Football Picked Sixth in NE10 Preseason Poll

Jamiel holds the program record for receptions and is within range of the career receiving yardage and touchdowns marks (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Skyhawks open 32nd varsity season September 7 at Bloomsburg

NE10 Releases 2019 Football Preseason Coaches' Poll

EASTON, Mass. (August 20, 2019) – The Stonehill College football program has been picked to finish sixth in the Northeast-10 Conference preseason poll by the league's nine head coaches, the league announced.

Stonehill received 29 points to sit sixth in the poll, with the University of New Haven, whom the Skyhawks will face twice this season, picked first. The Chargers, who will visit W.B. Mason Stadium for a non-conference matchup on September 14 (6 p.m.) and then host Stonehill to close out the regular season on November 16 (1 p.m.), received 63 points and seven of the nine first place votes, as they look to win their first NE10 title since 2012, when they captured their third of three-straight titles. 2015 and 2017 NE10 Champions Assumption College are picked second with 54 points and the remaining two first place votes, while Pace University is third with 49 points and Bentley University and Southern Connecticut State University tied for fourth with 40 points. Following Stonehill in the poll are American International College in seventh (23 points), Saint Anselm College eighth (18) and first-year program Franklin Pierce University ninth (8).

The NE10 will compete with nine teams in 2019 after the departure of defending Conference champions LIU Post and Merrimack College to the NCAA Division I Championship Northeast Conference. The league welcomes Franklin Pierce, where Stonehill will visit on October 12 (noon), to the Conference as a member after sponsoring sprint football for six seasons.

Kearns, Jr. also looks to cap a record-breaking career at Stonehill this fall (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Stonehill, under the direction of fourth-year head coach Eli Gardner, in his 11th season at the College overall, returns 66 letterwinners for its 32nd varsity season. The Skyhawks have six starters back from the offensive side of the ball and six defensive starters returning from a 2018 season in which they finished 2-8 overall, including 2-7 in NE10 play. Stonehill received the NE10 Team Academic Excellence Award for the second-straight year for having the highest team grade point average among the Conference's football programs (2.916).

Highlighting Stonehill's returnees is a trio of All-NE10 selections from 2018, including senior wide receiver Andrew Jamiel, a three-time All-Conference selection who earned second team accolades following his junior year. Classmates Matt Haite and Brian Kearns, Jr. also earned All-NE10 honors with third team selections and the trio all enter their senior seasons on the cusp of setting program career records.

Jamiel, the 2016 NE10 Rookie of the Year, already owns Stonehill's career record for receptions with 233 and enters his senior season ranked second all-time with 2,583 career yards, just 161 yards shy of Nate Robitaille's '15 record of 2,744. Jamiel's 23 career touchdown receptions are just two shy of Robitaille's career mark, and he also ranks eighth all-time with 2,941 career all-purpose yards, ninth with 140 career points and is tied for sixth with 23 career touchdowns.

Bresson had a breakout sophomore season for the Skyhawks, finishing among NE10 leaders with 14 tackles for loss (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Kearns, Jr. led the NE10 with his school-record matching 12 rushing touchdowns last season, while ranking second with 961 rushing yards and 211 attempts. He enters his senior year tied with Eddie Vachon '11 for the program's career record with 24 career rushing touchdowns and ranks fifth all-time with 421 rush attempts and sixth with 1,987 yards and 156 points, while his 26 career touchdowns scored are second all-time, eight shy of Vachon's career mark (34).

Haite finished last season ranked second on the team with 51 points, converting 9-of-14 field goal attempts, including a career-long matching 49-yard field goal at Pace on September 29, while connecting on 24-of-27 extra point attempts. He enters his senior year ranked second in program history with 29 career field goals, just four shy of Steve Grzywacz's '16 record of 33, and third all-time with 88 career PATs and 169 points.

Seniors Ryan Shuts and Miles Strickland, along with junior Nate Bresson lead the returnees on Stonehill's defense. Shuts finished his junior year with a team-high 70 tackles, including 48 solo, with three interceptions, a tackle for loss, a fumble recovery and pass breakup. Strickland was second on the team with 67 stops, including 24 solo, with 2.5 tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Bresson finished the year with 65 tackles, including 34 solo, with a team-high 14 tackles for a loss of 56 yards, a team-best 4.5 sacks for a loss of 32 yards and a forced fumble.

Stonehill opens its 2019 season on September 7, when it renews its non-conference series with Bloomsburg (Pa.) University on the road at 2 p.m. The Skyhawks home schedule opens the following Saturday, September 14, with the non-conference matchup with New Haven at 6 p.m., before opening its NE10 slate with the 15th "Battle for the Ol' Bronze Hawk" at Saint Anselm on Saturday, September 21, at 6 p.m. Stonehill's remaining home schedule features American International on October 5 (1 p.m.), rival Bentley on October 19 (6 p.m.), Southern Connecticut State on November 2 (1 p.m.) and then Pace University on November 9 (3 p.m.).

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market.