HELENA — Carroll College football coach Troy Purcell made it clear that he didn’t watch any film from last season.

He said he wanted to make sure everyone had a fair shot.

That goes for deciding who this year’s starting quarterback is going to be.

The Saints entered fall camp with four quarterbacks on the roster, but Purcell said he has narrowed it down to sophomore Devan Bridgewater and redshirt junior Kolby Killoy.

“Both these quarterbacks are competing right now,” Purcell said. “It’s a one, one type deal right now. Both are improving and they are where they need to be. I’ll get a better feel as fall camp goes on.”

Bridgewater transferred in from NCAA Division II Colorado State-Pueblo last spring and has been primarily been playing with the first team since the start of fall camp.

While he spent last year redshirting with the Thunder Wolves, that wasn’t to say he didn’t learn anything. Most of the guys he went up against were bigger than him.

“I saw 29 different NFL scouts at my practices and went up against a different team every day,” Bridgewater said. “That put my mind together and made me a smarter quarterback.”

But Bridgewater kept an open mind and kept learning once he arrived to Helena. He has already seen success playing for Eagle High School just outside Boise, where he won the 5A SIC Player of the Year award as a senior, but now he is competing at a higher level.

He wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I didn’t want to come in and be told I’m going to be the guy,” Bridgewater said. “I want to earn it and I want to compete because, when we go out there, I know Kolby is going to do his best. I know I have to do my best as well. I have four plays to show the coaches what I can do.”

Killoy is the veteran quarterback on the roster, entering his fourth season with the Saints.

Last year, he played in 10 out of the 11 regular season games, where he passed for 1,584 yards and eight touchdowns.

He was given the job after Reece Hiibel got injured in the opening game against Rocky Mountain, but shared time with Hunter Bledsoe after struggling to complete just 52 percent of his passes and throwing 10 interceptions.

After continuing to compete with Bledsoe week after week during the regular season, Killoy learned he can’t get down on himself if things don’t turn out the way he wants them too.

“You have to be ready no matter what,” Killoy said. “Someone could get injured just like that, or coaches might want to make a change on the fly. You never know out there.”

Purcell said one thing that he will not do is move to a dual-quarterback system. He tried it one season when he was coaching at Bozeman High School but didn’t like it.

“When your quarterback gets into rhythm and is lighting it up, you can’t pull him for someone else,” Purcell said. “I want one guy in there for consistency.”

Purcell said Bridgewater might have the edge over Killoy running on the fly, but both are accurate in their short and intermediate passing games.

“Right now, they are even (in this competition),” Purcell said.

No decision will be made until the week of the first game against Montana Western on Sept. 7.

“On the field, we are always going to be competitive,” Killoy said. “We both know only one guy gets to play on Saturdays and we know we have to come out and do our best every practice.”

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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

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