Oskaloosa–Several deserving Statesmen football players as well as their coach were recognized for tremendous campaigns as the 2016 all-Heart of America Athletic Conference North Division teams were announced Monday.
A total of 11 players were selected, including three on the first team, five on the second team, and three more on the honorable-mention squad. Nine individuals earned their first accolades this fall.
Head Coach Todd Hafner was chosen by his peers as North Division Coach of the Year. It is his third career laurel, also winning the award in 2008 and 2010. In what was figured to be a rebuilding year, the Statesmen fought to a 7-4 record, including a 4-1 North mark. The team shared the North crown, ended the year tied at #23, and played for a postseason berth in the season finale.
Grand View swept the top player awards as Jordan Knock was named Offensive Player of the Year and teammate Robert Lewis was picked as Defensive POY. GVU’s Austin Flynn and Peru State’s Derek Derr shared the Assistant Coach of the Year honor.
Hunter Barry (Sr., Morris, Ill., Physical Education) paced the navy and gold by receiving his third career honor; all three were first-team awards. The senior defensive tackle finished with 46 tackles (20 solos, 26 assists), including 9.5 for loss.
Fellow first-teamers Hunter Dailey (So., Texarkana, Texas, Biology) and Mason Wisse (Jr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Physical Education) both earned their initial laurels. Dailey was the leader of an offensive line that ranked second in the NAIA with 3,228 rushing yards (293.5 per game).
Wisse headlined the defense with a team-best 88 tackles (47 solos, 41 assists, 12 for loss). The linebacker also recorded two sacks, one interception, and two fumble recoveries.
Cornerback Antonio Brown (Sr., Midwest City, Okla., Undecided) notched his second career nod (both on second team), tallying 54 tackles (37 solos, 17 assists, six for loss).
Van Parker (Sr., Muskegon, Mich., Physical Education) was chosen as an athlete for his first-ever laurel. The senior started the year in a battle for the quarterback slot, then moved to wide receiver before finally concluding the season as WPU’s starting signal-caller. He rushed for 511 yards and two touchdowns, completed 11 of 28 passes for 171 yards and two scores, and caught three balls for 106 yards.
The trio of center Sione Mafua (Fr., Salt Lake City, Utah, Undecided), defensive end Resean Coleman (Fr., River Rouge, Mich., Exercise Science), and linebacker Winston Green (Jr., Sacramento, Calif., Psychology and Sociology) were also chosen for the first time.
Mafua joined Dailey on the offensive line that led William Penn to 336.5 total yards per game. Coleman ended up with 39 tackles (12 solos, 27 assists, 4.5 for loss), a team-high 3.5 sacks, and one interception (returned for a TD). Green managed 35 stops (20 solos, 15 assists, 3.5 for loss) and one sack, but was by far most productive in pass defense with a squad-best five interceptions. He returned three of those picks for scores and also returned a blocked field back for a score.
Fullback Amos Johnson (Jr., Rock Island, Ill., Mechanical Engineering), defensive end Cooper Gosch (So., Reeds Springs, Okla., Education), and safety Kyle Baldassarre(So., Webb City, Mo., Industrial Technology) were all recipients for the first time in their collegiate careers.
Johnson produced a Statesmen-high 743 rushing yards with five touchdowns, while Gosch tallied 53 tackles (27 solos, 26 assists, team-high 14 for loss) in addition to three sacks. Baldassarre concluded 2016 with 64 stops (31 solos, 33 assists, three for loss), four interceptions, and one fumble recovery.
For the complete list of 2016 all-Heart teams, go to http://www.heartofamericaconfe
Story provided by Wade Steinlage