Spearfish, S.D. – The Black Hills State University football team is making its final preparations before the season opener against Grand View on Aug. 28.

“Our goal is to win the conference and go back to the NAIA playoffs again,” said senior linebacker Forest Sainsbury.  “Coach Long expects a lot out of us.  He recruited some of us when he was an assistant.  I know that he wants us to be successful this year.”

The Yellow Jackets currently have a 93-man roster with only 10 seniors on the team.

“We have a very young team this year,” said head coach Jay Long.  “We have 76 players on the roster that are sophomores or younger.”

Even with all the youth on the team, the senior leadership will play a critical role if the success of the season.  The offense will be directed by senior quarterback Drew Hodgs.  Hodgs split time as the starter last season with fellow senior Zac Zandstra.  In 2009, Hodgs threw for 1,244 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Zandstra threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns.

Long said, “This past off-season was good for Drew and Zac.  They pushed each other and challenged each other to get better.  After completing the off-season we have confidence in both senior quarterbacks. Drew will get the starting nod against Grand View. However, it is a good feeling to know that we have two senior quarterbacks that can lead the team.”

The defense will be led by returning Dakota Athletic Conference Player of the Year Wacey Coleman.  Coleman tallied nine sacks in 2009.  Backing up Coleman are senior linebackers Sainsbury and Richard Fairhead.  Sainsbury and Fairhead combined for 136 total tackles last season.  The Yellow Jackets ended the season ranked No. 4 in the NAIA in total defense allowing 252 yards per game.

“The defense is gelling together,” said Sainsbury.  “For us, it is all about flying around and being nasty.”

The Yellow Jackets will open the season on Sat., Aug. 28, at Grand View in Des Moines, Iowa.  Game time for the season opener is scheduled at 1 p.m. CT.  The game can be heard locally on 980 AM KDSJ and can be watched online at B2TV.com.

All-sport season tickets are now on sale for the Yellow Jackets.  Tickets can be purchased by contacting John Kietzmann at (605) 642-6832 or via e-mail at John.Kietzmann@BHSU.edu.

For more information on Black Hills State Athletics, visit www.BHSUAthletics.com.

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