State Colleges

Team-by-team KCAC football preview: Kansas Wesleyan again a national title contender

Kansas Wesleyan reached the national semifinals last season thanks in part to the standout play of running back Demarco Prewitt, who gained All-American status after rushing for 2,371 yards and scoring 41 touchdowns.
Kansas Wesleyan reached the national semifinals last season thanks in part to the standout play of running back Demarco Prewitt, who gained All-American status after rushing for 2,371 yards and scoring 41 touchdowns. Courtesy

Last season was a historic one for the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, as Kansas Wesleyan became the first conference team to advance to the national semifinals.

It was the most dominant season the KCAC has ever seen, as Wesleyan won all 10 of its conference games en route to an undefeated conference title and the Coyotes finished the season with a 13-1 record — one game short of playing for a national title.

Wesleyan coach Matt Drinkall has since left to become the offensive coordinator at Army, but first-year coach Myers Hendrickson has plenty of firepower returning — 15 starters, including All-Americans in running back Demarco Prewitt and defensive end Shaq Bradford — for the Coyotes to make another run at a national championship.

With the majority of KCAC teams opening the season next Saturday, here’s how the Eagle sees the conference race playing out this season.

1. Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes

2018 record: 13-1 (10-0, 1st KCAC). Head coach: Myers Hendrickson, first season. Offense: Power Spread. Defense: Multiple. Returning starters: 15 (9 offense, 6 defense). 2019 polling: 1st (media), 1st (coaches).

Pos.NameHt.Wt.Year2018 Stats
RBDemarco Prewitt5-10213Sr.429 rushes, 2,371 yards (5.5 average), 38 TDs; 34 catches, 417 yards, 3 TDs
DEShaq Bradford5-10223Sr.56 tackles, 35 TFLs, 22 sacks, Second-team NAIA All-American
QBJohnny Feauto6-0186Sr.208-332 passing (63%), 3,273 yards, 41 TDs, 6 INTs; 129 rushes, 466 yards, 6 TDs
TECharlie Simmons6-1200Jr.57 catches, 1,037 yards (18.2 average), 13 TDs
WRTrenton Poe-Evans6-2203Sr.59 catches, 955 yards (16.2 average), 14 TDs
LTEli Smith6-7306Sr.First-team all-KCAC pick
LBJasper Chavez5-10225Sr.71 tackles, 2 TFL
LGDarrius Brown5-11319Jr.First-team all-KCAC pick
DBRashaan Broomfield5-11181Sr.32 tackles, 2 INTs
LBWarren Singletary5-10230Sr.101 tackles, 10.5 TFLs, 1 sack
DBScott Helsper5-10184Jr.41 tackles, 5 INTs

Schedule: Sept. 7, Tabor, 6 p.m.; Sept. 14, at Friends, 7 p.m.; Sept. 21, Bethany, 2 p.m.; Sept. 28, at Ottawa, 6 p.m.; Oct. 12, Saint Mary, 2 p.m.; Oct. 19, at Southwestern, 1 p.m.; Oct. 26, at Avila, 1 p.m.; Nov. 2, McPherson, 1 p.m.; Nov. 9, at Sterling, 1 p.m.; Nov. 16, Bethel, 1:30 p.m.

2. Ottawa Braves

2018 record: 8-2 (8-2, 2nd KCAC). Head coach: Kent Kessinger, 16th season, 96-66. Offense: Multiple. Defense: Multiple. Returning starters: 11 (6 offense, 5 defense). 2019 polling: 2nd (media), 2nd (coaches).

Pos.NameHt.Wt.Year2018 Stats
DLJacob Garcia6-0

Jr.56 tackles, 15 TFLs, 8 sacks
QBConnor Kaegi6-7

Sr.162-269 passing (60%), 1,956 yards, 25 TDs, 9 INTs; 95 rushes, 295 yards, 8 TDs
LBColby Johnson5-10

Jr.90 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks
RBJames Reeder6-0

Jr.153 rushes, 601 yards, 3 TDs
WRDylan Foos6-1

Jr.36 catches, 516 yards (14.3 average), 6 TDs
DLIsaiah Veal6-1

Jr.46 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 3 sacks

Schedule: Sept. 7, at Southwestern, 6 p.m.; Sept. 21, at Sterling, 6 p.m.; Sept. 28, Kansas Wesleyan, 6 p.m.; Oct. 5, at Tabor, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 12, Avila, 1 p.m.; Oct. 19, at McPherson, TBA; Oct. 26, Bethel, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 2, Saint Mary, 1 p.m.; Nov. 9, Friends, 1 p.m.; Nov. 16, at Bethany, 1:30 p.m.

3. Sterling Warriors

2018 record: 4-6 (4-6, t-6th KCAC). Head coach: Chase Hansen, second season, 4-6. Offense: Power Spread. Defense: 3-4. Returning starters: 15 (8 offense, 7 defense). 2019 polling: 5th (media); 5th (coaches).

Pos.NameHt.Wt.Year2018 Stats
QBCedrick Phillips6-0200Sr.2016 NAIA second-team All-American QB who sat out last season
FSKwame Sexton6-0185Jr.101 tackles, 4 TFLs, 6 INTs
OLLayne Becker6-2225Jr.Second-team all-KCAC pick
WREric Butler5-9185Sr.90-163 passing (55%), 1,264 yards, 12 TDs, 4 INTs; 117 rushes, 704 yards, 8 TDs
RBCevon Mitchell-Ford5-9190Sr.92 rushes, 565 yards (6.1 average), 4 TDs
CBTwon Collymore5-8150So.53 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, 3 INTs
LBBrayden Lock6-0215So.52 tackles, 7 TFLs, 3 sacks, 1 INT
TEJanson Robeson6-1215Jr.7 catches, 131 yards (18.7 average)
LBNick McGrew5-9180Sr.61 tackles, 7 TFLs, 5 sacks

Schedule: Sept. 7, Avila, 6 p.m.; Sept. 14, at McPherson, 7 p.m.; Sept. 21, Ottawa, 6 p.m.; Sept. 28, at Bethel, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 5, at Saint Mary, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 12, Friends, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 19, at Bethany, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 2, Southwestern, 1 p.m.; Nov. 9, Kansas Wesleyan, 1 p.m.; Nov. 16, at Tabor, 1:30 p.m.

4. Avila Eagles

2018 record: 7-3 (7-3, 3rd KCAC). Head coach: Marc Benavidez, second season, 7-3. Offense: Spread. Defense: Multiple. Returning starters: 12 (6 offense, 6 defense). 2019 polling: 3rd (media), 3rd (coaches).

Pos.NameHt.Wt.Year2018 Stats
DBRyon Holmes6-2190Sr.53 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 4 INTs
QBJohn Jacobs III6-1215So.84-164 passing (51%), 1,310 yards, 16 TDs, 5 INT; 85 rushes, 454 yards, 11 TDs
OLChijioke Eguzo6-2260Sr.Second-team all-KCAC pick
WRChristian Hopkins5-11180Jr.27 catches, 291 yards, 5 TDs
OLBrandon Harper6-5305Jr.Honorable mention all-KCAC pick
WRNaeem Moore6-0216Sr.14 catches, 300 yards (21.4 average), 1 TD
DLJoshjuan West6-0265Sr.21 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 4 sacks
LBSteven Ford6-0195Sr.56 tackles, 10.5 TFLs, 3 sacks

Schedule: Sept. 7, at Sterling, 6 p.m.; Sept. 21, at Saint Mary, 6 p.m.; Sept. 28, Friends, 1 p.m.; Oct. 5, Bethany, 1 p.m.; Oct. 12, at Ottawa, 1 p.m.; Oct. 26, Kansas Wesleyan, 1 p.m.; Nov. 2, at Tabor, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 9, at Southwestern, 1 p.m.; Nov. 16, McPherson, 12 p.m.

5. Tabor Blue Jays

2018 record: 6-4 (6-4, 4th KCAC). Head coach: Mike Gardner, 12th season, 85-36. Offense: Spread. Defense: 4-2-5. Returning starters: 11 (8 offense, 3 defense). 2019 polling: 4th (media), 4th (coaches).

Pos.NameHt.Wt.Year2018 Stats
DLJosh Lauese6-0245Sr.24 tackles, 9 TFLs, 2.5 sacks
FSCaleb Devine6-2185Jr.43 tackles, 5 INTs
RBJosh Johnson6-0190Sr.169 rushes, 681 yards, 8 TDs; 16 catches, 138 yards, 1 TD
QBTrey McGee6-1185So.75-137 passing (55%), 862 yards, 4 TDs, 6 INTs; 70 rushes, 291 yards, 1 TD
WRDerrick Harper6-0170Jr.24 catches, 254 yards (10.6 average)
WRDeJuan Jones6-3190Fr.Freshman from Forth Worth, Texas
CBRaymond Perrault5-8165So.23 tackles, 2 INTs

Schedule: Sept. 7, at Kansas Wesleyan, 6 p.m.; Sept. 14, Southwestern, 7 p.m.; Sept. 21, at Friends, 7 p.m.; Sept. 28, at McPherson, 7 p.m.; Oct. 5, Ottawa, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 12, at Bethel, 6 p.m.; Oct. 19, Saint Mary, 2 p.m.; Oct. 26, at Bethany, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 2, Avila, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 16, Sterling, 1:30 p.m.

6. Bethel Threshers

2018 record: 3-7 (3-7, t-8th KCAC). Head coach: Terry Harrison, second season, 3-7. Offense: Flexbone. Defense: 4-3. Returning starters: 16 (8 offense, 8 defense). 2019 polling: 7th (media), 7th (coaches).

Pos.NameHt.Wt.Year2018 Stats
RBCamryn Harrison5-9170Jr.65 touches, 644 yards (9.9 average), 4 TDs
QBZach Esau6-0195Sr.55-113 passing (49%), 1,136 yards, 10 TDs, 5 INTs; 197 rushes, 808 yards, 8 TDs
FBBraedon Starlin-Driver5-9175Sr.97 rushes, 472 yards, 7 TDs
LBJosh Seabolt5-9210So.93 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 2 sacks
WRTanner Galliart6-3210Sr.27 catches, 535 yards (19.8 average), 6 TDs
DLJoseph Winfield5-11270Sr.52 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks
OLRobert Graham6-2260Jr.Second-team all-KCAC pick
LBBlake Neuschafer6-1210So.Transfer from Independence CC

Schedule: Sept. 7, Bethany, 6 p.m.; Sept. 21, McPherson, 6 p.m.; Sept. 28, Sterling, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 5, at Southwestern, 1 p.m.; Oct. 12, Tabor, 6 p.m.; Oct. 19, at Friends, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 26, at Ottawa, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 2, at Texas College, 2 p.m.; Nov. 9, Saint Mary, 1 p.m.; Nov. 16, at Kansas Wesleyan, 1:30 p.m.

7. Southwestern Moundbuilders

2018 record: 6-5 (5-5, 5th KCAC). Head coach: Brad Griffin, fifth season, 16-27. Offense: N/A. Defense: N/A. Returning starters: 19 (9 offense, 10 defense). 2019 polling: 6th (media), 6th (coaches).

Pos.NameHt.Wt.Year2018 Stats
OLDustin Rivera6-0270Jr.First-team NAIA All-American
RBKeyshawn Wyatt5-5165Jr.195 rushes, 1,313 yards (6.7 average), 14 TDs
LBGrant Torgerson5-10220Jr.111 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, 3 sacks, 1 INT
WREdrick Gonzales5-7165Sr.43 catches, 709 yards (16.5 average), 9 TDs
DLCortney Cravin5-10270Jr.32 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks
DBMicah Jackson5-10180So.56 tackles, 1 TFL
LBClayton Downum5-10215Jr.55 tackles, 7 TFLs, 1 sack, 1 INT
WRTanner Spencer5-10175Sr.37 catches, 468 yards (12.6 average), 6 TDs
LBIsrael Harper5-10215Jr.63 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 2 sacks, 1 INT

Schedule: Sept. 7, Ottawa, 6 p.m.; Sept. 14, at Tabor, 7 p.m.; Sept. 28, at Bethany, 7 p.m.; Oct. 5, Bethel, 1 p.m.; Oct. 12, at McPherson, 1 p.m.; Oct. 19, Kansas Wesleyan, 1 p.m.; Oct. 26, Friends, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 2, at Sterling, 1 p.m.; Nov. 9, Avila, 1 p.m.; Nov. 16, at Saint Mary, 1:30 p.m.

8. Saint Mary Spires

2018 record: 4-6 (4-6, t-6th KCAC). Head coach: Jay Osborne, sixth season, 23-31. Offense: Pro Style. Defense: 4-3. Returning starters: 11 (6 offense, 5 defense). 2019 polling: 8th (media), 8th (coaches).

Pos.NameHt.Wt.Year2018 Stats
DBNicholas Holmes5-11207Jr.61 tackles, 11 INTs
RBDemontrel Wilson5-10250So.145 rushes, 632 yards (4.4 average), 13 TDs
DBTrey Espy6-2183Sr.66 tackles, 9 TFLs, 1 INT
LBDavid Burton6-1202Sr.76 tackles, 10.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks
WRBryan Barnhart5-9188Sr.46 catches, 642 yards (14.0 average), 6 TDs
DBElijah Creighton5-10172Sr.34 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT

Schedule: Sept. 7, Friends, 6 p.m.; Sept. 14, at Bethany, 7 p.m.; Sept. 21, Avila, 6 p.m.; Oct. 5, Sterling, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 12, at Kansas Wesleyan, 2 p.m.; Oct. 19, at Tabor, 2 p.m.; Oct. 26, McPherson, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 2, at Ottawa, 1 p.m.; Nov. 9, at Bethel, 1 p.m.; Nov. 16, Southwestern, 1:30 p.m.

9. Friends Falcons

2018 record: 3-8 (3-7, t-8th KCAC). Head coach: Dion Meneley, third season, 7-15. Offense: Pro spread. Defense: 4-3. Returning starters: 12 (5 offense, 7 defense). 2019 polling: 9th (media), 8th (coaches).

Pos.NameHt.Wt.Year2018 Stats
DLJeremiah Pharms6-3245Sr.35 tackles, 8 TFLs, 2 sacks
DLRobby Garcia5-11210Jr.50 tackles, 14 TFLs, 3 sacks
DLAdam Brown6-2245So.51 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 2 sacks, 2 INTs
LBSonny Brown6-0210Jr.46 tackles, 8 TFLs, 2 sacks, 2 INTs
RBMarshall McShan5-10208Jr.44 rushes, 114 yards
RBQuincy Brown6-0208Sr.73 rushes, 212 yards, 4 TDs
LBDavid Akao6-0205So.Transfer from Coffeyville CC
WRTyson Love6-2205Jr.Transfer from Independence CC
WRCade Nagy6-3190So.38 catches, 636 yards (16.7 average), 6 TDs

Schedule: Sept. 7, at Saint Mary, 6 p.m.; Sept. 14, Kansas Wesleyan, 7 p.m.; Sept. 21, Tabor, 7 p.m.; Sept. 28, at Avila, 1 p.m.; Oct. 5, McPherson, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 12, at Sterling, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 19, Bethel, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 26, at Southwestern, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 2, Bethany, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 9, at Ottawa, 1 p.m.

10. McPherson Bulldogs

2018 record: 3-7 (3-7, t-8th KCAC). Head coach: Jeremiah Fiscus, first season. Offense: Multiple. Defense: Multiple. Returning starters: 10 (4 offense, 6 defense). 2019 polling: 10th (media), 10th (coaches).

Pos.NameHt.Wt.Year2018 Stats
QBEd Crouch6-3206Sr.163-289 passing (56%), 2,122 yards, 16 TDs, 8 INTs; 120 rushes, 567 yards, 10 TDs
MLBKollin Goering6-1211So.66 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, 1 sack
WRBen Nikkel6-1185So.21 catches, 447 yards (21.3 average), 4 TDs
RBCorey Davis5-9195Jr.69 rushes, 372 yards (5.4 average), 6 TDs
DLJoey Hale6-0256Sr.58 tackles, 9 TFLs, 2 sacks, 1 INT
DLOluwaseyi Johnson5-9265Jr.30 tackles, 10.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, 2 INTs
CBBrett Sykes5-7151Sr.43 tackles, 3 INTs

Schedule: Sept. 14, Sterling, 7 p.m.; Sept. 21, at Bethel, 6 p.m.; Sept. 28, Tabor, 7 p.m.; Oct. 5, at Friends, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 12, Southwestern, 1 p.m.; Oct. 19, Ottawa, TBA; Oct. 26, at Saint Mary, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 2, at Kansas Wesleyan, 1 p.m.; Nov. 9, Bethany, 1 p.m.; Nov. 16, at Avila, 12 p.m.

11. Bethany Swedes

2018 record: 2-9 (2-8, 11th KCAC). Head coach: Curran White, first season. Offense: Multiple. Defense: Multiple. Returning starters: 10 (7 offense, 3 defense). 2019 polling: 11th (media), 11th (coaches).

Pos.NameHt.Wt.Year2018 Stats
DBDeauntre Roberts5-9175Sr.22 tackles, 4 INTs
DLDahari Gray6-4265Sr.37 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 3 sacks
OLHunter Coronel6-4300Jr.Honorable mention all-KCAC pick
QBAustin Denson6-1200Sr.25-62 passing (40%), 391 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs
OLCooper Burkhart6-3280Sr.

Schedule: Sept. 7, at Bethel, 6 p.m.; Sept. 14, Saint Mary, 7 p.m.; Sept. 21, at Kansas Wesleyan, 2 p.m.; Sept. 28, Southwestern, 7 p.m.; Oct. 5, at Avila, 1 p.m.; Oct. 19, Sterling, 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 26, Tabor, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 2, at Friends, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 9, at McPherson, 1 p.m.; Nov. 16, Ottawa, 1:30 p.m.

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