Husson University of Bangor, which has won or shared the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference championship the past two seasons, has been selected to claim the conference title again this year in a preseason poll.
Coach Gabby Price’s Eagles received five of the eight first-place votes. Norwich University was picked second by the league’s coaches and earned two first-place votes. Castleton University was third, and Becker College was fourth and earned the other first-place vote.
“It’s certainly better to be picked first than last,” said Price. “It’s a great testament to the players and the hard work they put in.”
Husson and Norwich shared the conference crown last season with 6-1 records, but Norwich won the regular-season meeting 20-17 to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Husson won the ECFC title in 2014 and earned its first NCAA tourney bid.
This year’s Husson team will be quarterbacked by sophomore Cody Brandon, who appeared in nine games last year as a backup to the graduated Joe Seccareccia and completed 31-of-56 passes.
Reigning ECFC Offensive Player of the Year John Smith, who rushed for 1,733 yards in 2015, will headline the offense. The top five receivers, including All-ECFC first-teamer Deon Wiggins and second-teamer Robenson Saintard, and 10 offensive linemen with at least two years of experience also return.
Nine of the top 12 tacklers are back on defense including linebacker and top tackler Ellis Throckmorton, sacks leader Luke Washburn and cornerback Marquis Jiminez, all All-ECFC second-team picks. Senior Logan Steward of Hampden has returned to rover back where he played in 604 of 612 plays as a freshman before switching to running back the past two years.
Husson opens its season at Alfred (New York) on Sept. 3.