Nine-time Mid-States Football Association Mideast League champion University of Saint Francis has been tabbed by the league’s coaches to repeat in 2009.
Saint Francis, a Fort Wayne, Indiana powerhouse which enters just its 12th season of football, was voted No.1 by all eight MEL coaches. The Cougars, who have gone unbeaten in eight conference seasons, were 6-0 in the Mideast and 12-1 overall after going undefeated in the regular season and entered the NAIA post-season for the 10th time under longtime coach Kevin Donley.
USF’s 64 points in the pre-season poll were 10 better than runner-up Saint Xavier University of Chicago and 20 more than Malone University from Canton, Ohio. Marian University of Indianapolis, Indiana locked down the No. 4 spot with 41 points, followed by Walsh University (37) of Canton, Ohio, Olivet Nazarene University (19) of Bourbonnais, Illinois and Taylor University (19) of Upland, Indiana and Trinity International University (10) of Deerfield, Illinois.
A year ago, Saint Xavier (4-2, 7-4), Malone (4-2, 6-4) and Ohio Dominican, which has moved to NCAA Division II, shared second place behind Saint Francis. Then came Marian (2-4, 7-4), Walsh (1-5, 3-8) and Taylor (0-6, 2-8). Olivet Nazarene went 3-4, 4-7 and Trinity International 0-7, 1-10 as members of the Midwest League.
ONU and TIU are competing in the Mideast the next two years to balance out the MSFA with the addition of Grand View University of Des Moines, Iowa and Waldorf College of Forest City, Iowa to the Midwest.
USF starts 2-a-days on Friday, August 14. USF opens its 12th season at D’Arcy Stadium on September 12 against Iowa Wesleyan at noon.
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