August 2, 2011

Jackets Picked Second on Gridiron in Preseason HCAC Poll

More news about: Defiance

GREENWOOD, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference announced its 2011 preseason poll on Tuesday, with Defiance College netting the second-highest amount of votes from the nine coaches. The Yellow Jackets also placed six student-athletes on the HCAC Preseason Watch List.

Defiance rallied to an overall clip of 6-4 in 2010 and took second place in the HCAC with a 6-2 mark in league contests. After a setback at Franklin dropped DC to 1-3 on the season, the Purple and Gold surged to notch wins in five-straight HCAC tilts to stay alive in the hunt for the league crown until the final week of the regular season.

Along with the strong finish and second-place showing in the league standings, the 2010 campaign was further highlighted by Rob Taylor becoming the all-time wins leader in the history of the DC football program.

Taylor will enter his ninth season at the helm of the Yellow Jackets in 2011, looking to guide a roster of nearly 70 returners and over 90 incoming freshmen to the 13th conference championship in program history and the first since Defiance claimed its only HCAC Championship in 2001.

A strong senior class will be expected to lead the charge, with Ryan Black, Andy Cessna, Drew Kuesel and Rick Powell anchoring a powerful offensive attack during their final collegiate campaigns. Yet another explosive defensive unit for the Purple and Gold is expected to be fueled by senior Joemese Scott, along with junior Anthony Sierra.

Those six have been heralded as HCAC Preseason Players to Watch but the group will have plenty of support on both sides of the ball. Defiance is set to return all but one starter from an offense that averaged 25.3 points per game in league action and eight-of-11 regulars from the second-ranked defense in the conference in 2010. In all, the Jackets will return nine All-HCAC performers from one year ago.

Black was tabbed as a HCAC Preseason Player to Watch after transitioning to the offensive line for Defiance and earning First-Team All-HCAC status as a junior. The senior center will take over as the leader of the front line for DC in 2011, after helping DC pace the conference with 218.8 rushing yards per game last season.

Cessna joined Black on the HCAC Watch List after also garnering First-Team All-HCAC honors as a junior from the tight end and wide receiver positions. Cessna set career highs with 14 receptions, 126 total yards and two receiving touchdowns and was an important blocker in Defiance's ground game.

No piece will be more vital to the success of DC's rushing attack then senior Drew Kuesel, who followed up his first All-HCAC postseason accolade in 2010 with a spot on the HCAC Watch List. Kuesel averaged 87.8 rushing yards per game and set new career highs with 702 yards and six scores on the ground last season. Those numbers ranked Kuesel third in the HCAC and 76th in the nation in rushing yards per outing.

Powell will be under center for Defiance for the fourth-straight season, and enters his final collegiate campaign as a preseason candidate for HCAC Offensive Most Valuable Player recognition. The dual-threat quarterback is a two-time All-HCAC performer and two-time HCAC Player to Watch, after ranking fifth among all NCAA Division III signal callers with 99.8 rushing yards per game. Powell ended last season with 1,257 yards and eight touchdowns through the air, along with 998 yards and 10 scores on the ground to rank second in the HCAC in rushing yards and total yards of offense per contest.

The defense will lean on Scott in the trenches, as the preseason honor comes on the heels of his First-Team All-HCAC selection as a junior. Scott led the conference and ranked 34th in the nation with 8.5 sacks, while also registering career highs with 47 tackles and 12.0 stops for lost yardage.

Sierra rounds out the Players to Watch for Defiance and is the lone junior among the team's six preseason standouts. The junior netted his second First-Team All-HCAC honor in as many seasons while excelling at the strong safety and cornerback positions. During the 2010 season, Sierra logged 38 tackles, 4.5 hits for negative yardage, eight passes defended and two interceptions as one of the top defensive backs in the league. Sierra also excelled on special teams for the Yellow Jackets, topping the HCAC and ending 36th in the nation with 11.0 yards per punt return.

Defiance garnered 63 points in the HCAC Preseason Poll, ranking second to the defending conference champions of Franklin College. The Grizzlies secured all but one first-place vote to end with 78 points. Hanover took third place with 61, while Mount St. Joseph had one first-place vote and 59 points for fourth place. The tightly bunched top four were followed in the poll by Rose-Hulman (38), Anderson (34), Bluffton (34), Manchester (28) and Earlham (10).

The Jackets will take the lid off the highly-anticipated 2011 season on September 3, when they play host to Muskingum at 1:30 pm.

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
Video
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Endicott at Framingham State
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Kean at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
Audio
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
Audio
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
Audio
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
McPherson at Nebraska Wesleyan
4:00 PM
UW-Platteville at George Fox
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Video Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
7:00 PM
Denison at Marietta
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
8:30 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
Video
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
Audio
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
4:00 PM
UW-Platteville at George Fox
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
Live Stats Audio
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
Live Stats
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats