Wed, April 01

Big Sky coaches, media pick NAU football to finish sixth

New NAU head football coach Chris Ball at his introductory press conference. Photo courtesy Stayson Isobe, NAU Athletics

New NAU head football coach Chris Ball at his introductory press conference. Photo courtesy Stayson Isobe, NAU Athletics

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Northern Arizona University football team was ranked No. 6 in both the Big Sky Conference Coaches and Media Preseason Polls, which were announced on Monday morning during 2019 Big Sky Football Kickoff festivities by league officials.

In addition, Lumberjack senior defensive standouts Khalil Dorsey and Jalen Goss were each selected to the 2019 All-Big Sky Preseason Team.

The Lumberjacks received 88 points in the coaches’ poll while finishing sixth. Eastern Washington (140 points/10 first-place votes) and UC Davis (127 points/two first-place votes) held the top two spots in the coaches’ rankings.

The media poll saw the ‘Jacks garner a total of 302 points. Eastern Washington (536 points/25 first-place votes) and UC Davis (636 points/19 first-place votes) also held the top two spots in the media’s preseason poll.

Dorsey started all 10 games at cornerback for the ‘Jacks and recorded three interceptions and a team-best six pass breakups. He currently boasts eight career picks and 129 tackles entering his senior campaign where he will be expected to be one of the leaders for NAU in the defensive secondary. Dorsey was named to the All-Big Sky First Team in 2018.

Goss saw action in nine games last season as a regular starter on the Lumberjacks’ defensive line. He rang up 40 stops and tied for the team-lead in tackles for loss with 10, including a pair of sacks. Had a signature play to help clinch NAU’s 28-24 win over Weber State on Oct. 6 when he scooped up a fumble and rambled 30 yards for a touchdown. Goss was a third-team All-Big Sky choice in 2018.

The Lumberjacks return 20 starters and 35 letterwinners from last season’s squad, including senior quarterback Case Cookus, who boasts 7,968 passing yards and 74 touchdown passes in his career.

NAU will be led by first-year head coach Chris Ball, who took over the reins of the Lumberjack program this offseason. Ball brings over 30 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level and will be joined by a staff that features seven assistant coaches also entering their initial season with the ‘Jacks.

The Lumberjacks open the 2019 season at home against Missouri State on Thursday, August 29 in a 6 p.m. MST kickoff from the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome.

A variety of NAU Football ticket packages are currently on sale for the 2019 season. Fans can purchase tickets online at or by calling the Lumberjack Ticket Office at 928-523-0639.

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