Football Picked Fourth in Heart Preseason Poll

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 11:24 PM
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Kansas City, MO – The 2015 Heart of America Athletic Conference Football Media Day took place yesterday. Graceland Head Coach Jeff Douglas was front and center talking about the comeback season that he's expecting the Yellowjackets to have. 

Following a difficult set of circumstances after last season, the Yellowjacket football program has been picked in the middle of the Heart in the preseason poll. With the past behind them, GU has an optimistic outlook with an impressive recruiting class, some new editions to the coaching staff, and a healthy group of returning group student-athletes.  There is no question that a winning season is within grasp.

"We are excited about the upcoming season," said Coach Douglas "I thought we made a major step in the right direction last year going 6-5 on the field. The athletes have had a great off season, and were all excited to get this year started."

The other big topic of discussion at media day was the new partnership with Niles Media Group. This new relationship will televise football games for the upcoming 2015 season. These games will be available on ESPN3, as well as being carried through Mediacom on channel 22 in Iowa and a few surrounding states. They will also be available in the Kansas City area on KSMO-TV.  

Graceland will have two games televised; the first on September 5th (Graceland at Missouri Valley, 11am) and the second will be at home when they take on Central Methodist on September 26th also at 11am.

"From our stand point this is a winning situation for both the football program and the University," said Coach Douglas. "This allows Graceland to get the football program out and in front of people that wouldn't have normally have even heard of us. This ultimately is helping us expand our recruiting areas which will increase our enrollment."

The GU football team kicks off its 2015 season on August 29th at 6pm against Avila University at home in Lamoni, IA.

2015 Heart Preseason Coaches' Poll
1    Grand View (4)    49
2    Benedictine (1)    45
3    William Penn (1)44
4    Graceland    36
5    Peru State    34
6    Culver-Stockton     32

Grand View, MidAmerica Nazarene Picked to Win Division Title

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 11:21 PM

(Peru, Neb.) – In the first season with two divisions, the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) football coaches picked Grand View and MidAmerica Nazarene (MNU) to win the Northern and Southern Division titles, respectively, in the 2015 Heart Football Coaches' Preseason Poll.
In the first season in the conference, Grand View claimed four of six first place votes to earn 49 points in Northern Division voting. Benedictine and William Penn each earned one first place vote to end up one point apart in second and third place, respectively, while Graceland, Peru State, and Culver-Stockton took the final three spots.
Bobcat head coach Steve Schneider was not surprised with the Peru State poll position. Schneider stated, "With the addition of Grand View and William Penn to the league and then having them in our division, this prediction is not a total surprise. We are looking to improve upon the pre-season poll and should do so as long as we stay healthy and play well throughout the season."
MNU also picked up four first place votes after sharing the conference championship last season and was picked to win the Southern Division crown. Similar to the other division, Missouri Valley and Baker each picked up one first place tally to sit in second and third, respectively, while the last three sports in the division were occupied by Evangel, Central Methodist, and Avila.
The 2015 season kicks off with a full slate of six games on Saturday, August 29. The first game to kickoff will be in Des Moines, Iowa, as Grand View hosts Baker in what is expected to be a Top 20 showdown at 11:00 a.m. The game will also be the first in a 13-game schedule of contest to be televised locally on KSMO-TV (Kansas City) and distributed through Mediacom throughout Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri. The game will also be broadcast on ESPN3 and the watch ESPN app, creating a potential audience of more than 100 million viewers.
Northern Division
Team (1st Place Votes)                     Points

  1. Grand View (4)                      49
  2. Benedictine (1)                      45
  3. William Penn (1)                    44
  4. Graceland                             36
  5. Peru State                             34
  6. Culver-Stockton                    32

Southern Division
Team (1st Place Votes                     Points

  1. MidAmerica Nazarene (4)    49
  2. Missouri Valley (1)               46
  3. Baker (1)                              43
  4. Evangel                               37
  5. Central Methodist                35
  6. Avila                                    30

Grand View Picked to Win Heart of America Northern Division Title

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 11:17 PM
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In its first year in the Heart of America Conference, Grand View has been picked to win the Northern Division in the 2015 Heart Football Preseason Coaches' Poll released on Monday.

Grand View will compete in the Heart Northern Division against Benedictine (Kan.), Culver-Stockton (Mo.), Graceland (Iowa), Peru State (Neb.), and William Penn (Iowa).

The Vikings tallied 49 points and four first place votes in the poll, followed by Benedictine (45), William Penn (44), Graceland (36), Peru State (34), and Culver-Stockton (32).

The Heart Southern Division consists of Avila (Kan.), Baker (Kan.), Central Methodist (Mo.), Evangel (Mo.), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), and Missouri Valley. MidAmerica Nazarene was picked to win the Heart Southern Division with 49 points and four first place votes.

Grand View kicks off its season on August 29 at home against Baker at 11 a.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the Watch ESPN app.

2015 Heart of America Football Coaches' Preseason Poll
Northern Division
1. Grand View  (49)
2. Benedictine (45)
3. William Penn (44)
4. Graceland (36)
5. Peru State (34)
6. Culver-Stockton (32)

Southern Division
1. MidAmerica Nazarene (49)
2. Missouri Valley (46)
3. Baker (43)
4. Evangel (37)
5. Central Methodist (35)
6. Avila (30)

Heart coaches select Football second in Northern Division

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 11:13 PM
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OLATHE – The annual Heart of America Athletic Conference Football Media Day moved to Olathe on Monday as part of the first-ever Heart Summit.

After the various coaches, administrators and support staff gathered for professional development, lunch and meetings, the football coaches gathered to meet with area media, including the Niles Media Group who will be the Heart's broadcast partner this season.

Head coach Larry Wilcox and the Ravens earned 45 points to earn the No. 2 spot in the Heart's Northern Division.

For the first time since joining the Heart for the 1992 season, the Ravens entire slate of games this season will be within conference play as they not only play the five remaining Northern Division teams but the six Southern Division teams.

"There are pluses and minuses (to the new format)," said Coach Wilcox. "A plus is that our entire schedule is set, we know who we're playing and when we're playing. It's going to be a grind with the addition of two more good schools."

Grand View (Iowa) University and William Penn (Iowa) University officially begin play this season as member's of the Heart and will play in the Northern Division with the Ravens.

Grand View was selected to win the division with 49 points and four first place votes while William Penn received 44 points and one first-place vote. Benedictine earned the remaining first-place vote.

"The conference had really started to improve prior to our additions," said Coach Wilcox. "Now the conference is going to be tougher. One of our biggest challenges will be to develop depth. Not many teams are going to be able to go through this schedule and not need more than one starter at a position."

With the addition of Grand View and William Penn isn't the only addition for the Heart heading into 2015. Over the summer, the conference announced a television deal in association with Niles Media Group to broadcast games in the Kansas City market on KSMO and nationally through ESPN3.

"Its exciting for our conference, Benedictine and our players to have those television games," said Coach Wilcox.

The Ravens kick off the season at 1 p.m. Aug. 29 when they host Evangel University. Benedictine will be featured four times on ESPN3 beginning Sept. 12 at home against Missouri Valley College, Sept. 19 at MNU, Oct. 10 at home against Culver-Stockton College and finally Oct. 31 at William Penn. All broadcasted games will kick off at 11 a.m.

Viking Football Picked Second in Heart Southern Division

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 11:10 PM

Marshall, Mo. (August 3, 2015)- The Missouri Valley College football team was picked to finished No. 2 in the new Heart of America Athletic Conference Southern Division.  The 2015 Preseason Heart of America Athletic Conference Coaches’ Division Poll was released Monday before the Heart Media Dayin Olathe, Kan.


Missouri Valley received 46 points in the division poll, including one first place vote.  The Vikings finished three points behind MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) University, which received four first place votes and 49 points.  Baker (Kan.) University was picked to finish third with one first place vote and 43 points.  Evangel (Mo.) University came in at No. 4, followed by Central Methodist (Mo.) University at No. 5 and Avila (Mo.) University picked last in the Heart Southern Division.  Grand View (Iowa) University was picked to win the Heart Northern Division with four first place votes and 49 total points.


The Heart will split up into two six-team divisions beginning with the 2015 season after the additions of Grand View and William Penn (Iowa) University that expanded the conference to 12 teams .  All teams in the Heart will play each other during the regular season, but each division winner will receive an automatic berth into the NAIA FCS based on records against conference opponents.


The Missouri Valley football team enters the 2015 season after winning a fourth-straight Heart championship, playing in a fourth-straight NAIA Football Championship Series and finishing with a 9-3 overall record in 2014.  The Vikings are currently ranked No. 8 in the latest edition of the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.


The Vikings return a number of starters from last year’s team, including a pair of 2014 Second Team All-Conference selections; Senior Offensive Lineman Zavon Moore (Grandview, Mo.) and Sophomore Jake King (Blue Springs, Mo.) who both attended Media Day Monday.


“We are looking forward to getting the 2015 season started,” said Football Head Coach Paul Troth.  “We have some good veteran leadership coming back, and with the addition of two new programs, the Heart is going to be a very competitive conference from top to bottom in each division.”


Missouri Valley will open its 2015 season at home August 29 against No. 18 William Penn (Iowa) University at 6 p.m., at Gregg-Mitchell Field.  The Vikings will also play three Nationally televised games during the regular season.  The games will be broadcast Nationally on ESPN 3 and in the Kansas City, Mo., television market on KSMO-TV.  Those games take place Sept. 5 at home against Graceland (Iowa) University, Sept. 12 at No. 18 Benedictine (Kan.) College and Oct. 3 at Culver-Stockton (Mo.) College.  All televised games have an 11 a.m., kickoff.

SOU Second Behind Carroll In Frontier Preseason Poll

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 11:02 PM
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WHITEFISH, Mont. – The Southern Oregon University football team expects to be a more alluring target than usual this fall, but the Raiders still won't be the team to beat in the Frontier according to a poll of the conference's coaches.

SchoolPoints2014 record
1. Carroll College 47 (5) 10-2, 9-1
2. Southern Oregon 44 (3) 13-2, 8-2
3. Eastern Oregon 36 8-3, 7-3
4. Rocky Mountain 28 5-6, 4-6
5. Montana Western 27 6-5, 6-4
t-6. College of Idaho 16 4-7, 3-7
t-6. Montana Tech 16 1-9, 1-9
8. Montana State-Northern 10 3-8, 2-8

That distinction again belongs to Carroll College, which received five of eight first-place votes in a preseason poll released Tuesday by the league office. The Saints have won 14 of the last 15 Frontier titles.

SOU was picked to finish second, garnering the other three first-place votes, three second-place votes and one third-place vote. The Raiders, who were second with a Frontier record of 8-2 in 2014, split two conference games with Carroll last season but defeated the top-ranked Saints in an NAIA quarterfinal matchup in Helena, Mont., on the way to their first-ever national championship. All three meetings were decided by three points or less.

The Raiders and Saints will open the 2015 season against each other on Sept. 5 in Helena. The rematch is set for Oct. 17 in Ashland.

Following Carroll and SOU in the poll was Eastern Oregon in third, Rocky Mountain in fourth, Montana Western in fifth, College of Idaho and Montana Tech tied for sixth, and Montana State-Northern in eighth.

Eastern Oregon, which was No. 13 in the NAIA Spring Top 25 poll, will visit for SOU's home opener on Sept. 12. The Mountaineers have left their last two trips to Raider Stadium with victories, making them the only visitors to win in Ashland since SOU head coach Craig Howard took over in 2011. SOU will also have a second date with them on Nov. 14 in La Grande for the regular-season finale.

SOU was No. 1 and Carroll No. 5 in the NAIA Spring poll, but that order figures to be flipped in accordance with the conference preseason poll when the NAIA Preseason Top 25 is released on Aug. 10.

The Raiders were picked third in last year's Frontier preseason poll, third in 2013, and fifth when they became conference co-champions in 2012 – their first season in the Frontier. This year's team will be tasked with replacing a class of 13 seniors, including four All-Americans, but is slated to return 43 letterwinners with six starters back on offense and seven on defense.

SOU's first official day of practice is Aug. 15.

Saints Football Picked to Win the Frontier

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 10:53 PM
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GREAT FALLS, Mont. – Defending Frontier Conference champion Carroll College was named the favorite to repeat as conference champions in the 2015 Preseason Coaches' Poll released today at the Frontier Conference Media Days in Great Falls. 

The Saints received five of eight first-place votes, national champion Southern Oregon received the three remaining first-place votes but the Saints edged out the Raiders with 47 points to 44 points. 

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. A first-place vote is worth seven points, second-place vote was worth six points, a third-place vote was worth five points and so on. 

Eastern Oregon was picked third with 36 points, Rocky Mountain was fourth with 28 points and Montana Western was fifth with 27 points. College of Idaho and Montana Tech tied for sixth with 16 points and MSU-Northern rounded out the poll with 10 points. 

The Saints were picked to win the conference in 2014 and followed through with a 9-1 conference record and a No. 1 NAIA ranking in the final regular-season coaches' poll. 
Carroll received a No. 5 ranking in the post-spring rankings. 

Fall camp begins on Aug. 13. 


Carroll College ... (5) 47 points 
Southern Oregon ... (3) 44 points 
Eastern Oregon ... 36 points 
Rocky Mountain ... 28 points 
Montana Western ... 27 points 
College of Idaho ... 16 points 
Montana Tech ... 16 points 
MSU-Northern ... 10 points

EOU Football Picked Third in Frontier Conference Preseason Poll

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 10:42 PM
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WHITEFISH, Mont. – For the fifth time in the last seven seasons, the Eastern Oregon University football team was picked to finish in the top three of its league, as the Mountaineers were tabbed No. 3 in the 2015 Frontier Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll.

"We are very excited for the 2015 season to get started," said head football coach Tim Camp. "We have a very challenging schedule in the strongest NAIA football conference in the country!"

The Mountaineers, who received 36 points in the poll, finished the 2014 campaign in third place with a 7-3 mark in Frontier Conference play. EOU concluded last season as the No. 15 team in the land, and the Mountaineers claimed the No. 13 spot in the 2015 NAIA Coaches' Spring Top 25 poll.

"We have a very short amount of time once fall camp starts to get ready for a very talented College of Idaho program," said Camp. "I know that our players and coaches will continue to prepare for this challenge ahead of us."

Despite winning last season's NAIA National Championship, Southern Oregon University (44 points) was picked to finish second in the league behind Carroll College (47), the defending champions in the Frontier Conference. Meanwhile, EOU was selected third in front of Rocky Mountain College (28), University of Montana Western (27), College of Idaho (16), Montana Tech (16), and MSU-Northern (10).

EOU returns three players who received all-conference recognition last season, including senior wide receiver Jace Billingsley, who registered 79.1 rushing yards per contest in 2014 and was fourth in the conference in touchdowns with 16.

"At the end of the day, we want to make our alumni base in our region and the state of Oregon proud each time we take the field representing EOU," commented Camp.

EOU opens the 2015 slate on Aug. 29 against College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho, at 12 p.m. PST. 


 2015 Frontier Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll



Carroll College (5)


Southern Oregon (3)


Eastern Oregon


Rocky Mountain


Montana Western


College of Idaho


Montana Tech




*First-place votes in parentheses 

Statesmen Picked Third in New North Division

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 10:32 PM
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Oskaloosa--The William Penn football team will be a contender right out of the gate as the Heart of America Athletic Conference preseason coaches' polls were released Monday.

The Statesmen, who were 7-4 last year (3-2 MSFA MWL), have been picked for third place in the North Division with 44 points and one first-place vote.

Rival Grand View, which also makes its HAAC debut this fall, is the top choice in the North with 49 points and four first-place nods, while Benedictine (Kan.) narrowly edged WPU for the runner-up slot with 45 points and the final first-place vote.

Graceland (36 points), Peru State (34), and Culver-Stockton (32) rounded out the poll.

On the South side, MidAmerica Nazarene matched Grand View with 49 points and four votes at the top.  Missouri Valley, with 46 points, and Baker, with 43 points, also earned one first-place spot.  Evangel (37), Central Methodist (35), and Avila (30) finished out that rating.

All 12 teams will play each other in a true round-robin format.  The winners of each division will receive automatic berths to the NAIA Football Championship Series.

William Penn's 2015 campaign begins on August 29 with a road game in Marshall, Mo. against Missouri Valley at 6 p.m.  The team has five home games at Lacey Complex Stadium, including Homecoming on October 3 (1 p.m. kickoff) versus Avila.  The Statesmen will show off their goods for the nation as part of the Niles Media agreement on October 31 in a matchup with Benedictine (Kan.) (11 a.m. start).

While the NAIA's preseason poll has yet to be released, the HAAC was well represented last spring with Grand View at #6, Missouri Valley at #8, MidAmerica Nazarene at #9, Baker at #16, WPU at #18, and Benedictine (Kan.) at #25.

2015 HAAC North Division Preseason Coaches' Poll
School Points (First Place Votes)
1. Grand View--49 (4)
2. Benedictine (Kan.)--45 (1)
3. William Penn--44 (1)
4. Graceland--36
5. Peru State--34
6. Culver-Stockton—32

2015 HAAC South Division Preseason Coaches' Poll
School Points (First Place Votes)
1. MidAmerica Nazarene--49 (4)
2. Missouri Valley--46 (1)
3. Baker--43 (1)
4. Evangel--37
5. Central Methodist--35
6. Avila--30

BU Football Selected to Finish Third in South Division of Heart

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 10:28 PM
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BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – The Baker University football team was selected to finish in third place in the Southern Division of the Heart of America Athletic Conference announced today by the Heart coaches at the 2015 Heart Football Media Day inside the Holiday Inn Express in Olathe, Kansas.

The Wildcats earned 43 votes and one first place vote and are picked to finish behind first place MNU (49 votes) and second place Missouri Valley (46 votes).

This will mark the first season that the Heart will be broken up into two divisions the Northern and Southern.

New member Grand View was selected to win the Northern Division, while rival Benedictine was selected in second place.

Baker went 8-3 a year ago and ended the year ranked No. 16 in the final NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 poll. Baker has posted eight-straight winning seasons and is 105-78 since the 1998 season.

BU opens up the season at No. 6 ranked Grand View on Saturday, Aug. 29 in Des Moines, Iowa at 11 a.m. in the Vikings’ first-ever Heart of America Athletic Conference game in school history.

The game will be broadcast on KSMO-TV in Kansas City on worldwide on ESPN 3 via Niles Media.

2015 Heart Preseason Coaches Poll

Southern Division

1. MNU (4 first-place votes, 49 points)
2. Missouri Valley (1 first-place vote, 46 points)
3. Baker (1 first-place vote, 43 points)
4. Evangel (37 points)
5. Central Methodist (35 points)
6. Avila (30 points)

Northern Division

1. Grand View (4 first-place votes, 49 points)
2. Benedictine (1 first-place vote, 45 points)
3. William Penn (1 first-place vote, 44 points)
4. Graceland (36 points)
5. Peru State (34 points)
6. Culver-Stockton (32 points)

Crusaders picked 4th in Southern Division in conference preseason coaches' poll

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 10:25 PM
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Springfield, Mo. – Evangel University's football squad was picked to finish fourth in the Southern Division of the Heart of America Athletic Conference preseason coaches' poll.


For the first time in league history, the Heart of America conference will split into two divisions and the Crusaders will play in the Southern Division. MidAmerica Nazarene was preseason selection to win the division while Missouri Valley was picked second and Baker third. The poll had Central Methodist behind Evangel in fifth and Avila in sixth.


The Crusaders went 6-5 last season with a 4-5 conference record and have 35 returning lettermen for the 2015 season.


The Northern Division winner and the Southern Division winner will represent the conference with automatic bids in the NAIA Championship Series. The league will play an 11-game conference schedule but only the divisional games will count in the standings to determine the division winners. 


Grand View (Iowa) and William Penn (Iowa) will play their first season in the Heart of America conference creating a 12-team league. Grand View, national champions in 2013, are picked to win the Northern Division.


The Crusaders open the season Aug. 29 at Benedictine and play their first home game Saturday, Sept. 5 against Peru State for a 6 p.m. kickoff at JFK Stadium.


The complete poll results:



Team (1st place votes), Points

1.       MidAmerica Nazarene (4), 49

2.       Missouri Valley (1), 46

3.       Baker (1), 43

4.       EVANGEL, 37

5.       Central Methodist, 35

6.       Avila, 30



Team (1st place votes), Points

1.       Grand View (4), 49

2.       Benedictine (1), 45

3.       William Penn (1), 44

4.       Graceland, 36

5.       Peru State, 34

6.       Culver-Stockton, 32

GPAC Football Media Day notebook: ‘high talent level’

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 10:22 PM
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SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. – The first question seventh-year head coach Vance Winter fielded at Thursday’s annual GPAC football media centered upon the quarterback position. Concordia must now replace record-setting signal caller Von Thomas. Fortunately, “this is the highest talent level we’ve ever had,” Winter told the gathering at Thursday’s annual GPAC football media day.

Winter spoke at the podium in the Marina Inn Conference Center in South Sioux City, Neb., for more than 16-and-a-half minutes and took a total of eight questions from attending media. For the 16th-straight year, all of the league’s football coaches gathered for the event.

After a 5-6 season in 2014, Winter and company found themselves pegged for a sixth-place conference finish in 2015, according to both the coaches and media polls released Thursday. That placement comes on the heels of a tie for sixth place a year ago. Surrounded by Concordia teams that won championships in 2014-15, Winter is looking for more from his group.

Asked about the effect of watching track and field head coach Kregg Einspahr and others walking around campus with trophies, Winter responded, “It’s been a very fun year to see all the success at Concordia. We feel a little bit left out of that. We had our opportunities to have that kind of success, we just didn’t finish some things. We feel like we can be a part of that.”

Star skill players such as 1,000-yard running back Bryce Collins give the Bulldogs a shot to post their second winning record in three seasons. Collins is one of 13 returning starters (six on offense; seven on defense). Winter praised his junior back from Boerne, Texas, saying that he feels Collins is “week-after-week one of the best players on the field.”

And once again, Winter emphasized that this team can scoot. The skill positions are well stocked. Said Winter, “I think we have some speed on both sides. I think the secondary defensively is a strength. I think our skill position guys – wide receiver, running back and tight end – those are some guys who are athletic for their position group.”

Defensive return to form?
Concordia continues to be motivated by the fact that it dropped five decisions by seven points or less in 2014. Winter provided frank and honest commentary about the shortcomings of last year’s defense. He also believes his 2015 defense will look more like the 2013 group that ranked fourth nationally in total defense.

“I believe strongly that this defensive group has the capability of being as good as we’ve had,” Winter said. “A lot of it’s youth, but I feel like this is a group that can really run around. We’ve got some guys that can cover. We’ve got to get better quickly, the sooner the better. There’s a lot of youth in this group. I really feel like the talent is there to be great.”

The secondary might be as fun as any in the conference to watch. Corners D’Mauria Martin and Tarence Roby are two names that have consistently popped up this offseason after they both enjoyed solid first seasons at Concordia in 2014. The biggest defensive question mark remains the four-man crew of backers in coordinator Patrick Daberkow’s 3-4 scheme.

Carey Harrison pops in spring
Winter referred to Harrison as the team’s “best offensive player in the spring.” Last year as a freshman, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound native of Winchester, Calif., caught 14 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns.

Winter: “We have quite a few other guys who’s roles will expand this year, who we’re very excited about and have a lot of playmaking ability. The one guy who really opened eyes this spring is a young man from California, Carey Harrison. Carey started some games for us last year, especially early in the year. He made a lot of plays for us.”

Harrison will team up with Jared Garcia, who broke the program record by catching 11 touchdown passes a year ago.

Nebraska Wesleyan’s departure
GPAC commissioner Corey Westra fielded several questions relating to Nebraska Wesleyan’s departure from the conference and the NAIA. Beginning in 2016-17, the Prairie Wolves will be a member of NCAA Division III’s Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Westra said that the GPAC has no imminent plans to replace Nebraska Wesleyan. The 2015-16 athletic year brings the arrival of College of Saint Mary – an all-female school – to the GPAC.

Doane head coach Matt Franzen opened his remarks by thanking Wesleyan head coach Brian Keller, who enters his 19th season at the helm of the Prairie Wolves. When asked whether his program would consider playing Nebraska Wesleyan beyond this season, Hastings head coach Tony Harper said, “If it works out for all our schedules, we would love to play Nebraska Wesleyan.” Morningside head coach Steve Ryan stated, “We’re going to miss Coach Keller’s leadership and we’re going to miss Nebraska Wesleyan.”

Keller spoke eighth among the 10 GPAC coaches on Thursday. Said Keller, “It’s going to be a fun final year in the GPAC. We’re going to enjoy it as much as we can.”

Winter was not asked to comment on Nebraska Wesleyan during his time at the podium.

Replacing Von Thomas
While the ability to make up for four lost starters on the offensive line is key, the most important position on the field must also be filled capably. Winter and coordinator Curran White liked what they saw from sophomore TJ Austin last season when he spelled Thomas due to injury. Austin is the frontrunner to win the job, but he will be pushed in camp by Riley Wiltfong and Garrett Folchert.

Said Winter, “I really feel great about the quarterback position going into this season.”

Preseason polls

1. Morningside – 81 (9)
2. Northwestern – 73 (1)
3. Doane – 65
4. Dakota Wesleyan – 51
5. Hastings – 48
6. Concordia – 46
7. Nebraska Wesleyan – 27
8. Midland – 25
9. Briar Cliff – 24
10. Dordt – 9 

1. Morningside – 90 (9)
2. Northwestern – 80
3. Doane – 70
4. Hastings – 56
5. Dakota Wesleyan – 52
6. Concordia – 45
7. Nebraska Wesleyan – 39
8. Midland – 30
9. Briar Cliff – 22
10. Dordt – 11 

Concordia GPAC preseason coaches’ placement
2015: 6th (finished ??)
2014: 4th (finished T-6th)
2013: 7th (finished 5th)
2012: 8th (finished 7th)
2011: 7th (finished 8th)
2010: 10th (finished 8th)
2009: 10th (finished 10th)
2008: 6th (finished 11th)
2007: 8th (finished 6th)
2006: 8th (finished 9th)
2005: 6th (finished 4-6 in GPAC)
2004: 8th (finished 6th)  

Cats Look to Return to Championship Form

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 10:15 PM
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The 2014 Bethel football season was a story of two seasons in one for the Wildcats. The Cats finished with a 5-6 overall record and a 2-3 mark in the Mid-South Conference. The Wildcats began the season with five straight losses but won five of their last six games. They finished the season with a three game winning streak.   The Cats return eight starters on offense and six on the defensive side of the ball. Bethel lost 17 seniors from the 2014 squad but several key Wildcats return to form a good nucleus for the upcoming season.

Coach Chris Elliott enters his fourth season as head coach with a career mark of 16-19. He was the Mid-South Conference Western Division Coach of the Year in 2012 with a 9-4 overall mark. The Wildcats were undefeated in conference play with a 6-0 record and finished No. 9 in the Final 2012 NAIA Football Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Wildcats made it to the second round of the NAIA Championship Series.

With forty two returning lettermen and an outstanding recruiting class the 2015 Wildcats look to return as a conference and national mainstay.

Bethel had three players named to the 2014 MSC First Team All-Conference squad. John Ilaria, Stoney Burns, and Robby Phillips earned those honors. Bethel's Devan Raymer was named to the MSC Second Team All-Conference squad. Burns was named to the NAIA All-American team for the second straight season.

The squad had 11 Academic All-Conference student-athletes and four NAIA Scholar Athletes.

Bethel will need to fill some key positions with the departure of several important members of seasons past. The Wildcats had three players named to the 2014 USA College Football All-American team who graduated. Defensive back Stoney Burns made the first team for the second year in a row. Offensive lineman John Illaria was named to the second team. Linebacker Tyler Murray was on the honorable mention list. Burns finished his Bethel career with 13 interceptions which ties him for second on the career list at Bethel. Murray finished his career with 325 total tackles which places him first in school history.  He led the squad last year with 100 total tackles. Phillips averaged 43.0 yards per punt during the 2014 campaign. 

Bethel will depend on several experienced and talented players to lead the squad in 2015. Senior Anthony Debonis led the squad in 2013 with 107 total tackles but was red-shirted last year due to a spring game injury. Three Wildcats rushed for over 500 yards last year. Devin Raymer returns for his junior season after rushing for 760 yards.  He has 871 career rushing yards which places him eighth on the Bethel career rushing list. Sophomore Jaquell Fitts rushed for 510 yards his freshman season.  Quarterback Kerry Sellers will be a junior after he rushed for 501 yards and passed for 978 yards with six touchdown tosses. Bethel's leading receiver, Quincy Walden is back after catching 21 passes with two of those for touchdowns.   Kicker Casey Kammerzell is back after hitting 31-of-32  point after attempts and was six-of-eight in field goals. Five of Bethel's top ten tacklers are back in Brenton Davis (56) Max Massengill (56) Vic Czyzewski (45) Joshua Burns (43) and Jerry Bradford (36).  

The 2015 schedule will be challenging with seven road games and only four home affairs. Bethel will open the season August 29 in St. Louis against Missouri Baptist University at 6 p.m. MBU is in its second season after being 1-10 in its inaugural year in 2014. After an early open date the Wildcats travel to UT-Martin on September 10th for a Thursday night game against the Sky Hawks at 6:30 p.m. It will be the first meeting between the two programs since 1995. They have met on the gridiron 22 times with UTM holding a 12-9-1 advantage in the series.  The home opener is September 19 against Pikeville with the kick-off slated for 1:30 p.m. Bethel beat the Bears last year in McKenzie 28-14. The Wildcats go back on the road the following week (9/26) traveling to Grayson, Kentucky to meet Kentucky Christian at 12:30 p.m. KCU beat Bethel 30-9 last season in McKenzie. The Wildcats lead the series 3-2. The Cats are back in the Commonwealth the following week (10/3) to meet the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg at 12:30 p.m. The Patriots lead the series 12-3. It will be the first time the two have met since 2011.   The Union College Bulldogs invade Wildcat Stadium on October 10 at 1:30 p.m. UC leads the series 6-5. It will be the first time the squads have met since 2012.  Campbellsville travels to McKenzie on October 10 for a 1:30 kick-off with the Tigers leading the series 8-3 after their 44-3 win in Campbellsville last year. It will be Homecoming for the Wildcats. The Wildcats travel to Montgomery, Alabama on October 24 to attempt   to snap a two-game losing streak to Faulkner. Kick-off is slated for 1:30 p.m. Bethel leads the series 6-2 after Faulkner beat the Cats in McKenzie last year 27-7. The Wildcats travel to Cumberland University on October 31 to meet the Bulldogs. It will be the 27th meeting between the two programs which represents the most ever against an opponent for Bethel. Cumberland leads the series 16-9-1 but Bethel chained the Bulldogs 49-14 last year in McKenzie.  The Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders invade Wildcat Stadium November 7 for a 1:30 p.m. kick-off.  It will be just the second time the two programs have met with Bethel winning at Lindsey Wilson in 2012.  Bethel closes out the regular season in Waleska, Georgia against Reinhardt on October 14. Reinhardt leads the series 3-0 after thumping then Cats 63-35 last year. Kick-off is scheduled for 11 a.m.   Three of Bethel's opponents are ranked in the NAIA Division I Top 25 Coaches Preseason Poll. Lindsey Wilson is No. 7 while Faulkner is ranked No. 10 and Campbellsville is No. 15. 

Coach Elliott's staff has familiar faces returning for another season. Alan Hollowell will again coach the offensive line and be the Run Game Coordinator. He also serves as recruiting coordinator for the Wildcats. Willie Fells is the Defensive Coordinator and works with the Cornerbacks. Paul Frazier will coach Tight Ends and serve as the Video Coordinator while Luke Roth will be the Special Team Coordinator and work with the Running Backs. Former Wildcat star Antonio Brown is the Pass Game Coordinator / WR/ Strength and Conditioning coach. Ryan Wall is a second year assistant, coaching the defensive line. Brandon Corbin will coach defensive backs and safeties. Graduate Assistant Ethan Carter will coach Outside Linebackers. Graduate Assistant Tyler Murray will be in charge of Inside Linebackers. Hayden Whitby will serve as a student assistant.

The Wildcat coaching staff had a solid off-season picking up local and national recruits on both sides of the ball. Bethel was picked to finish in a tie for fifth with Cumberland University in the West Division of the Mid-South Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll.

The Missouri Baptist game to open the season will mark the 407th game played in Bethel football history. MBU will be the 111th different opponent the Cats have faced. Bethel is 143-255-8 in those games.  

Bluejays tie for 1st in the media poll, picked 2nd by the coaches

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 10:05 PM
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WICHITA, Kan. – The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference held its annual football media day Friday, August 7 at the Hotel at Old Town in Wichita, Kan. All 10 football coaches from theKCAC spent time at the podium discussing each teams' improvements and challenges for the upcoming 2015 season.


Health, depth, and team chemistry are what Head Coach Mike Gardner talked about as keys to the Bluejays KCAC title hopes.


"Chemistry, fundamentals, and humility are what I am looking for this year more than anything," said Gardner. "Our ability and talent need to continue to be about team success. If we do that than individual goals can happen."


Tabor will look to regain last year's early season form that saw the Bluejays begin the year 4-0, and climb as high as No. 3 in the NAIA Top 25 poll, the highest ranking in the schools history. In order to do that Tabor will lean heavily on 16 returning starters (7-on defense, 9-on offense) as well as 57 lettermen to help bring experience and build chemistry with a talented incoming recruiting class.


Along with experience the Bluejays roster also features leadership and an emphasis on winning, as 34 former captains and a wide variety of players from winning programs make up this years squad. 


One major key on the offensive side of the ball will be the return of senior quarterback Simon McKee who suffered a season ending injury in the Bluejays second game of the year last season.   


Ottawa University was pegged to finish first in the conference earning eight of the 10 first-place votes in the coaches' poll, while the Bluejays and Friends University tied for first in the media poll. The Falcons however earned the edge thanks to nine first place votes to the Bluejays six.


Tabor will open the 2015 season on the road against the Scots of Lyon College, Saturday Aug. 29 in Batesville, Ark. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. The Bluejays will return home the following weekend for their home opener as they take on nationally ranked No. 13 Northwestern College out of Orange City, Iowa as part of the KCAC vs GPAC Challenge. The game is scheduled for Saturday Sept. 5, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.


Football Begins 2015 Season Rated 20th in NAIA Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 10:02 PM
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has released its 2015 NAIA Football Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll and Robert Morris University Illinois begins the year rated 20th in the voting.  The Eagles were also rated 20th in the final 2014 and spring 2015 polls.


"These polls usually reflect last season's accomplishments," said RMU Head Coach Jared Williamson.  "There was a team playing in the national championship game that was not in the pre-season poll last year so while it's nice to be ranked, we understand nothing matters except today's preparation."

The Eagles finished the 2014 season with an overall record of 8-3 and were 3-3 in the tough MSFA Mideast, including wins over second ranked and national runner-up Marian University (Ind.) and fourth ranked and national semi-finalist Saint Xavier University.  Marian begins this season tied with Southern Oregon University atop the NAIA Top 25 Poll, while Saint Xavier is fourth.

 "We're focused on stacking good days on top of good days as we move towards a tough 2015 schedule, which is nothing new as a member of the MSFA," added Williamson.

RMU moves to the MSFA Midwest League from the Mideast this season, joining Olivet Nazarene University, Saint Ambrose University (Iowa), University of Saint Francis, Saint Xavier University, and Trinity International University.  The MSFA Mideast League features Concordia University (Mich.), Lindenwood University-Belleville, Marian University (Ind.), Missouri Baptist University, University of Saint Francis (Ind.), Siena Heights University (Mich.), and Taylor University (Ind.).

The Eagles open the season at Morris Field on Saturday, September 5th at 6pm versus the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and then travels to Valley City, North Dakota on September 12th to take on 17th ranked Valley City State University.


Comets football gearing up

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 09:57 PM
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The Comets are beginning their second season under Head Coach John Haines and began practice with their returning players and transfers on Monday, August 3. The remaining players of the Comets football team are set to report on August 14. 

The North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) preseason coaches' football poll has been released with Valley City State University as the favorite to repeat as conference champions. The preseason poll was voted on by league coaches, and coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. 

The preseason poll is typically based off last year's conference standings which put Valley City at the top as they tallied five first-place votes and 33 total points in this year's poll. VCSU has won the conference title for two consecutive years and qualified for the 2015 NAIA Football National Playoffs. 

Dickinson State University received two first place votes and collected 30 points to finish second in the voting. Jamestown finished third with 26 points, Presentation fourth with 21 points, Dakota State fifth with 20 points, Waldorf sixth with 10 points, and Mayville seventh with seven points. 

Click here for the full release.

The Comets begin their season on Saturday, August 29 againt the University of Saint Mary (KS) from the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC). Saint Mary finished last season with a 4-7 record overall and 4-5 in the KCAC. Saint Mary begins their season on August 22 against Avila University. The kickoff on August 29 is set for 1pm at Jerome Berg field. The Comet Athletic Club Sportsmen's Raffle will also be held on Saturday, August 29. 

Preparation for first football season begins

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 11:40 PM
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BATESVILLE, Ark. – There was a sense of great anticipation in the air on Thursday as Lyon College head coachKirk Kelley and his staff welcomed 94 players to training camp as the Scots began preparations for the College's first football season since 1951.

With the brand new 22,000-square foot Lyon Football Training Center towering next to the Scots' practice field and a crowd of nearly 100 on hand, the squad took to the gridiron Thursday evening for the first organized practice of the season as the team now sets its sights on the August 29 inaugural season opener against 24th-ranked Tabor College at Pioneer Stadium (1 p.m.) in Batesville.

"Today went really smooth," said Kelley after the workout, with a broad smile on his face and sweat dripping from his chin in the humid Arkansas evening. "I feel really good about how the kids came into camp and what we got done today.

"The first thing we did was challenge the upper classmen to take a position of responsibility and leadership as redshirt freshmen. And they did just that, as they led the newcomers who came in and made sure everybody was where they needed to be."

The Scots will take part in the 2015 Lyon Football Media day on Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the Training Center, meeting with fans and media for the first time this season. The public is invited to come by and meet the players and coaches, as well.

Lyon players will get back to work as the coaching staff installs offensive and defensive game plans for the upcoming season. Fans are invited out to workouts at the Lyon practice field and to Pioneer Stadium at Batesville High School on Friday, August 14, at 5 p.m. as the Scots go through a game-type intrasquad scrimmage. There will be no admission charge to the public.

Kelley said his staff is planning a progression as the team works toward the season opener.

"In the coming days we're going to be installing game plans on both sides of the ball," he stated. "We want to get back to where we were in the spring by the end of about eight days. We'll be installing everything we do. That means we'll be spending a lot of time in the classroom, we'll have walk-throughs and we'll be out here on the field getting things done."

The public will get a chance to ask Kelley questions about the upcoming season on Monday, Aug. 24, when the first CoachKirk Kelley Show is held at U.S. Pizza at 60 Batesville Blvd. in Batesville. The show, which begins at 6 p.m., will take place each Monday night. Fans can enjoy great food and listen as Kelley is interviewed by Mark Lamberth, part of the "Voice of the Scots".

All 2015 Lyon football games will be broadcast this season on 93.1-FM KZLE. Home games will be also streamed live on the internet on on a pay-per-view basis. Lamberth and Randy "Big Daddy" Alan will anchor broadcasts.

Season ($25) and single-game tickets ($5) for the 2015 season are on sale at the Lyon Athletics Department offices, located next to Becknell Gymnasium on the campus. Lyon faculty, staff and students will be admitted to the home games for free, but must pick up a ticket prior to each game.

Lyon will compete this season as a member of the Central States Football League.

Friday, Aug. 7 - Practice (helmets and shorts), 9:30 a.m.
Friday, Aug. 7 - Football Media Day, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 8 - Practice (helmets and shorts), 9:30 a.m.
Sunday, Aug. 9 - Practice (helmets and shells), 2:30 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 10 - Practice (helmets and shells), 3 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 11 - Practice (full pads), 9 a.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 12 - Practice, TBD
Friday, Aug. 14 - Intrasquad Scrimmage (game-type situations), at Pioneer Stadium, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 29 - Season Opener vs. 24th-ranked Tabor College, at Pioneer Stadium, 1 p.m..

DSU Football Holds Blue and Gray Scrimmage

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 11:25 PM
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DICKINSON, ND- The Dickinson State University Football team held their traditional Blue and Gray scrimmage on Saturday, August 15th.

"I thought the scrimmage went pretty well," said Head Football Coach Pete Stanton. "Our returners seen a few series while our newcomers seen most of the time which allows for us coaches to evaluate their progress."

The scrimmage consisted of around 60 plays and also seen some special teams plays from punt, punt return and field goals.

Seth MoerkerkeRobert Sterling, and Haize Weber all seen time at the quarterback position each seeing around two to three series.

"I feel that our Quarterbacks did pretty well with executing our offense during the scrimmage," said Offensive Coordinator Jace Schillinger. "Majority of our base plays and formations are in so it was good to see them run the offense in a game like situation.

The Blue Hawks open the 2015 season on Saturday, August 22nd as they host the University of Montana- Northern in a non-conference game at 6:00 PM (MDT).

Yotes Picked Sixth in Frontier Conference Preseason Poll

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 09:59 PM
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GREAT FALLS, Mont. – The College of Idaho was picked in a tie for sixth-place in today's Frontier Conference Preseason Football Coaches' Poll, announced at the conclusion of the league's Media Day at the Town House Inn.

The Yotes, coming off a 4-7 record in 2014, including three Frontier Conference wins, received 16 voter points from the eight league coaches.  C of I was tied with Montana Tech in the tabulation, with Montana State Northern placing eighth.
C of I returns all 11 starters on the offensive side of the ball, including All-Frontier Conference tight end Marcus Lenhardt, who led all NAIA tight ends in receptions and receiving yards.  The Coyotes return nine defensive starters, including safety Cory Brady, who led the team in tackles and interceptions.
Defending league champion, Carroll, earned top-billing in the poll, despite having to replace their all-time leading rusher in Dustin Rinker and their top defender in Sean Blomquist.  The Saints, who lost in the NAIA national quarterfinals return quarterback Mac Roche and receiver Kyle Griffith.
Despite coming off a NAIA national championship season, Southern Oregon was picked second by the coaches.  The Raiders, who swept through the Football Championship Series and defeated Marian (Ind.) in the national title game, must replace All-America quarterback Austin Dodge, who set NAIA records with over 17,000 career passing yards and over 150 touchdown passes.
Eastern Oregon, the first team left out of the postseason in 2014, was picked third.  The Mountaineers return quarterback Zach Bartlow and All-America slotback, Jace Billingsley, but will need to replace the bulk of their offensive line.
Rocky Mountain edged out Montana Western for fourth in the balloting, as the Bears return one of the top playmakers in the league in Andre McCullouch, while the Bulldogs return 1,000-yard rusher Sam Rutherford.
Montana Tech finished tied with the Yotes in the poll, as the Orediggers return their top tackler in linebacker David Meis.  MSU-Northern rounds out the poll, looking to rebound in 2015 behind the hard running of Zach McKinley, who rushed for 1,425 yards last season.
The Yotes report for fall camp next Friday, with the season opener set for Aug. 29 vs. Eastern Oregon at Simplot Stadium
Single-Game and Season Tickets are currently available online at
2015 Frontier Conference Football Preseason Poll
Carroll (5)               9-1     10-2        47
Southern Oregon (3)       8-2     13-2        44
Eastern Oregon            7-3      8-3        36
Rocky Mountain            4-6      5-6        28
Montana Western           6-4      6-5        27
College of Idaho          3-7      4-7        16
Montana Tech              1-9      1-9        16
MSU-Northern              2-8      3-8        10


SCJ: Quarterback Battle Key in Charger Camp

Contributed by admin on Aug 21, 2015 - 04:13 PM
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Briar Cliff knew there was going to be a quarterback competition, just not this one.

The Chargers figured on returning senior Kevin Van Egdom for a fourth year while adding some new arms to the roster to push him. One torn labrum for Van Egdom later and those plans shifted.

Van Egdom is now playing H-back while junior Matt Quick, the backup last season, and a pair of transfers in junior Dylan Desmarais (Shasta College in California) and sophomore Chance Barlow(Oklahoma Panhandle State University) are now in a competition to take a lot more snaps than they may have expected this season.

"We are fortunate in the fact that we have three guys that can go and play in this league and to what level we are going to find out," Rethman said. "Dylan, if we played today, is the starter and the thing he has provided is he has been steady. He has very good pocket awareness, he is steady, he can run when he needs to."

Desmarais said he likes the offense that Briar Cliff runs and it gives him a chance to lead and improvise a little if needed.

"I have a chance to call my own plays, make the reads and that is a big thing," he said. "We just need to make sure we are doing our jobs, keep practicing like we are doing and stay sound in everything we do.

"For me it has always been a week in, week out thing. If you are starting (and) you are kind of lacking during the week they can switch out and have other quarterbacks that can do things."

Van Egdom threw for 2,043 yards, 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last season playing in 11 games as a junior. His sophomore season, his second after transferring from Missouri State, saw him pass for 2,054 yards and 16 touchdowns. The severity of the injury and how it would impact him was not fully known to Rethman until the first week of August.

"I was definitely surprised (about Van Egdom) because I found out watching GPAC media day online and I got a text from my dad actually," said Chance Barlow, who is also in the competition to start. "It was news to me, but I am just going to prepare going up against anybody. I am just a competitor."

There is competition between the three quarterbacks but seemingly no animosity.

"Both of those guys are great guys and we come out here and compete every day," Quick said. "One of us has to come out here and take the spot. Whoever gets it done is going to be great at the helm."

Rethman said Demarais has done a good job of reading the defense and getting rid of the ball quickly, something that is key in the Charger system.

Quick, who said morale is the best he has seen in his four years in the program, appeared in three games last season and was 5 of 12 passing.

Rethman called Barlow a bit of a wild card just because he has been dealing with a hamstring injury but noted the strength of his arm. Barlow does have the best speed of the trio of quarterbacks and his ability to make things happen is appealing to his coach.

The starting quarterback will be leading a team that is coming off a 2-9 season and returning six starters on offense and four on defense.

Rethman, who is in his eighth year, has traditionally favored picking his quarterback and going with him, but he did acknowledge this time it could be different.

"This is a year you could probably see more than one quarterback out of us," he said. "That becomes our job to make sure we find ways to utilize their talent.

"I think sometimes when you have two guys that are just a little different or one guy who throws a little different wrinkle you have a possibility of being able of some things going well."

Whichever quarterback ends up taking the most snaps will have a veteran receiving corps to throw to in Lavon WrightTyler McGheeFred Fields and Miles Jones.

"Having guys like that it is easy throwing to them," Desmarais said. "You throw a little five yard route and they can make it look spectacular. Make 80 yards out of nothing."

Add to that the hard running of senior Mitch Heikes, who just missed 1,000 yards a season ago, and there seems to be plenty of weapons at the quarterback's disposal.

"I think our skill group looks good," said Quick, who wore Superman cleats to media day on Thursday. "I think we have some of the best skill in the GPAC and if we can get them the ball out in space I think they will run."

The Chargers open up the 2015 season Saturday when they host Presentation College at 1 p.m. in the DakotaDome in Vermillion, S.D. It is the third year Briar Cliff has played its home games there.

Story by Jeff Budlong from the Sioux City Journal.  Find more media day coverage by following the links below...

Coyote Football Opens Fall Camp

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 09:48 PM
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CALDWELL, Idaho – Coyote Football 2.0 began in earnest this morning at Simplot Stadium, as the College of Idaho kicked off fall camp in preparation for their season opener Aug. 29 vs. Eastern Oregon.
The second year in the return of football brought 119 players to the field for the first of five two-a-day sessions during camp.
Quarterback Teejay Gordon is one of 11 starters returning from a Coyote offense that averaged over 200 yards per game on the ground.  Nine starters return on the defensive side of the ball, with a bevy of talented recruits looking to add depth to an ever improving unit.
The Yotes will have morning practices each of the next three days, beginning at 10 a.m. – and are open to the public.
C of I posted a 4-7 record in 2014, including three wins at Simplot Stadium  Season tickets are currently available online at or by calling (208) 459-5223.

Positional Preview - Defensive Line

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 10:04 PM
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The first of a nine-part preview of the 2015 College of Idaho football team, focusing today on the Coyote defensive line.
During the 2014 season, injuries and depth plagued the Yotes throughout the year – as C of I ranked seventh in the Frontier Conference, allowing 213 yards rushing per game, and finished sixth in the league in sacks with 17.

However, the key core of the group has had a year to get bigger, faster, and stronger, while an outstanding recruiting class has helped the depth – making the Yotes front four look to be one of the most improved position groups on the team.
Returning tackle Josh Price is poised for a breakout season after leading all C of I interior linemen with 57 tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss.
"Josh has the potential to be an All-Conference player for us," defensive coordinator Chris Jewell said of the 6-3, 295-pound sophomore.  "He had an outstanding spring and has come to camp ready to do some great things for us."
Returners Talon SudbeckTrevor Smith and Zach Hall all look to make an impact for the Yotes. Sudbeck started at tackle last season and recorded 15 stops while battling injuries, while both Smith and Hall saw playing time as freshmen.
A trio of recruits also look to be in the mix initially – giving C of I size at the tackle position – as transfers Matt Crispoand Adam Kelsie, along with freshman James Fononga, are battling for playing time right away.
Crispo was an All-State lineman in the Utah high school ranks, having played at Montana Western as a freshman and redshirted at Weber State last season.  Kelsie had 11.5 tackles for loss at Orange Coast College in California and redshirted a Valdosta State in 2014, while Fononga was one of the top interior linemen in the Bay Area prep ranks.
"We are excited for our recruits," Jewell said.  "Both Crispo and Kelsie have experience at the college level and can step in and make an impact and I like what we've seen so far from Fononga."
The Yotes have further depth at the tackle position, as senior Tony Torres returns after missing 2014 due to injury, along with freshmen Zavior Cook and Geoffrey Blackmore.
On the end, the Yotes will need to replace Tyler Andreason, who did not return after leading the club with five sacks and four forced fumbles.
The staff made a big change this spring, moving leading tackler Jordan Vielma from linebacker to end.  The sophomore had 64 tackles during his rookie campaign, including 5.5 tackles for loss.
"Vielma will be a huge asset to our defense," Jewell said.  "His speed from the end will definitely make an impact."
Fellow sophomore, Taylor Oppedyk, had a great spring and will be a physical force, as will junior transfer Monte Huskey.  Sophomore Trevor Henderson and redshirt freshmen Kade PaulsenLeroy Sisnett and Kyle Ashby all have experience in the program and will provide depth at the position.
Three Oregon All-State players in Landon Clark-GammellJose Reyes, and Jett McCoy, along with local products Allen Attao Jr. and Zac Crosgrove and California native Nic Maggio, will be looking to crack the two-deep roster.
"Fans will definitely notice the improvement from our defensive front," Jewell said. 

Positional Preview - Linebackers

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 11:16 PM
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The second of a nine-part preview of the 2015 College of Idaho football team, focusing today on the Coyote linebackers.
Experience will be key for the Yotes linebackers, as the squad returns a bevy of talent to fill the two spots in the middle of the field.  The group will look to improve on a defense ranked seventh in the Frontier Conference in yards allowed.

"The Guys who have come back have worked really hard," defensive coordinator Chris Jewell said. "It's been super competitive."

With fifth-leading tackler Kyle Cothern not returning this season and Jordan Vielma moving to defensive end, the Coyotes moved two-sport athlete Troy Carr from safety to linebacker to fill one of the roles.  Carr missed the first four games of last season with injury, but averaged nearly six tackles per game over the final seven contests, including a forced fumble and three tackles for loss.

"Troy Carr has made the move from safety and is doing really, really well," Jewell said. "At safety, he was physical and stiff hipped, but now he is a fast linebacker."

 He is joined by returning backers Jason Byce and Khallid Ransom, who each were in the regular rotation.  Byce finished his freshman season with 39 tackles, including 2.5 sacks, while Ransom, one of the 12 seniors on the squad, finished the season with 37 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss.
Also in the linebacker mix is a pair of Mountain Home products in Jake Hennessey and Ben Ceccarelli.  Hennessey, makes the move from offense to defense, as the junior, who was a redshirt defensive back at the University of Idaho in 2012, served as C of I's back-up quarterback last season.  Ceccarelli was a mainstay on the Yotes special teams last season, recording eight tackles and a pass break up last season.

"Byce and Ceccarelli have been phenomenal and Hennessey has made the transition from offense to defense easily," Jewell said.

Three newcomers look to make an immediate impact after stellar prep careers, as local products Zach Wagner and Dayne Jacobs are joined by California recruit Nikolas Lyons.  Wagner was an All-Southern Idaho Conference pick; Jacobs was an All-Conference player and had 101 tackles as a senior; while Lyons was a two-year starter for a very good Notre Dame High team.

"Wagner has been awesome, he's been everything we thought he would be," Jewell said. "He was our biggest 'get' in recruiting at the linebacker position.  We also moved Lyons from safety to linebacker this week and he has been outstanding."

Three other returners will be battling for a spot in the rotation – sophomore Mikey Cooper and redshirt freshmenDakota Horsewood and Travis Mayer.  Cooper served primarily on special teams in 2014, recording four tackles.

"Every day someone is bumping up and someone is bumping down," Jewell said. "The nice thing is that its competitive and it's made coaching easier because guys can't loaf and don't want to loaf because someone is breathing down their neck to steal their spot."

 The Coyotes will hold an intrasquad scrimmage on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. in preparation for their season opener, Aug. 29 vs. Eastern Oregon.

Bulldogs Start 2015 with Doane

Contributed by admin on Sep 04, 2015 - 10:46 PM
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McPherson, Kan. – The 2015 football season begins for McPherson College on Saturday, September 5 as they host the No. 22 Doane College Tigers at 7:00 p.m. (CT) at McPherson Stadium.  The game is part of the KCAC-GPAC Challenge.

The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and the Great Plains Athletic Conference entered a two-year agreement that would pair teams based on their conference finishes in 2013 & 2014 for 2015 & 2016 challenges. KCAC teams will host the first set of non-conference games on September 5, 2015 with the GPAC representatives playing host the following season.

The Bulldogs were picked No. 8 in the KCAC preseason coaches' poll after finishing the 2014 season with a 5-6 overall record, 4-5 in the conference. McPherson won three of their last five games, including Southwestern 10-7 in the season finale.

Three Bulldogs were named to the KCAC preseason football team, highlighted by senior wide receiver Ste'fon Walker. The Mendenhall, Miss., native compiled 343 total yards in 22 receptions, including two touchdowns in 10 games last season. Dalton Whitfield was chosen as a utility player by the KCAC coaches after seeing action as a running back (101 total yards, one touchdown), wide receiver (23 yards, three receptions) and linebacker (47 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, two sacks). Offensive lineman Collin French was also selected to the preseason team after being selected to the 2014 All-KCAC Second Team.

Youth will be a common trait that many of the MC starters share.  The team is starting a freshman at quarterback in RJ Garza, a freshman at running back in Zac Boyd, a freshman fullback in Ryan Lakso, a freshman tight end in Lakoda Di Mouro, and three freshman offensive linemen.

Defensively, leading the list of returners are Whitfield, Kavoderic McIntyre, and Bradley Campbell.  McIntyre is the lone returning defensive back while Whitfield and Campbell are a pair of linebackers for Mac.  Hawaiian Michael Rabara will look to make waves from his strong safety position.  Another transfer, Joseph Mooney, will be a major impact player for the defensive line.

The 'Dogs will take a week off after their contest with Doane.  The next outing for MC is slated for September 19th at Southwestern College; game time is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.


Scouting Doane

Doane is ranked 22nd in the NAIA poll, finishing the 2014 season with a 7-3 overall record and a 7-2 GPAC record.

2014 starting quarterback Brandon Stuart will most likely take the snaps for the Tigers after an impressive junior campaign. Stuart passed for 1815 total yards (181.5 yards per game) and threw for 17 touchdowns in 10 games during the 2014 season. Running back Nate Meier also returns for Doane, coming off of a 2014 season where he led the Tigers with 596 total yards and six rushing touchdowns in nine games.

Other key returners for the Tigers include wide receiver Jacob Cornelius who pulled down 17 receptions for 176 yards as a sophomore.  Defensively DC has four of the top five tackle getters from 2014.  Leading the charge is linebacker Garrett Borcher who racked up 96 stops in his junior season.  Fellow linebacker Colten Mach stands next to Borcher and was second on the team in tackles a year ago.  Aaron Hanlin and Ben Muff return at the defensive line and cornerback positions, respectively.

Doane will host Midland for their first home game of the season on September 12th.

Bulldogs Looking To Build On Freshly Laid Foundation

Contributed by admin on Sep 04, 2015 - 10:35 PM
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BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Progress is a process. It takes time to build a masterpiece, but head coach Zak Willis believes the Union College football team is on building something memorable.

"We're excited about where we're headed. We just need to get out on to the field," Willis said. "The word is 'cautiously optimistic.' We know we're better than we were, but with the conference we play in, you can improve but your record may not improve much."

The Bulldogs went 1-9 overall and 1-5 in the Mid-South Conference East Division last year in Willis' first season at the helm.

The season will kick off the season on Saturday against Warner University (Fla.) at Williamson Stadium. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m. (For the game notes for this week's contest, please click here.)

Union showed flashes of greatness, especially on offense, but keeping the opponents out of the end zone proved to be a challenge. Union averaged 30.5 points per game but surrendered 50.6 points per game.

Contributing to Union's struggles last season were the youth and inexperience. The Bulldogs were forced to play a high number of underclassmen. Union is still young with only nine seniors on the roster this season, but the team is far from inexperienced.

"We're obviously going to be very young; we've got very few seniors. But this team seems to be really smart, got a lot of good kids on the team, trying to do things the right way," Willis said. "It's just going to take time to build the program like we want it, but we've set a foundation that can be really good."

The Bulldog offense put up respectable numbers last year. In addition to scoring 305 total points, Union averaged 391.9 yards per game as it gained 2,314 through the air and 1,605 on the ground.

Junior quarterback Chandler Whittlesey will once again lead the team from the pocket. A season ago, Whittlesey tallied 2,420 yards in total offense (2,009 passing and 411 rushing). Completing 134-of-252 passes, he threw for 16 touchdowns while running for seven more scores. Whittlesey ranked 10th in the NAIA in total yards per game (268.9), 17th in passing yards per game (223.2), 23rd in total offensive yards (2,420) and 31st in total passing yards (2,009).

"This is his team. There is no doubt about that," Willis said of his signal-caller. "Chandler is a very unique person. He's very spiritual and a good Christian kid, who is a tremendous competitor and is almost a perfectionist. He can do some incredible things, but it's his character that sets him apart."

Looking to protect Whittlesey will be a stout offensive line, which has an average height and weight of 6-foot-4 and 301 pounds.

Three seniors will anchor the line for the Bulldogs with Steven Bailes at left tackle, Mike Livingston at left guard, and Cliff Burns at right tackle. A transfer from Western Kentucky, this is Burns' first season as a Bulldog. Sophomore Kermit Gibbs will snap the ball at center.

The final starting stop at left guard is still up for grabs, Willis noted, but freshman Colt Bedenbaugh currently has the edge with sophomore William Collier close behind.

In the backfield, LaVance Anderson is back for another season after surprising everyone with his performance last year. Anderson spent two seasons roaming centerfield for the Union baseball team before hitting the gridiron for the first time since high school last season. The 6-foot, 229-pound back led the team with 644 yards rushing and eight touchdowns. He also caught 15 passes for 151 yards.

Backing him up will be red-shirt freshman Keith Neal and senior Garfield Dandridge. Willis added freshman Zach Cozad could see some time as well.

Zack Martin is back for his junior campaign at fullback. A solid blocking back, Martin can pound out the extra yard when needed. In 17 career games, he has 97 yards rushing on 30 attempts with two touchdowns.

"Really happy with how we were running the ball in the scrimmage. And as you know, if you have a great running game, your passing game is even more explosive," said Willis.

One of the biggest question marks is who will Whittlesey be throwing the ball to. The Bulldogs lost a number of their top receivers, but they do return senior Kyle Keplinger. In his first season at Union, Keplinger hauled in 26 passes for 489 yards and seven touchdowns.

Union also returns Jalen Ashby, Decorwyn Dunnaway and D.J. Reynolds, but the trio combined to haul in a combined five passes for 45 yards. Ashby, though, showed his brilliance returning kicks last season in compiling 636 yards and two touchdowns on 28 kickoff returns.

Willis added the team will look to freshmen Brad Elkins, Kevin Eichelberger and Darian Patterson for help at wide receiver.

"They are very talented and extremely smart. Their development will be key to how well our passing game goes," the Bulldog coach noted.

Union's offensive attack will be largely based on how well the defense is playing. For example, the Bulldogs were one of the top teams in the nation last year in fourth-down conversions as they were 15-of-25 (60 percent) in those situations. Yet, Willis noted going for it on fourth down was out of necessity the majority of the time.

"We knew we couldn't stop anyone defensively because we had so much attrition," Willis added. "This year, hopefully, we can be a little more conservative on offense because our defense can stop people."

But until the defense has proven itself, expect the Bulldogs to run the football and mix in some play-action passes to control the tempo and clock.

There are still a lot of unknowns with the Bulldog defense as numerous new faces populate the depth chart. Yet, Willis likes what he has seen from the defense thus far in camp.

"We're really optimistic, but there's still a lot of work to be done," he said. "We are nowhere near we want to be, but we're a lot better than we were."

A pair of junior college transfers will headline the defensive line. Josh Rocker and Serge Vita will man the defensive end positions. Rocker is a red-shirt sophomore coming from Iowa Central College, while Vita is a junior from Pasadena City College (Calif.). Backing them up will be juniors Derrick Greene and John Hill. Greene played in nine games last season and compiled 21 total stops with 2.0 going for a loss of 7 yards, while Hill notched 30 total tackles with 3.5 for a loss and 2.0 sacks.

At defensive tackle will be red-shirt freshman Charles Wilkins with Harley Goins, a converted offensive lineman, backing him up.

Senior Josh Kulp is penciled in to start at nose guard with freshman Chris Helton backing him up. Kulp saw action in seven games in 2014, amassing 14 tackles.

Union returns its top two leading tacklers in senior Jake Johnston and sophomore Jake Averhart. Johnston, the team's middle linebacker, posted 101 total tackles in 2014 – tying him for 11th most by a Bulldog in a season. Averhart followed with 79 stops.

The duo will be joined by freshman Dallas Baxter.

Backing those three up will be DeShay AverhartRyan Coleman and Jerrian Gilmore. Only Coleman saw action last season, appearing in five games and recording four tackles.

In the secondary, Doug Jeter and Juwel Laguerre are the team's starting cornerbacks. Sixth on the team in tackles, Jeter posted 40 total sops with 2.0 for a loss and 1.0 sack to go with two interceptions and one fumble recovery. Laguerre appeared in only two games last season.

Will Reynolds will be the strong safety with Curtis Yates being the free safety. In 2014, Reynolds had 31 total tackles with Yates helping out with 13.

Willis added that sophomore Kenneth Cauley and freshmen Desmond LeakJackson Tipton and Seth Nichols will see significant time in the secondary as well.

"We've got a lot of guys that can get in there and play for us," Willis said of the depth of the defense. "They are still young, but we are happy with the foundation that's been laid. We just have to build on it."

Special teams looks to be a solid component of the Bulldogs' arsenal with Keplinger and Jeter tabbed to return punts while Ashby and Laguerre will handle the kickoff duties. Keplinger averaged 9.8 yards per punt return last season, and Ashby averaged 22.7 yards per kick return and earned MSC Special Teams Player of the Week honors once.

Alex Sigmon will once again take care of the placekicking responsibilities. A junior, Sigmon has made 13 career field goals and is 59-of-67 on PATs. Freshman Bradley Boone will handle the punting duties.

After the season opener on Saturday, Union will have an open week before diving into the MSC competition. The Bulldogs will host Campbellsville University (Ky.) on Sept. 19 before opening MSC East play at University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) on Sept. 26.

The remaining dates at Williamson Stadium include Oct. 3 against Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.), Oct. 24 versus Kentucky Christian University and Nov. 7 against Bluefield College (Va.). Homecoming is set for Oct. 24.

Union will hit the road on Oct. 10 to play Bethel University (Tenn.), Oct. 17 to visit Georgetown College (Ky.), Oct. 31 to take on University of Pikeville (Ky.) and Nov. 14 to close out the season at Faulkner University (Ala.).

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