Grand Island, Neb. - Following its historic and record-breaking 2009 campaign, Saint Xavier University football coach Mike Feminis
and the Cougars have earned the No. 4 spot in the 2010 College Fanz Sports Network Preseason NAIA Football Top 25 Rankings when the rankings were released by the national media outlet earlier this week. The Cougars set a new standard for wins last fall going 13-1 overall, winning their first Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League title and tying their best postseason finish by qualifying for the semifinals of the NAIA Championship Series before falling to eventual national champion University of Sioux Falls (S.D.). Sioux Falls tops the preseason poll with 2009 national runner-up Lindenwood University (Mo.) and Carroll College (Mont.) nabbing the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively.
"It's exciting to be ranked as high as we are but you also have to realize a lot of what goes into a preseason rating is based off of what a team did the year before," said Feminis. "Nonetheless, the expectation of our players and coaches is to take that final step and play for our first ever NAIA National Championship. With the guys we have coming back this year, I have no doubt that we can make a serious run at it."
The Cougars return a ton of playmakers from its stellar 2009 season, including senior starting quarterback Anthony Kropp
(Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East). Kropp completed 62 percent of his passes (326-for-527) for 4,425 yards and 43 touchdowns as a junior last fall. SXU also returns a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in seniors Mike Maher
(Plainfield, Ill./Providence Catholic) and Xavier Torres
(Chicago, Ill./Central Michigan/Lane Tech). Also returning in 2010 will be senior running back Donnie Selby
(Alsip, Ill./Shepard), who racked up 777 yards on the ground as a junior, and senior defensive standouts Pat Geary
(Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) at cornerback and Brendan Sheehy
(Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) at linebacker.
Saint Xavier begins its 2010 season on the road with a Thursday night game (Aug. 26) against Bethel College (Tenn.) at 7 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium in McKenzie, Tenn. The home opener is on Thursday, September 2, at 7 p.m. with the Cougars taking on rival University of St. Francis (Ill.) at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago.
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