Posted: Aug 22, 2018
Framingham State has been tabbed by the coaches from around the league as the preseason favorite to win the 2018 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference title.
The Rams earned five first place votes for 60 points to sit atop this year's poll. They finished last season 7-1 to take home a share of the MASCAC regular season title with Plymouth State. Returning to the team on offense is All-Conference running back Quron Wright who averaged 105.5 yards per game (5.4 yards per rush) with five touchdowns and 1,160 total yards on the year. On the other side of the ball, All-Conference defensive lineman Joshua Onujiogu led the conference in sacks with 11.5 and total sack yards with 75. He also collected 62 tackles, averagaing 5.6 per game.
Reigning co-champ Plymouth State is up next in second with 52 points, including two first place votes. Back under center is quarterback Zack Edwards who was fourth in the MASCAC in touchdowns (18), total yards (1,575) and completion percentage (51.4%) while also averaging the fifth-most yards per game (143.2) on his way to earning All-Conference honors. Grabbing All-Conference recognition as a freshman, punter Jeremy Martin looks to repeat his success after averaging 36.9 yards per punt (1,404 total yards), including a long of 63 yards and 13 landing inside the 20 yard line.
Sitting in third is Western Connecticut State with 50 points. The Colonials had a 5-3 mark during the 2017 league campaign. Duane Gary rushed for 674 yards and three touchdowns, including a game high 179 yards in the win over Bridgewater State last season. As a kick returner, he finished with 399 return yards, including a game-high return of 70 yards to grab All-Conference accolades.
Grabbing a first place vote in fourth is Worcester State with 43 points. The Lancers collected a 5-3 record during league action last season. The All-Conference offensive duo of quarterback Noah Brum and tight end Jacob Maher return after Brum led the MASCAC in total yards (3,197), yards per game (319.7), completion percentage (64.8%) and touchdowns (30). Meanwhile Maher was first in receiving touchdowns (14) and second in total yards (986), receptions (56), yards per game (98.6) and yards per catch (17.6).
Tying for fifth is UMass Dartmouth and Bridgewater State with 36 points. The Corsairs were 4-4 in 2017 and take home the final first place vote. Reigning MASCAC Offensive Rookie of the Year Stephen Gacioch is back after throwing for 865 yards (123.6 per game), seven touchdowns and a 55.5 completion percentage. The Bears had two wins last season. Jack Lavanchy finished on top the league in total receiving yards with 1,193 and with the best average of 119.3 per game. He also grabbed nine touchdowns on 80 receptions and averaged 14.9 yards per catch on his way to All-Conference recognition.
Coming up in seventh is Westfield State with 21 points. The Owls had three wins during the 2017 league campaign. All-Conference running back Travon Holder returns to the gridiron after leading the MASCAC in rushing touchdowns (10) and yards per game (114.7) while finishing second in total yards (1,147) and rushes (240).
Rounding out the 2018 poll in eighth and ninth are Massachusetts Maritime and Fitchburg State with 15 and 11 points, respectively. During the 2017 season, the Buccaneers' Paul Sances grabbed five receiving touchdowns on 668 yards (66.8 per game) with a season-best touchdown catch of 64 yards. For the Falcons, All-Conference defensive lineman Cyrick Watford returns after making 45 tackles, including 19 solos plus 4.5 sacks last season.
Seven of the nine MASCAC football teams begin their 2018 season on Labor Day weekend while Massachusetts Maritime and Western Connecticut State kick off their season on September 8.
2018 MASCAC Football Pre-Season Coaches Poll
(First Place Votes In Parentheses)
|1.||Framingham State||(5)||60 points|
|2.||Plymouth State||(2)||52 points|
|3.||Western Connecticut State||50 points|
|4.||Worcester State||(1)||43 points|
|UMass Dartmouth||(1)||36 points|
|6.||Bridgewater State||36 points|
|7.||Westfield State||21 points|
|8.||Massachusetts Maritime||15 points|
|9.||Fitchburg State||11 points|