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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, June 10, 2018 1:00 am

In the news

Cougars ranked No. 2 in preseason

The two-time defending NAIA national champion Saint Francis football team is ranked No. 2 in the 2018 Street & Smith's College Football Yearbook NAIA Preview Top 10.

Saint Francis, which opens practice for a 21st season Aug. 6, returns five starters on offense, seven on defense and five on special teams. Returning will be Street & Smith preseason All-Americans, linebackers Piercen Harnish and Eric Dunten and running back Justin Green. 

The biggest missing component is NAIA National Player of the Year, graduated quarterback Nick Ferrer. 

The top-ranked Cougars (14-0) beat No. 2 Reinhardt 24-13 in the national championship in Daytona Beach, Florida, in December. 

Saint Francis is 27-1 over the last two seasons and has won 23 straight games. The Cougars are 38-2 over the last three seasons, including a loss in the NAIA semifinals in 2015.

Defending Mid-States Football Association Mideast League champion Saints Francis opens the season at 6 p.m. Aug. 25 against Robert Morris at Bishop D'Arcy Stadium.

Morningside, which the Cougars beat 43-36 in the NAIA semifinals, is ranked No. 1. The Mustangs bring back preseason All-American quarterback Trent Solsma.

– Journal Gazette