Christian Mowrer (35) of Husson University helps bring down a Mount Ida ballcarrier during a November 2017 game at the Winkin Complex in Bangor. Credit: Monty J. Rand

Two-time defending Eastern Collegiate Football Conference champion Husson University of Bangor is the preseason pick to retain the title in 2018, according to a preseason poll of the league’s seven head coaches Tuesday.

Coach Gabby Price’s Eagles, which have won the past 15 ECFC games and gone 27-1 in conference play over the past four years, will attempt to build off a 2017 season where they finished 10-2 overall and earned their first-ever NCAA Division III Tournament victory by edging Springfield (Massachusetts) University 23-21.

Husson earned the top spot in this year’s ECFC coaches poll, receiving six of the seven first-place votes and amassing 48 total points.

SUNY Maritime was projected to finish second in the league, garnering one first-place vote and 41 total points. Castleton (Vermont) University rounded out the top three with 35 total points followed by Dean College of Franklin, Massachusetts (26); Gallaudet University of Washington, D.C. (24); Alfred (New York) State College (12); and Anna Maria College of Paxton, Massachusetts (10).

Husson graduated record-setting All-American halfback John Smith from last year’s nationally ranked club but returns a veteran nucleus led by All-ECFC first-team quarterback Cory Brandon, a senior who passed for 1,924 yards and 16 touchdowns last fall.

Also back is Little All-American and All-ECFC defensive back and return specialist Quan Soyini, and first-team All-ECFC linebacker Elvin Suazo Jr., who amassed 87 tackles and 5.5 quarterback sacks in 2017. Both are seniors.

This will mark Husson’s final season of ECFC play, as the Eagles will join the Commonwealth Coast Football ranks in 2019.

Husson will kick off its 2018 season Sept. 1 at Union College of Schenectady, New York.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...