ABILENE, Texas — Hardin-Simmons’ football team has been picked second in the preseason poll of American Southwest Conference coaches, sports information directors and select media.
Nine-time defending champion Mary Hardin-Baylor was picked first on all but one ballot and is expected to repeat. The Cru went 13-1 last season and advanced to the NCAA Semifinals.
Earning preseason player of the year honors were Louisiana College’s Ryan Montague and Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Silvio Diaz and Chad Peevey – all seniors.
The Cowboys went 6-4 overall and 5-2 in league play last season were picked second with 115 points in the poll, narrowly outpacing Louisiana College’s (8-3, 6-1) 111 poll points. Mississippi College (2-8, 1-6) was a distant fourth with 63 votes, East Texas Baptist (3-7, 2-5) was fifth with 61, Sul Ross State (5-5, 4-3) was sixth with 59 points and Howard Payne was picked seventh after going 1-9 last season.
Montague, a running back, was named the preseason offensive player of the year after averaging 111 yards per game and scoring 13 touchdowns. He also caught two TD passes.
Diaz, a 6-foot, 260-pound tackle, was named ASC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year after totaling 58 tackles and 11 sacks for the league’s top-rated defense. He also forced and recovered a fumble.
Peevey, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound place kicker/punter, was named ASC Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year after making 10 field goals and averaging 41.6 yards per boom. He also notched 76 extra points.
The 2013 season – the 18th in ASC history – begins Sept. 6 when Hardin-Simmons travels to Salem, Ore., to face Willamette. Howard Payne (vs. Trinity), Sul Ross State (at Texas A&M-Commerce), Louisiana College (vs. Belhaven), Mary Hardin-Baylor (at Redlands), and Mississippi College (vs. Millsaps) have their opener on Sept. 7. East Texas Baptist begins its slate on Sept. 14 against Austin College in Sherman, Texas. The NCAA Division III Football Championship playoffs are scheduled for a Nov. 23 start, with the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl national championship game on tap for Dec. 20 in Salem, Va.
NOTES: New head coaches in the conference this season are East Texas Baptist's Joshua Eargle and Sul Ross State's John Tyree (interim) . . . Former league member Texas Lutheran finished 4-6 overall (2-5 ASC) last year. . . . . Mary Hardin-Baylor is ranked No. 3 in the D3football.com Top 25 Preseason Poll, while Louisiana College and Hardin-Simmons are receiving votes. . . . Diaz and Mississippi College senior cornerback Keith Villafranco have been named preseason All-Americans by D3football.com. . . . The league's preseason pick has gone on to win at least a share of the conference crown 12 times, including eight straight seasons. . . . . To talk about ASC Football on Twitter this season, use the hashtag: #ASCfb.
2013 ASC PRESEASON FOOTBALL POLL
[Voted on by ASC Head Coaches, Sports Information Directors, Media Members]
Team (first place votes) Points 2012 Record
1. Mary Hardin-Baylor (20) 146 13-1, 7-0 ASC (1st)
2. Hardin-Simmons 115 6-4, 5-2 ASC (3rd)
3. Louisiana College 111 8-3, 6-1 ASC (2nd)
4. Mississippi College 63 2-8, 1-6 ASC (T7th)
5. East Texas Baptist 61 3-7, 2-5 ASC (T5th)
6. Sul Ross State (1) 59 5-5, 4-3 ASC (4th)
7. Howard Payne 33 1-9, 1-6 ASC (T7th)