ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Westminster Blue Jays football team has been voted to finish fifth in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference this season, based on a poll from the league's head coaches. Westminster finished last season tied for fifth place with a 3-5 conference record and went 3-6 overall.
The full release from the UMAC can be found here.
The Blue Jays' offense will be led by senior running back Kalyn Davis. Davis was a workhorse for the Blue Jays last season, leading the UMAC in carries and finishing with the second most rushing yards with 645. Davis will run behind an offensive line anchored by junior Sam Poole (Hartsburg, Mo. / Southern Boone). Junior wide receiver Alec Fleetwood (Fulton, Mo. / Fulton) is the top returning receiver for Westminster. Fleetwood hauled in 10 receptions for 195 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Defensively, Westminster returns eight starters from last year's defense that was the second ranked defense in the conference. Headlining this defense is junior Ben Holt (Butler, Mo. / Butler), who racked up 12 tackles for a loss last season and five-and-a-half sacks, disrupting rival offenses on his way to being named Second Team All-UMAC.
Other key returners on the Westminster defense include senior Clayton Bristol (Fulton, Mo. / Fulton) and sophomore Dakota Jakoubek (Festus, Mo. / Jefferson R-7). Bristol played in eight games recording 33 tackles, a sack and three tackles of a loss. Jakoubek finished his freshman season tied for the second most tackles on the team with 44 in addition to having four-and-a-half sacks and six tackles for a loss.
Sophomore linebacker Ben Heimann (Moberly, Mo. / Moberly), who had the fourth most tackles on the team with 42 and a pair of forced fumbles, and senior safety Jordan Shockley (Festus, Mo. / Jefferson), who had three interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered, will look to help the Blue Jays create turnovers.
The Blue Jays open their season on September 7 in Lincoln, Nebraska where they will take on Nebraska Wesleyan. Westminster's home opener will be a nonconference matchup against Millsaps on September 14. Conference play will begin September 21 when the Blue Jays travel to Iowa Wesleyan.
2019 UMAC Football Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Martin Luther – 61 points (6 First Place Votes)
2. Northwestern – 54 points (2 First Place Votes)
3. MacMurray – 49 points
4. St. Scholastica – 47 points (1 First Place Votes)
5. Westminster – 35 points
6. Greenville – 29 points
7. Minnesota Morris – 22 points
8. Iowa Wesleyan – 17 points
9. Crown – 10 points