ROYAL OAK, Mich. - The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) has announced the results of the 2014 Football Preseason Poll. Adrian College has been selected second in the seven-team league as voted on by the league’s head coaches.
The Bulldogs finished last season with a 6-4 record and were 3-3 in the MIAA. Adrian won their first three conference games but dropped their last three to end the season. The outcome of the last three games was decided by a combined 21 points.
“We are hungry to start this season and get back to winning football,” said head coach Jim Deere who is entering his fifth season as head coach for the Bulldogs. “Sometimes the breaks go your way and sometimes they don’t in close games. The momentum during the course of a game goes up and down and we just need to remain steady in clutch situations.”
“Our team did that very well during the 2012 championship season. I think our experience will be very important in those moments this year.”
The Bulldogs are excited about having eight starters return on both offense and defense. The defensive side has been a staple of Bulldog football under Deere and this season might be one of the best yet with eight seniors expected to make an impact. Safety Charles Fleck (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion H.S.) was a First Team All-MIAA performer in 2012 and led the team in tackles as a junior with 79 stops. The secondary is also bolstered by First Team All-MIAA selection Ellis Ewing (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King H.S.) at cornerback. Ewing racked up 34 tackles (29 solo) in 10 starts a year ago and led the squad with nine pass breakups. Defensive lineman Tommy First (Cassopolis, Mich./Cassopolis H.S.) returns as an anchor on the line after ranking fourth on the team with 51 tackles in 2013. He also contributed 7.5 tackles for a loss of 32 yards and three sacks. Fellow lineman Jack Carter (Paulding, Ohio/Paulding H.S.) added 52 tackles from the end position and ranked second on the team with 16.5 tackles for a loss of 59 yards.
The team is looking for more production from an offense that averaged 19.9 points per game in 2013. Up front senior John Rock (Portland, Mich./Portland H.S.) will be the most experienced lineman and was named First Team All-MIAA as a junior. Senior wide receiver Nathan Hartline (Cassopolis, Mich./Cassopolis H.S.) emerged as a playmaker last season leading the team with 49 catches for 819 yards and seven scores.
Poll Results (first-place votes in parenthesis): 1. Albion (5) 7 pts. 2. Adrian 16 pts. 3. Hope (1) 18 pts. 4. Olivet (1) 19. 5. Trine 24. 6. Kalamazoo 29. 7. Alma 34.
This season will mark the third year of a Challenge Series with the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference, with MIAA schools traveling to NACC member institutions on Saturday, Sept. 20. The MIAA will also begin a Challenge Series with members of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW), with MIAA institutions hosting their CCIW rivals on Saturday, Sept. 13.
The MIAA will kick off its 117th season of intercollegiate football action Friday, Sept. 5, as Trine hosts Manchester, Ind. League play begins Saturday, Oct. 4.