BANGOR, Maine — The Husson University football team has earned a season-ending national ranking for the first time in program history after a year marked by the Eagles’ first NCAA Division III tournament victory.
Coach Gabby Price’s club moved up 10 spots to No. 21 in the final American Football Coaches Association Division III coaches poll that was released Monday.
Husson made a similar advance in the D3Football.com poll, moving into a tie for 25th with Franklin College of Indiana in that organization’s final poll that was released Sunday after being unranked at the end of the regular season.
Husson’s final AFCA ranking marked the first time a team from the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference was ranked in the top 25 in both polls.
The Eagles also were ranked No. 3 in the final New England Division III Poll, the highest regional ranking in program history.
The Eagles (10-2) set a school record for wins in a season after completing a second consecutive 9-1 regular season and third undefeated conference record in the last four years to capture their third ECFC title and third trip to the NCAA tournament.
Husson defeated previously undefeated and 19th-ranked Springfield College 23-21 in the first round of NCAA tourney play before falling at fifth-ranked Delaware Valley 37-15 in a second-round contest on Nov. 25.
Eagles add All-America honors
Husson senior running back John Smith and junior defensive back Quan Soyini have added to their postseason accolades by being named to the Associated Press Little All-American Team.
Smith earned first-team honors while Soyini was named to the second team, marking the first time a Husson player has garnered AP Little All-American accolades.
Smith and senior rover Jean Gabriel also were named to the D3football.com All-America team, with Smith named to the second-team offense and Gabriel honored among third-team specialists.
Smith, a four-time, first-team All-ECFC selection and three-time league offensive MVP, led Division III this fall in rushing yards (2,242) and rushing yards per game (186.8) and tied for the most rushing touchdowns with Leanthony Ressnover of Eureka (31).
The Fayetteville, Ga., native, also ranked among the top five nationally in total points scored (second with 186), total touchdowns (second with 31), scoring (third with 15.5 ppg), and average all-purpose yards (fourth, 195.42 ypg).
Soyini, Husson’s first defensive player to earn All-America honors since Stephan Dance in 2014, recorded 40 tackles (3.0 for loss), 1.5 quarterback sacks, 14 pass breakups and a school-record nine interceptions this year.
The Manchester, Conn., product garnered All-ECFC first-team honors at both cornerback and kick returner, becoming the first player in Husson history to be named to the league’s first-team offense and defense in the same season.
Smith and Gabriel were the first Eagles to earn D3football.com All-American status.
Gabriel, a Lake Worth, Fla., native, led all of Division III this fall with seven blocked punts. He also recorded career highs in tackles (59.0), sacks (3), tackles-for-loss (9), forced fumbles (3), pass interceptions (4) and pass breakups (9).
Gabriel previously was named D3football.com All-East second team, All-ECAC Division III first team and All-ECFC first team this season.
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