YUMA, Ariz. – The NJCAA released its preseason football poll, which means football season is almost here. Arizona Western was ranked first in the poll. This is the second of three preseason polls that had the Mats in first place (first in the Dirty 30, fourth in Street & Smith’s poll).
The Mats are coming off an 11-1 season where they were the NJCAA runners-up after falling in the NJCAA Football Championship Game at the El Toro Bowl. AWC went undefeated during the regular season to win the Western States Football League, and the Mats sent 26 players to four-year programs this past offseason. Former linebacker Patrick Macon (now at Oklahoma State) became the first Matador to win the NJCAA’s David Rowlands Male Student-Athlete of the Year award given to the top male student-athlete in the NJCAA.
This year, AWC will scrimmage Mesa on Saturday night at 7:00 pm (free admission) before opening the season on Saturday, September 2 at Eastern Arizona College.
Arizona Western doesn’t have a home game until the middle of September, but tickets are only $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and military members. Children 12 and under and AWC students and staff (with current school ID) get in for FREE!
The Mats are one of four ranked teams from the WSFL. Mesa (10th), Eastern Arizona (19th) and Snow (20th) also are in the top 20. East Mississippi, Garden City, Trinity Valley and Lackawanna rounded out the top five of the poll.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,300 certificates and degrees in 2016-17.