Morningside coach Steve Ryan

Morningside football has been used to being a marked team but the Mustangs prepare for this season as the defending national champions. Morningside enters the new season top ranked in the N-A-I-A poll after beating Benedictine of Kansas 35-28 to clinch the program’s first national title. They are also favored to claim another Great Plains Athletic Conference crown.

” We have won the conference eight years in a row so are guys are used to trying to repeat and what it takes to focus on a new challenge”, said Morningside coach Steve Ryan. “I have been very pleased with the guys who played in the national championship game. Those guys seem to be the most hungry to want to do it again.”

The Mustangs have a solid corps of veterans returning but among the losses from last season are receiver Connor Niles and national player of the year Trent Solsma at quarterback. Solsma passed for nearly 5,400 yards and 72 touchdowns a year ago.

“As of right now we are going with Joey Dolincheck”, added Ryan. “He won a state championship at Bellevue West. He got some playing time last year as a freshman and came into fall camp and is playing very well.”

The Mustangs open at home on August 31st against St. Francis of Illinois.