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Eagles third in opening poll

College football: The Eastern Washington football team will open practice today as the third-ranked team in the land, according to the nation’s coaches.

The Eagles, 11-3 last year, are picked third in the preseason NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Coaches Poll released Tuesday.

The Eagles, who won the 2010 FCS title and were a semifinalist in 2012, trail No. 1 North Dakota State and No. 2 Montana State in the poll. Eastern is ranked just ahead of No. 4 Sam Houston State, the FCS runners-up the past two seasons.

Eastern plays at Sam Houston State on Sept. 28 in a rematch of last year’s 45-42 Bearkats national semifinal victory over coach Beau Baldwin (pictured) and the Eagles. Montana State, which was defeated at home by the Eagles 27-24 a year ago, plays at Roos Field on Nov. 9 in a game regionally televised on Root Sports.

Other Big Sky schools ranked in the preseason poll are No. 11 Cal Poly, No. 18 Northern Arizona and No. 22 Montana. The Eagles play at Cal Poly on Nov. 16 and Montana on Oct. 26 – both games are also televised on Root Sports.

Jim Allen

Dempsey arrival triggers sellout

MLS: Clint Dempsey’s likely home debut for the Seattle Sounders could be played in front of one of the largest crowds in team history.

The Sounders announced Tuesday that their Aug. 25 match against rival Portland had sold out and the club would be opening 400 bleacher seats plus offering standing room only tickets for the first time in club history for an MLS match.

The Sounders say more than 6,000 tickets were sold after Dempsey’s signing was announced Saturday. Dempsey could make his debut for Seattle on Saturday at Toronto, but he sat out training on Tuesday with an illness.

Seattle led MLS in attendance each of its first four seasons. The Sounders drew 66,452 last season when they hosted Portland.

Associated Press

EWU’s Werner dead at 82

College Track: Harold “Hal” L. Werner, who was recently selected for induction into the Eastern Washington University Athletics Hall of Fame, died Sunday after suffering a heart attack a week ago. He was 82.

Werner is a former Eastern student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach in the track and field. He was notified earlier this summer of his Hall of Fame honor.

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