LOCK HAVEN – The Shepherd Rams earned the top spot in the 2021 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division’s Preseason Football Poll. The Rams earned six of the possible eight first-place votes from the league’s head coaches, the league office announced Wednesday.
Shepherd is coming off a solid first campaign in the PSAC in 2019. The Rams were 10-3 overall and 6-1 in PSAC East play. They were led by Harlon Hill candidate Tyson Bagent who completed 343-of-483 passes for 4,349 yards and 36 touchdowns in 2019. He led all of Division II in passing yards per game (362.4) and completions per game (28.58). Shepherd enters this year ranked 16th in both the Lindy’s publication and College Football America Top 30 2021 preseason polls.
Behind Shepherd and taking the second-ranked team in the East is West Chester. The Golden Rams are coming off a 9-3 mark in 2019 and a 5-2 league record in which they finished third in the regular season. They will look to stay solid defensively as at the end of 2019, the Golden Rams led the PSAC in pass defense allowing just 193.1 passing yards per game.
Reigning PSAC East Champion Kutztown was picked third in the East. The Golden Bears were 11-2 overall and 7-0 in league play. They are on the verge of claiming their 400th program victory entering 2021 with a 397-444-23 (.473) mark. Since 2014, the Golden Bears have put together six winning seasons and are 48-20 in that span.
Selected fourth in the East is Bloomsburg. The Huskies were 5-6 in 2019 and have lost some key players from the last season. However, they add a new head coach in Frank Sheptock who will make his DII head coaching debut this Fall.
Picked fifth are the Shippensburg Raiders. Shippensburg was 4-7 in 2019 and 4-3 in conference play finishing third. SU has been a powerful scoring offense since Mark Maciejewski took over the program as they boast the No. 2 scoring offense in that stretch – averaging 37.0 points per game.
East Stroudsburg is sixth in the PSAC East preseason poll. The Warriors enter the second season in the Jimmy Terwilliger era. In 2019, he coached ESU to its first winning season since 2015 with a 6-5 record.
Selected seventh in East is Millersville. The Marauders return just 19 players with game experience at the DII level and are coming off a 2-9 season.
Rounding out the poll is Lock Haven. The Bald Eagles are ushering in a new era as well this season as head coach John Kelling gets ready for his first season as head coach.
EAST (# of 1st Place Votes)
1. Shepherd (6)
2. West Chester (1)
3. Kutztown (1)
6. East Stroudsburg
8. Lock Haven