MARSHFIELD, Mass. – The Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) announced its 2019 preseason poll on Tuesday as voted by the league's six head coaches.
SUNY Maritime took the top spot earning 35 points off five first-place votes. Dean College held the second spot with 31 points and remaining first-place vote. Castleton University came in as a projected third place finish with 18 total points while Anna Maria College and Gallaudet University finished tied for fourth with 15 points. Alfred State College rounded out the league preseason ranks with 12 total points.
Complete 2019 ECFC Coaches Preseason Poll
|1. SUNY Maritime (5)||35|
|2. Dean College (1)||31|
|3. Castleton University||18|
|t-4. Anna Maria College||15|
|t-4. Gallaudet University||15|
|6. Alfred State College||12|
(First-Place votes in parentheses)
The Privateers are coming off three-straight Bowl appearances with sights set on an NCAA postseason berth under first-year Head Coach Mickey Rehring. The team returns senior captains Liam Bailey and Justin Snuffer to anchor the Privateer defense. Bailey, a first-team All-ECFC selection in 2018, led the conference with 11.5 tackles per game and 126 tackles overall. Snuffer garnered second-team All-ECFC honors as a defensive back in 2018 logging four picks and seven pass break-ups. On offense the Privateers have big shoes to fill after the graduation of quarterback Thomas Wright (2018 ECFC Offensive Player of the Year) but they do return their lead rusher in Kahlil Lewin who posted 579 yards and five touchdowns last season.
The Bulldogs have several key returnees back from last year's roster. The team has been knocking at the door of the ECFC the last few seasons as they aim to bust it down in 2019 with a postseason berth. Their leading receiver in Errol Breaux is back for his junior campaign after hauling in 41 catches and 11 touchdowns in 2018. His 92 yards per game ranked third in the conference and paved the way for his second-team All-ECFC nod. Gene Baisden returns on defense after putting up an impressive statistical line in 2018. As a junior the linebacker notched 54 tackles, two sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and three picks (with one of those being returned for a touchdown). Also back for Dean is 2018 ECFC Rookie of the Year, Terrell Watts. In nine games under center Watts threw for 1,982 yards and 17 touchdowns with just five interceptions.
The Spartans lost one of the most explosive players in league history in Moe Harris to graduation after another record-breaking season in 2018. This means the backfield is wide open and looking for new contributors for 2019. Jacob McCarthy appeared in eight games at quarterback for Castleton last season as a freshman and put up 803 passing yards and three touchdowns. Chris Rice, a first-team All-ECFC selection in 2018, is back to anchor the defensive line after leading the team with 88 tackles last season. His six sacks ranked sixth in the ECFC while his 54 sack yards ranked first.
Anna Maria boasted a young squad in 2018 whose experience will play a large role in the 2019 season. Carl St. Paul returns for his junior season after earning Honorable Mention All-ECFC honors in 2018. His 71 tackles ranked second on the AMCATS last year and he also contributed 2.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. The team returns another All-ECFC selection in Jude Sampson at defensive line. Sampson posted 47 tackles, one sack and also forced a fumble in his sophomore campaign.
Gallaudet returns second-team All-ECFC running back honoree in Cassmeir Hutchinson. As a freshman, Hutchinson led the Bison in rushing with 645 yards and two touchdowns. Also back for Gallaudet is Mauricio Orozco, a major defensive contributor for the Bison last season. Orozco posted 51 tackles (team high) and also logged two interceptions and two pass break-ups as a linebacker in 2018.
The Pioneers return second-team All-ECFC running back Ronnie Clark who earned all-conference accolades after an impressive freshman campaign, logging 711 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Senior offensive lineman, Devon Clark, is also back to provide a spark on the line after his 2018 season saw him garner All-ECFC Honorable Mention recognition. First-Team All-ECFC defensive back, Michael Zimmerman, returns to the Pioneers for his senior season after recording 75 tackles and three interceptions last season, both good for fifth-most in the league.
The season kicks off on Friday, September 6 with Dean, Anna Maria and Gallaudet all playing under the Friday night lights. Alfred State, Maritime and Castleton begin their seasons the following day with afternoon non-conference tilts with league play set to kick off on October 12.