ST. LOUIS – The Marist football team was picked to finish in the Pioneer Football League (PFL) Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which was released Tuesday morning.

Last season, the Red Foxes won a share of the PFL championship, going 8-3 overall and 7-1 in league play. Marist won eight of its final nine games to win its first title in five years in the league.

Marist returns six defensive starters and four offensive starters from last year’s team. The Red Foxes bring back three players who earned First or Second Team All-PFL honors last season: First Team linebacker Paul Sakowski (Chester, N.Y.), Second Team running back Atiq Lucas (Coram, N.Y.) and Second Team safety Zach Adler (Walden, N.Y.). Marist will have six captains this year, all of whom will be fifth-year seniors: Sakowski, Lucas, linebacker Mike Kagafas (Akron, Ohio), linebacker Hugh Kirwan (Montvale, N.J.), wide receiver Armani Martin (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and offensive lineman Jack Meussner (Wyckoff, N.J.).

For the second straight year, the league’s regular-season champion will earn an automatic bid into the 24-team NCAA Division I FCS Championship. This season marks the 22nd year of the PFL.

Marist will open preseason camp on Wednesday, Aug. 6, and will hold its first official practice on Friday, Aug. 8. The Red Foxes will open the 2014 season on Saturday, Aug. 30 at Sacred Heart, and will play their home opener on Saturday, Sept. 6 against Bucknell. Marist will have a program-record seven home games this season, and ticket information is available here.

The Preseason All-PFL teams are scheduled to be released by the league on Wednesday, and a preseason coaches’ teleconference is set for Thursday.

2014 PFL Preseason Poll
1-San Diego (5), 90
2-Dayton, 82
3-Jacksonville (3), 80
4-Butler (2), 77
5-Drake (1), 73
6-Marist, 61
7-Campbell, 38
8-Morehead State, 35
9-Stetson, 30
10-Davidson, 20
11-Valparaiso, 19

Notes: First-place votes are in parentheses. Ten points were awarded for a first-place vote, with one point less for each succeeding place. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.