LANCASTER, Pa. – Ten-time defending champion Johns Hopkins has been chosen as the 2019 preseason favorite in a poll of Centennial Conference football head coaches and athletic communications directors.
The Blue Jays, who won their 14th Centennial title last fall, received 16 of a possible 20 first-place ballots for 160 points to edge Muhlenberg, who shared the conference title with JHU in 2018. The Mules secured four first-place votes and totaled 144 points to place second in the voting.
Susquehanna (117), Franklin & Marshall (114), and Ursinus (111) rounded out the top five and were separated by just six points in third through fifth place, respectively.
Dickinson (81) was picked sixth, followed by Moravian (66), McDaniel (45), Gettysburg (34), and Juniata (27).
The Centennial preseason poll has predicted the Conference champion in 19 of the last 21 years, including 11 in a row.
The 2019 season kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 5 as Johns Hopkins travels to Randolph-Macon for a Thursday night tilt. All nine other teams will open up play on Saturday, Sept. 7 with non-conference matchups. Conference play begins on Saturday, Sept. 14, with the final day of the regular season slated for Saturday, Nov. 16.
Last fall was a banner campaign for the Centennial, as both Johns Hopkins and Muhlenberg reached the NCAA quarterfinals, marking the first time ever that the Centennial had two programs reach the final eight in the same season. Prior to 2018, the Centennial had just two teams reach the quarterfinal round - Gettysburg in 1985 and Johns Hopkins in 2009.
Both the Blue Jays and Mules saw their NCAA runs come to a close with losses to eventual national runner-up Mount Union. Muhlenberg fell 38-10 in the quarterfinals, while JHU lost 28-20 in the semifinals. Hopkins became just the second team in CC history (Gettysburg, 1985) to advance to the national semifinals. Gettysburg was ousted by Ithaca, 34-0, in the 1985 semfinal matchup.
The conference also showed its quality of depth last fall, as five teams posted at least eight victories, with Johns Hopkins (12-2), Muhlenberg (11-2), Susquehanna (8-3), Franklin & Marshall (8-3), and Ursinus (8-3) each boasting impressive records. Susquehanna, F&M, and Ursinus each registered wins in the Centennial-MAC Bowl Series, giving the Centennial a superb 8-2 postseason record when combined with JHU and Muhlenberg's NCAA results.
Plenty of talent returns to the conference in 2019 as 48 All-Centennial selections will be back on the gridiron this fall. Both reigning Players of the Year are also back - Johns Hopkins QB David Tammaro (2018 Offensive POTY) and Muhlenberg DL Frankie Feaster (2018 Defensive POTY) - while five All-America selections return: Ryan Curtiss, TE, Muhlenberg (1st team AFCA, 1st team AP, 1st team D3football.com), Frankie Feaster, DL, Muhlenberg (1st team AP, 1st team D3football.com), David Tammaro, QB, Johns Hopkins (2nd team D3football.com), Danial Shelton, DB, Susquehanna (2nd team AFCA), and Joe Figueroa, OL, Johns Hopkins (HM D3football.com).
A pair of new faces will begin their head coaching careers this season - Johns Hopkins' Greg Chimera and McDaniel's Demarcus White. Chimera, who served as the Blue Jays' offensive coordinator since 2014, is the 27th head coach in program history. Chimera replaces the legendary Jim Margraff, who passed away suddenly last January. The reigning NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year, Margraff compiled a 29-year record of 221-89-3 (.711) at the helm of the JHU football program. He is the winningest coach in Johns Hopkins and Centennial Conference history and his 221 wins are also the most of any college football coach in Maryland state history. White was named the 26th head coach in the 124-year history of McDaniel football after serving on the staff for the last three seasons as defensive coordinator.
2019 Centennial Conference Football Preseason Poll
|Rank | Institution (First-Place Votes)||Points|
|1. Johns Hopkins (16)||160|
|2. Muhlenberg (4)||144|
|4. Franklin & Marshall||114|