CSU-Pueblo, Chadron expected to be RMAC powers


Glen Clinton


Glen Clinton



Coach: John Wristen, 6th season

2012: 12-1, 9-0 RMAC, lost to West Texas A&M in NCAA quarterfinals

Returning starters: 5 offense, 7 defense

Key players: RB Cameron McDondle, soph.; DE Darius Allen, jr., RMAC preseason defensive player of the year; CB C.J. Roberts, jr., All-American

Outlook: The ThunderWolves will lean on a more experienced defense as several young players step into key offensive roles.


Coach: Jay Long, 2nd season

2012: 9-3, 8-1 RMAC, lost to West Texas A&M in first round of NCAA playoffs

Returning starters: 6 offense, 9 defense

Key players: QB Jonn McLain, jr.; RB Glen Clinton, sr., RMAC preseason offensive player of the year; LB Shea Koch, sr.; S Trelan Taylor, sr.

Outlook: The Eagles return several key skill players on offense and return four starters in the secondary.



Coach: Eric Young, 3rd season

2012: 8-3, 7-2 RMAC

Returning starters: 6 offense, 6 defense

Key players: QB Emmanuel Lewis, sr.; WR Darius Davis, sr., All-RMAC; LB Jared Koster, jr., All-RMAC

Outlook: Lewis returns to lead a Cowboys offense that produced 37.8 points per game and 489.5 yards per game. Koster is back after making 103 tackles last year.



Coach: Marty Heaton, 6th season

2012: 8-3, 6-3 RMAC

Returning starters: 5 offense, 4 defense

Key players: QB Cody Davies, sr.; WR Harry Adjei, sr.; OLB Connor Stevens, jr.

Outlook: The Grizzlies lost seven starters from a defense that led the RMAC in scoring defense (17.8 points per game) and total defense (335.8 yards per game).



Coach: Bob Stitt, 14th season

2012: 6-5, 4-5 RMAC

Returning starters: 6 offense, 8 defense

Key players: QB Matt Brown, jr.; WR Diamond Gillis, jr.; LB Tyler Denson, sr.

Outlook: The Orediggers have several key pieces back after leading the RMAC with 39.3 points per game and second-best 455.2 yards per game. Denson led Mines in tackles last year.



Coach: Adam Clark, 4th season

2012: 4-7, 3-6 RMAC

Returning starters: 9 offense, 6 defense

Key players: QB Mitch Glasmann, soph., RMAC freshman of the year on offense; WR Donald Byrd, jr., third-team All-RMAC; DE/OLB Zach Dembrowski, jr., third-team All-RMAC

Outlook: The Mustangs return most of their core players from last season on offense and defense. They were a quarter away from two more wins and a winning record last season.



Coach: John Reiners, 2nd season

2012: 4-7, 3-6 RMAC

Returning starters: 8 offense, 3 defense

Key players: QB Ward Anderson, soph.; RB Bryar DeSanti, jr.; DB Scott Boner, jr.

Outlook: The Yellowjackets expect to produce more offense and score more points with their up-tempo offense and may need it with a young defense. Eight of their top 10 tacklers are gone.



Coach: Jas Baines, 3rd season

2012: 1-10, 1-8 RMAC

Returning starters: 6 offense, 8 defense

Key players: TE Tyler Scheller, sr.; DL Lane Stuht, sr., all-RMAC; DB Cole Waliczek, jr.

Outlook: The Mountaineers have 20 players with at least two years of experience. Olathe graduates Zac Stansberry and Dylan Markley transferred from Colorado State.



Coach: John L. Smith, 1st season

2012: 0-10, 0-9 RMAC

Returning starters: 7 offense, 8 defense

Key players: OL Evan Wagstrom, sr.; WR Doyle Boyd, sr.; LB Cody Miles, jr.; DB Jamal Campbell, sr.

Outlook: Smith promised the Skyhawks will be better with more than 20 new players and several young players expected to see playing time.


Colorado State University-Pueblo is favored to win the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference a third straight year, but not by much.

CSU-Pueblo, which received six first-place votes from the RMAC coaches, lost a large group of seniors, leaving coach John Wristen a bit concerned.

“I’m a little nervous. It’s going to be a challenge,” said Wristen, who added he graduated 22 seniors.

The ThunderWolves have nine seniors on their roster, but only five have more than two years of experience.

CSU-Pueblo must replace quarterback Ross Dausin, the RMAC offensive player of the year, and running back J.B. Mathews, who rushed for 1,077 yards last season, who is suspended for the fall.

The ThunderWolves return RMAC preseason defensive player of the year Darius Allen. He had 8.5 sacks and forced two fumbles last year, and Wristen said Allen added 30 pounds of muscle since last season.

Chadron State College, which pushed the ThunderWolves to overtime last year before losing, appears primed to take the RMAC title if Pueblo stumbles.

The Eagles, who received four first-place votes in the preseason poll, have 16 returning starters and 38 returning players.

“I think we have a good core of veterans,” Chadron coach Jay Long said. “We’re definitely excited about the season.”

The Eagles are led offensively by senior running back Glen Clinton. The RMAC preseason offensive player of the year rushed for 1,350 yards and seven touchdowns a year ago.

“He is one of the best downhill runners I’ve been around as a coach,” Long said.

Quarterback Jonn McLain is the third McLain brother to play for Chadron. He completed 239 of 362 passes for 2,606 yards and 30 touchdowns last season. Long calls him a great leader and intelligent player.

Chadron’s defense has six returning starters, including All-RMAC selections Trelan Taylor (safety) and Shea Koch (linebacker).

Colorado Mesa coach Russ Martin was one of the four coaches who picked Chadron to win it.

Wristen agreed Chadron has the experience and talent to win it, and he said the RMAC will be tougher top to bottom this year.

“Chadron is going to be really good,” Wristen said. “Mesa looks really good. Mines is really good. ... Highlands could be good. ... Fort Lewis will be much better. It’s tough to tell in Division II. Everyone’s roster changes a whole bunch from one year to the next.”

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