San Diego edges Dayton in Pioneer League preseason vote

Pioneer Football League coaches did not pick the Dayton Flyers to repeat as PFL champs this fall – but they could not have come closer.

In voting released Monday, the Flyers came up one point shy of San Diego despite receiving more first-place votes.

The Flyers and Torreros shared the league crown last season, but Dayton received the PFL’s automatic playoff berth thanks to winning the head-to-head matchup.

Last season, the Flyers won their 12th PFL championship in 23 years and made the FCS playoffs for the first time.

They finished 10-2 overall, including a 7-1 mark in league play and a 24-7 loss to Western Illinois in the first round of the playoffs.

This year, UD returns seven of its eight All-PFL first team performers from a year ago, including linebacker Christopher Beaschler and defensive backs Cameron Stubbs and Christian Searles.

San Diego, which also won the league title in 2014 and is the preseason favorite for the sixth year in a row, returns no first-team all-league picks but does have quarterback Anthony Lawrence set to lead the offense after he led the PFL in pass efficiency last season.

Dayton begins the 2016 season playing host to Central State on Sept. 3.