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NAIA Star Hopes to Get a Shot at NFL

December 21, 2003

SAVANNAH, Tenn. (AP) _ Mark Gallik knows the NFL is a long shot, even with his gaudy receiving stats. Gallik caught 13 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns in his last college game to lead Carroll College of Montana to its 19th straight win, a 41-28 victory over Northwestern Oklahoma State on Saturday for the NAIA championship.

Gallik caught 47 passes for 625 yards and nine touchdowns in four playoff games, leading the Saints (15-0) to their second straight title.

``When you’ve got receivers like Mark running routes like that ... and you’re on the same page with them, all you’ve got to do is get the ball in their general area,″ Saints quarterback Tyler Emmert said.

Gallik, 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, finished the season with 109 receptions for 1,920 yards and 19 TDs. He hopes to follow Casey Fitzsimmons, last year’s star for the Saints, into the NFL. Fitzsimmons is a rookie tight end with the Detroit Lions.

``It can be done,″ he said. ``If I get my shot, I’ll do the best I can.″

Emmert, the NAIA’s Player of the Year and the offensive MVP of the championship game, was 26-of-37 for 344 yards and TD passes of 11, 25 and 58 yards to Gallik. Emmert also rushed for Carroll’s first touchdown, leading to 28 straight points for the Saints.

``Mark runs tremendous routes, no one can cover him,″ Saints backup quarterback Robb Latrielle said. ``Tyler just puts the ball on the money.″

With the Saints leading 10-7, Emmert found Gallik three times for 55 of the Saints’ 80 yards on the drive, including an 11-yard TD pass to make it 17-7 with 2:43 left in the half.

Northwestern Oklahoma State (11-2) drove to Carroll’s 10 with no timeouts, but Mike Tyson tripped on the turf during a quick draw with 13 seconds left and time expired.

``If he doesn’t fall, there was a big hole there and he just walks it in,″ Rangers quarterback Patrick Crayton said. ``Unfortunately, he just tripped.″

Emmert found Gallik for a 25-yard TD to give the Saints a 24-7 lead with 10:06 left in the third, setting off a spurt of three Carroll TDs in three minutes.

Emmert, a sophomore, said he’ll miss Gallik, but knows it’s part of the challenge of staying on top.

``It hurt this year to lose Casey Fitzsimmons, and it’ll hurt next year to lose Mark,″ Emmert said. ``We won the championship again, but now we’re back to square one.″

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