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NAIA Football Players of the Week No. 4

September 23, 2013
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By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Josh Miller of Saint Francis (Ind.) is named the NAIA Football National Offensive Player of the Week; Mike Phillips of McPherson (Kan.) is tabbed as the NAIA Football National Special Teams Player of the Week and JerSean Walder of Doane (Neb.) is recognized as the NAIA Football National Defensive Player of the Week, the national office announced Monday. The trio was chosen for their performances during the week of Sept. 16 – 22 and each was selected from a pool of conference and independent award winners.

Miller, a Lima, Ohio native, completed 68 percent of his pass attempts in Saint Francis’ victory over No. 7 St. Ambrose (Iowa). The senior quarterback threw for a career-best 412 yards, while completing 18 passes for first downs. Miller is the first Saint Francis quarterback to throw for over 400 yards in a game since 2002 and his 412-yard performance ranks third on the Cougars single-game list. Miller’s lone touchdown pass came in the fourth quarter, when he hit freshman wide receiver Seth Coate from eight yards out for what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown. Miller currently ranks among the NAIA leaders in total offensive yards per game (8th, 319.5), passing yards per game (11th, 286.5) and pass efficiency (13th, 156.9).

Phillips, a kicker from Spring Branch, Texas, was perfect in McPherson’s win over Bethel (Kan.). The senior went 3-for-3 on field goal attempts in the game, including one from a season-long 39 yards, and is 6-for-6 on the year. He’s also 14-for-14 on extra point attempts, including 6-for-6 in this week’s contest. Phillips currently leads the NAIA in field goal percentage (1.000) and PAT kicking percentage (1.000) and is second in the nation in total field goals (6), total scoring for kickers (32 points) and scoring per game for kickers (10.7 points).

Walder, a defensive back from Allen, Texas, scored two defensive touchdowns and recorded a team-high six tackles to lead Doane’s defensive unit in its 62-7 victory over Hastings (Neb.)—the Tigers first win at Hastings since 1997. The junior jumped on an errant snap in the end zone early in the second quarter and six minutes later returned an interception 38 yards for his second score of the game. Doane held Hastings to 171 yards of total offense in the contest and Walder’s two defensive touchdowns tied a school record. With his two interceptions this week, Walder vaulted himself into the top ten nationally in total interceptions (10th, 2).

For a complete list of all the national statistical leaders, click here.

For the complete NAIA Player of the Week calendar, click here.

Offensive Nominees:Zach Ely, Dakota State (S.D.); Jordan Hoffman, McPherson (Kan.); Reed Gurchiek, Cumberland (Tenn.); Chris Elliott, Trinity International (Ill.); Anthony Muilenburg, Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.); Reid Golson, SAGU (Texas); Bill Noonan, Benedictine (Kan.); Austin Dodge, Southern Oregon.

Defensive Nominees:
Ben Kullos, Dakota State (S.D.); Brandon Ruemler, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.); Marcus Carter, Friends (Kan.); Tevin McCoy, Reinhardt (Ga.); Dan McKenna, Taylor (Ind.); Jon-Lucas Poe, Wayland Baptist (Texas); Sean Blomquist, Carroll (Mont.); Ray Gragg, Benedictine (Kan.).

Special Teams Nominees:Beau Baker, Cumberland (Tenn.); Jeremiah Carter, Trinity International (Ill.); Kollin Carman, Saint Francis (Ind.); Trevor Baum, Montana State-Northern; Thomas Cortez, Valley City State (N.D.); Dan Mouro, Missouri Valley; Aaron Lorraine, Nebraska Wesleyan.

2013 NAIA Football Players of the Week (complete schedule)
Week 1 (Sept. 2)
Offense: Bryce Baker, Rocky Mountain (Mont.)
Defense: Zach Hollier, Grand View (Iowa)
Special Teams: Zach Keenan, Benedictine (Kan.)
Week 2 (Sept. 9)
Offense: E.J. White, St. Francis (Ill.)
Defense: Zach Dolph, Saint Xavier (Ill.)
Special Teams: Albert Huntley, Cumberlands (Ky.)
Week 3 (Sept. 16)
Offense: Melvin Mason, Southern Oregon
Defense: Erik Brown, Ottawa (Kan.)
Special Teams: Jordan Pedersen, Doane (Neb.)
Week 4 (Sept. 23)
Offense: Josh Miller, Saint Francis (Ind.)
Defense: JerSean Walder, Doane (Neb.)
Special Teams: Mike Phillips, McPherson (Kan.)