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2010 North Coast Athletic Conference Football Team Preview: Wabash Little Giants picked 2nd in coaches poll

MEGASPORTSNEWS.COM FEATURE ARTICLE

*This is the 1600th article post to the website

*Special thanks goes out to Wabash sports information director Brent Harris for providing information and the use of school logos for this feature


Everybody knows that the Wittenberg Tigers are the team to beat in the North Coast Athletic Conference for this season. But right there on their heels is the football team from Crawfordsville, Indiana, the Wabash Little Giants.

Head coach Erik Raeburn (Wabash photo)

The 2009 NCAC runner-up, Wabash was picked a close second in the preseason coaches poll with 71 points. Wittenberg garnered 79 points and eight first-place votes.

(courtesy of Wabash athletics)

The Little Giants collected one first-place vote and last won the North Coast title in 2008. So they are capable of a championship.

The national publications feel tha Wabash is worthy of recognition. The Sporting News Preseason Top-25 has the team 23rd in their poll and USA Today picked the Little Giants 21st.

Wabash will be battling for a sixth NCAC championship and fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA football players this year. The Little Giants will be replacing 10 All-NCAC players lost to graduation, including North Coast Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the year Matt Hudson.

There is a battle at quarterback between Josh Miracle and Chase Belton, both who saw action in 2009.

Kody LeMond, Wes Chamblee, and the rest of the Wabash receiving corps return after catching 31 touchdown passes and gaining 3,082 receiving yards last season.

LeMond, the first player in Wabash and North Coast Athletic Conference history with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, made 65 receptions for 1,059 yards and 14 touchdowns last football season.

Chamblee added 60 catches for 778 yards and six TD’s, while Jonathan Horn had 32 receptions for 420 yards and two TD’s.

(courtesy of Wabash athletics)

Tommy Mambourg led a corps of seven running backs that saw extensive action during the 2009 season, all of whom return in 2010. Mambourg led the rushing attack with 761 yards and five touchdowns. Kyle Stevens ended his freshman season with 215 yards and two scores. Derek Rowe, Nathan Walters, and Derrick Yoder all had to fight through injuries last fall campaign, but should be healthy for the new season.

Nick Durm is the only returning starter on Wabash’s offensive line that helped the Little Giants average over 38 points per game, which was good for 13th-best in the nation.

On the defensive side of the football, All-conference players CJ Gum and Jake Martin return to a team that held opponents to less than 15 points per game.

Gum led Wabash with 82 total tackles as a middle linebacker, while Martin had 59 stops and four interceptions at defensive back.

Jake Kolisek and JD McClintic combined for 34 tackles on the defensive line.

The Little Giants are led by head coach Erik Raeburn, a 1994 graduate of Mount Union. Anybody associated with the Purple Raiders, know about winning and Coach Raeburn has definitely kept the winning going for Wabash with a 19-4-0 record going into his third season. His overall record is 73-30-0 going into his 11th season as a head coach.

Prior to coaching at Wabash, Raeburn was an assistant at his alma mater, Mount Union from 1994-1999. Then he took the head coaching position at Coe College, which is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. He led them from 2000-2007, where he won 3 IIAC titles and 2 NCAA III Tournament bids. He was selected the 2002 IIAC and Regional Coach Of the Year. IIAC stands for Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. It’s a tough conference just like the NCAC.

LITTLE GIANTS NOTES

* Wabash was founded in 1832.

* The schools color is Scarlet.

* The Wabash enrollment is 917 students.

* They play their home games at Little Giant Stadium which seats 5,000.

* Wabash lost 17 letterman, but return 12 starters.

* The Little Giants in 2009 were 9-2 overall, 6-1 in the NCAC good for 2nd place.

*Non-conference games in 2010 will include, Chicago, Washington and DePauw although the Tigers will be an official member of the North Coast Athletic Conference in 2011-2012.

* Crawfordsville, Indiana is located in Montgomery County, west central Indiana and as of the 2000 U.S. Census, has a population of 15,243. It is west to northwest of Indianapolis.

* Wabash plays the annual Monon Bell game against arch-rival DePauw University which is located in Greencastle, Indiana. This is one of college football’s oldest rivalries in history.

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