LATROBE, Pa. (Titan Athletics)- The Westminster College football team, under the guidance of fifth-year head coach Scott Benzel, was picked to finish third in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC), according to Thursday’s 2018 PAC Preseason Football Poll.
The Titans received 234 points with two first-place votes.
“Last year was a unique year for us” said Benzel when asked about the positives from last year that will carry over into this season. “I think a lot of it is not necessarily who you play but when you play them, and I told our guys last year we went 0-3 in the playoffs by playing really tough football teams. That three game stretch last year was a challenge, but I think with anything you can take those type of lessons and learn from them. Our guys are getting closer, playing in arenas and big-time games and all that’s left now is to finish.”
The league’s preseason poll, as voted on by PAC head coaches, sports information directors, and media panel in attendance, was announced this afternoon at the PAC Football Media Day, hosted by Saint Vincent College at the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
Westminster senior linebacker Bill Madeja (Pittsburgh, PA / Brentwood) was the player representative for the Titans. “If we stay consistent at a high level and trust our coaches I believe they can lead us the right way into another winning season” Madeja said in regards to this upcoming season.
“The depth of this year’s class excites me” Benzel said when asked about this years recruiting class. “We reached in areas where we haven’t hit in the past and we continue to hit the core of our recruiting class in areas we are familiar with. Another thing is as a staff, we can easily identify 20 to 25 guys who can communicate and motivate and the overall depth is excellent.”
Seniors John Fitzgerald (Youngstown, OH / Youngstown East), Miguel Luis (Hollywood, FL / Mater Academy), Bryson Paulinellie (DuBois, PA / Dubois Area), Madeja and junior Brady Hogue (Sharpsville, PA / Sharpsville) were all named on the “PAC Players to Watch” list.
2018 PAC Football Preseason Poll (Predicted order of finish)
1. W&J: 19 first-place votes (289 pts.)
2. Case Western Reserve: Eight first-place votes (265 pts.)
3. Westminster: Two first-place votes (234 pts.)
4. Carnegie Mellon: One first-place vote (220 pts.)
5. Grove City (163 pts.)
6. Geneva (141 pts.)
7. Saint Vincent (101 pts.)
8. Bethany (97 pts.)
9. Waynesburg (87 pts.)
10. Thiel (53 pts.)
Westminster opens the 2018 season on the road at No. 14 Wittenberg University on September 1 at 1 p.m.
Watch the full PAC Media Day event from Latrobe!