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Football Selected Fourth, Fifth in OAC Preseason Polls

Senior wide receiver Rob Wolfington, head coach Jim Hilvert and senior defensive back Andrew Groves
Senior wide receiver Rob Wolfington, head coach Jim Hilvert and senior defensive back Andrew Groves

CANTON, Ohio – The Baldwin Wallace University football team was picked to finish fourth and fifth in the two polls at the annual Ohio Athletic Conference Media Day held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Yellow Jackets, who return 53 letterwinners and 13 starters from last year's squad that went 6-4 overall, were picked fourth by the coaches and fifth by the media.   Defending NCAA Division III Champion, the University of Mount Union was selected first in both polls as it seeks its 27th OAC regular-season title in the last 28 seasons.  

Second-year head coach Jim Hilvert, senior two-time Academic All-OAC defensive back Andrew Groves (Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls) and senior All-OAC wide receiver Rob Wolfington (Rapids City, Mich./Elk Rapids) represented BW at the event, which was attended by all 10 league institutions.   The Yellow Jackets report to preseason camp on August 6.

"The summer just flew by," Hilvert said. "We had a good offseason with our guys coming back, building on our culture. The guys got tougher during spring ball, working on what it takes to be able to compete at a high level and be great and buying in. Now we just have to go out and put it on the field."

Groves added, "I think we have a good class of seniors. We're really tight, not just with each other, but with the juniors, sophomores and freshmen as well and I think that'll show on the field this season."

Hilvert enters his 10th overall season as a NCAA Division III coach and amassed a career record of 73-23 with four national playoff appearances.

Groves, a 2018 team captain, returns as the team's fifth-best returning tackler with a career-best 29 stops, including career-highs of 16 solos and 13 assists.  He also picked off his career pass and returned it 60-yards for his first career touchdown. Groves also recorded his first career quarterback sack while breaking up two passes.

Wolfington, a 2018 captain, returns after having a breakout season with a career-best 34 receptions and career-high five touchdowns.  He led the team and was 13th in the OAC with a career-best 642 yards.  Wolfington was named the BW Outstanding Wide Receiver and the Dick Miller Community and Family Day Player of the Game.

BW opens the 2018 campaign on Thursday, Aug. 30, when it hosts its first ever meeting against Alma (Mich.) College in the 41st Annual Lee Tressel Shrine Classic on the Tressel Field inside George Finnie Stadium at 6 p.m. OAC action is slated to begin with back-to-back home contests against Otterbein University on September 8 at 6 p.m. and a Community Day and Homecoming affair against Mount Union on September 15 at 2 p.m. The season will conclude with a trip to crosstown rival John Carroll on November 10 in the 30th Annual Battle for the Cuyahoga Gold Bowl Trophy.

Media Poll
Ranking School Points
1. Mount Union 310 (31)
2.  John Carroll 274
3.  Ohio Northern 223
4.  Heidelberg 206
5. Baldwin Wallace 205
6. Marietta 149
7.  Otterbein 140
8.  Muskingum 75
9.  Capital 74
10.  Wilmington 49


Coaches Poll
Ranking School Points
1.  Mount Union 81 (9)
2. John Carroll 73 (1)
3.  Ohio Northern 61
4.  Baldwin Wallace 56
5. Heidelberg 49
6. Marietta 44
7. Otterbein 32
8.  Wilmington 22
9. Capital 19
10. Muskingum 13