DANVILLE, Va. -- The Maryville College football team was picked to finish fourth out of nine teams at the USA South Athletic Conference's annual football media day held at Averett University on Monday morning. The fourth place prognostication is the highest preseason ranking for the Fighting Scots since joining the league in 2005.
Christopher Newport earned the top spot in the poll with 56 points, including four first-place votes. League newcomer Huntingdon trailed the Captains by a single point, garnering three first-place votes en route to 55 points, while Ferrum took home the final first place vote and trailed Huntingdon by a single point with 54. Maryville tallied 44 points followed by Methodist University (37), LaGrange (32), Greensboro (21), N.C. Wesleyan (13) and Averett (12).
Maryville is coming off a 2012 campaign in which it won each of its final three games to finish at 6-4 overall and 5-2 in the conference. The Scots earned a piece of the league title as tri-champions with Ferrum and Christopher Newport.
In his second annual address to the media, Head Coach Mike Rader presented his program's goals, reflected on last season's success, and talked on what was needed to maintain a competitive learning environment.
"The fourth place ranking is not where we want to be as a program," stated Coach Rader. "We strive for so much more within our program. Our coaches, kids, and administration strive to be at the top year in and year out. When we can create an environment of unselfishness and a program where folks want to serve each other, when nobody really cares who gets the credit, then we will be finally getting things done the right way."
Maryville returns 18 starters from last year's championship squad. They return eight starters on the league's top defense and ten incumbents on the offensive side of the ball. "We are experienced, but I am excited about the fierce battles we are going to have with this season's recruiting class," stated the second year mentor. "The athleticism of our newcomers will challenge every position to compete and get better on a daily basis. If you want one word to describe my goal for the year it would be competitive. I want to be competitive in the classroom, every practice, every rep in the weight room, and every snap on the field during practice and gameday."
"Last but not least, I want everyone to know about the great staff we have assembled at MC," exclaimed Coach Rader. "They allow me to be a head coach and complete 99% of the daily operations. They do a great job of teaching football and the life lessons associated with the challenges on and off the field. We make every effort to take care of the inside of our student-athletes and let them know we care about everything that they do. The wins and losses will take care of themselves but if we cannot motivate our kids to give us everything they have every single day it really doesn't matter. We try to thank them daily for the hard work and dedication that they have displayed toward the program and each other."
The Scots open the 2013 season on Sept. 7 when they travel to Rome, Georgia for a 6:00 pm game against the Berry College Vikings. MC's first home game will be "Homecoming" on September 28th when they open USA South action when hosting Methodist University.