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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, August 08, 2017 1:00 am

In The News

Saint Francis stays atop football poll

Saint Francis retained the No. 1 slot in the NAIA Football Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll after having claimed its first title in 2016. The Cougars claimed all of the first-place votes and earned 366 total points to remain in the top spot.

Top 25 highlights (historical information dates back to 1999):

• For just the sixth time in program history and third-consecutive poll, Saint Francis holds a No. 1 ranking in the poll. The Cougars' first No. 1 ranking came in the 2016 postseason Coaches Poll.

• In 2016, Saint Francis won its first national title in football as it defeated No. 2 Baker (Kansas) in Daytona Beach, Florida, 38-17.

• Led by Kevin Donley, who is the NAIA leader in career wins at 302 and entering his 20th season at Saint Francis, the Cougars will open the 2017 season on the road Sept. 2 against Jamestown, North Dakota. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two.

• New to the poll are Saint Xavier (Illinois) and Southern Oregon at 24 and 25 respectively.

• Carroll (Montana) owns the most No. 1 rankings with 58, followed by former NAIA member Sioux Falls (South Dakota) (55), Georgetown (25), Morningside (20) and Saint Xavier (14).

• Morningside holds the longest active streak with 126 straight Top 25 mentions.

• The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences.

– Journal Gazette