The Husson University football team has been picked to finish third in its inaugural season in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, according to the league preseason poll released Tuesday.
The Eagles, under first-year head coach Nat Clark, trailed only defending CCC Football champion Western New England and 2018 league runner-up Endicott College, which claimed the top two spots in the poll.
Western New England, which last fall advanced to the NCAA Division III playoffs and lost to Frostburg State, garnered five of the eight first-place votes, and Endicott gained the other three.
Husson joins the CCC Football ranks coming off three consecutive Eastern Collegiate Football Conference championships.
Last fall the Eagles were 8-3 overall and 6-0 in ECFC play. The Eagles also went 1-1 against CCC Football opponents, including a three-point loss to Western New England and a victory over in-state rival University of New England.
Husson also advanced to the NCAA tournament where it fell to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the opening round.
Salve Regina finished fourth in the CCC poll, followed by Curry, Nichols, UNE and Becker.
Husson seeks its sixth straight postseason berth this fall.
The Eagles return five All-ECFC selections from last year’s squad, led by senior wide receiver Keyshaun Robinson, junior left tackle Jacob Cameron and junior defensive end Frank Curran of Portland, all first-team choices who have been named the team’s 2019 captains.
Junior defensive end Derek Barden and junior linebacker Kaleb Caron of West Gardiner, both second-team all-conference picks, also are back, as well as senior quarterback David Morrison, junior wideout Tyler Halls of Lisbon, junior tight end Aidan Hogan, senior offensive lineman Collin Spence, junior defensive lineman David Redmond of Westbrook and senior defensive back Nick Alvarez.
Husson kicks off its season Sept. 14 in a nonconference game at UMass Dartmouth before playing its home opener Sept. 21 in Bangor against Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
The conference slate begins Sept. 28, and the team with the best conference record at the end of the regular season will be named the CCC Football champion and earn the league’s automatic qualifier into the 2019 NCAA playoffs.
Husson play its CCC opener Oct. 5 in Worcester, Massachusetts, against Becker.