NEWBERRY, SC - For the first time in school history, the Newberry College football team has earned a NCAA No. 1 regional ranking, checking in this week in the top spot in the Southeast Region.
The Indians (6-0, 2-0 SAC) are coming off a defeat of Catawba College by the score of 21-14 last Saturday. Newberry this year has also recorded victories against Div. 1-AA Morehead State and knocked off the then sixth-ranked team in the nation, Carson-Newman two weeks ago.
“First of all, because it’s the first time, it’s a tremendous honor, said Head Coach Zak Willis. All the credit for this ranking goes to the coaching staff and the players. I’m excited and flattered that we would be afforded that amount of respect.”
Although pleased with the ranking, Willis did not want to lose sight of the big picture. “Although we are honored to have this ranking bestowed upon us, the only one that counts is the one at the end of the year. We just want to be in position to be in the Top six when the final rankings are released.”
Vice-President for Intercollegiate Athletics Andy Carter exclaimed his thoughts on the Indians’ region ranking. “What a wonderful affirmation of the job Zak Willis and his staff has done to turn this program around. I am so happy for our student-athletes that have worked very hard to make this even possible. I want to encourage everybody that this is not the end, but the beginning of something very special. I am proud to be part of what is happening at Newberry College in this her 150th year of existence.”
The NCAA Regional Ranking is a weekly poll of the top 12 teams in the four different regions in NCAA Division II football. The top six teams in the last region poll will participate in the NCAA Division II playoffs. However, earned access to the playoffs can be gained by a conference if a conference representative finishes in the top 10 of the final regional rankings.
The Indians will hit the road for the first time this season on Saturday as they face Mars Hill. Kickoff is set for 2:30 pm.
NCAA Division II Regjonal Rankings - Southeast Region
2. North Carolina Central
4. North Alabama
5. Valdosta State
6. Henderson State
7. Albany State (Georgia)
9. Johnson C. Smith
10. Mars Hill
11. Elizabeth City State
12. Delta State