Dolphins Picked To Finish Second In PFL South

Aug. 10, 2004

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville University has been picked to finish second in the Pioneer Football League South Division in the 2004 PFL Preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released by the league office today. JU, which was within one game of securing its second PFL South title in three years last season, returns 10 starters from a squad, which finished the 2003 season 5-6, including a 1-2 mark in league play. Two-time defending PFL South champion Morehead State (8-3, 3-0 PFL) was picked to win the South once again, while perennial power Dayton (9-2, 2-2 PFL) was chosen as the preseason favorite in the North Division for the fourth consecutive year. "Our goal is to reclaim the PFL South title," said head coach Steve Gilbert, who led the Dolphins to the 2001 PFL South title. "The division is up for grabs, but we have proven that we can beat anyone on our schedule." Last season, the Dolphins defeated three scholarship programs, but lost two league games at home, both of which came down to the final play. This year, two of JU's three PFL South games are on the road. "Our veterans have been there before and understand what it takes to win in conference play," said Gilbert. "This team has an unwavering confidence and feels it can win any game." The Dolphins return five starters on offense, including two-time All-PFL quarterback Mike Sturgill (Vero Beach, Fla.) and All-PFL guard Josue Sanchez (Middleburg, Fla.). As a sophomore, Sturgill threw for a school-record 2,060 yards and 20 touchdowns as the Dolphins established a school record with 4,463 yards of total offense. JU also returns seniors Ed Templeton (Orlando, Fla.) and Barry Johnson (Casselberry, Fla.) on the offensive line, but will have to replace All-America running back Emmett Hunter (Largo, Fla.), who ran for a school-record 1,467 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Defensively, the Dolphins also return five starters, including All-PFL linebacker Tim Hasse (Bradenton, Fla.) and All-PFL cornerback Bryan Flowers (Delray Beach, Fla.). Hasse posted a team-high 87 tackles last season, while Flowers had 38 stops and broke up a team-high seven passes. Other key returnees include junior linebacker Brandon Torre (Tallahassee, Fla.) and senior defensive end Jason Bense (Panama City, Fla.). Torre led the PFL with 12.5 tackles for loss in just nine games, while Bense finished with 4.0 sacks despite constant double teams a year ago. JU will face its toughest schedule ever in 2004 with six scholarship opponents, as well as five PFL games (only 3 count toward standings) and more than 6,600 miles of travel. The Dolphins are 13-17 all-time against similar non-scholarship opponents and have eight wins over scholarship programs. The winner of the North and South Divisions of the PFL will meet in the fourth annual league championship game on Nov. 20 at the home field of the South champion. Valparaiso defeated Morehead State, 54-42, in last season's PFL Championship in Valparaiso, Ind.

2004 Pioneer Football League
Preseason Coaches' Poll

NORTH                SOUTH
Dayton (6)     10    Morehead State (6)  10
San Diego (2)  20    Jacksonville (2)    17
Drake (1)      21    Davidson            23
Butler         23    Austin Peay (1)     24
Valparaiso     36

(1st place votes) Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team