McGinley said. "I was looked at pretty much by all of the Frontier Schools, but Carroll was the right fit for me. I decided signing with Carroll is what I wanted to do."

McGinley, who has played multiple positions, has been told he will play primarily safety for the Saints.

"I plan on coming in and helping the team in whatever way I can," McGinley said. "Whether it's special teams, help at safety or whatever position (I play), I am willing to help the team."

McGinley’s versatility should allow him to have success transitioning from  Class AA football to the NAIA Frontier League, according to Capital coach Kyle Mihelish.

“During his junior season, Matt played defensive back for us, and then we switched him to the offensive side of the ball during his senior year,” Mihelish said. “He is a very athletic and brilliant football player.”

McGinley’s football intellect was one of the other attributes that allowed him to play college football.

“Schematically, we do a lot of different things, so he played cornerback, quarterback and a little bit at receiver for us,” Mihelish said. “He did quite a few things for us.”

Mihelish said he felt first-year coach Troy Purcell factored into McGinley’s decision to opt to sign with Carroll.

“They are going to have a Helena kid who went through a good football program at Capital, and he will have a good relationship with Purcell, who is well aware of the McGlinley name, and a former Bruin,” Mihelish said.

The work ethic McGinley displayed at Capital is one of the reasons Mihelish feels he will have a successful transition from high school to college football.

“He’s a company kid,” Mihelish said. “He’s always on time to meetings and is never late. He just does all of the right things, and will never be a problem for Purcell and his group.”

Two other Bruins sign on the dotted line in football players Brian Buschini and Gus Hanson.

Buschini signed as a preferred walk-on, typical for special teams players, at the University of Montana. Hanson, defensive back, signed with the University of Montana Western.

Mehelish expressed excitement about his upcoming recruiting class, but says that Capital usually produces several college football players.

"We have a big football community, and we have a handful of kids," Mihelish said. "I am proud of all of the guys moving on. It's great to see so many football players have an opportunity to play college football."

Buschini, who was the kicker, aspires to compete for a starting position at the University of Montana immediately.

"I am ready to get to work, and see what I can do in terms of winning the job," Buschini said. "I am working as hard as I can for the team."

Hanson, who mulled over various collegiate options, said he chose Western, based on its football culture.

"I like Western, and I really like the area," Hanson said. "The football side of their culture was really cool, and I really liked it a lot."

Sheridan to Western

Capital girls basketball player Sydney Sheridan achieved her dream she's been aiming for as long as she can remember when she inked with the Montana Western's basketball program Wednesday afternoon at Capital High School's gym.

"It's always been a dream of mine since I was a little girl to play college basketball," Sheridan said. "It's exciting to make this step of committing, and I can't wait for the opportunity."

Sheridan, who had options outside of the state of Montana as well with other college offers, said when she visited the University of Montana Western's campus in Dillon, she was sold.

"It was nerve racking trying to decide on which school I wanted to attend," Sheridan said. "I took all of these different trips, but when I went to Western, I just felt like this is where I needed to be."

Sheridan opted to stay in the state where she cultivated her skills as a basketball player.

"I looked outside of Montana, but I am a Montana girl at heart," Sheridan said.

Bruins coach Katie Garcin-Forba said she has seen Sheridan grow exponentially as a player.

"She just continued to grow as a competitor, and worked really hard to get to this point," Garcin-Forba said. "She put in a ton of time in at the gym. Once the game slowed down around her, she was able to use her athletic ability to make plays other kids couldn't. She continues to work on distributing the ball, improving her passing and outside shooting, and from her freshman year, has developed her game from within."

Garcin-Forba knew when Sheridan came in as a freshman player, she would have a chance to play college basketball.

"She just loved the game of basketball when she came is a freshman," Garcin-Forba. "She was willing to put in the work, and she was a great athlete with the work ethic to achieve success."

Sheridan said she felt developed under Garcin-Forba's system transitioning from Pilgeram' system.

"Katie's style was just more flowing and free than under  system, and it was just really exciting," Sheridan said. "Coach Katie's system is much faster and more mobile as a player, and I am really thankful for her."

Sheridan credited Capital with allowing her to develop the skills necessary to transition to college.

"I've developed immensely through Capital High School, but during my freshman year I was just kind of a mess," Sheridan said. "Through the years, I developed into a player that has confidence on the floor, and my love for the game hasn't changed."

Garcin-Forba said Sheridan will have an easy time transitioning from high school to the NAIA level.

"This basketball program fits her style extremely well, and she will have a lot of success playing in a fast-paced offense up the floor," Garcin-Forba said. "She will naturally take the next step in her game."

Jason Blasco is the lead prep sports reporter for the Helena Indepedent-Record and a sports reporter for the 406mtsports.com network.

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