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Players of the Week - No. 1

September 05, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The first installment of the 2011 NAIA National Football Players of the Week were announced on Monday by the national office: Marcus Bratton of UVa-Wise (Va.) was named NAIA Special Teams Player of the Week, Reece Green of Marian (Ind.) was named NAIA Defensive Player of the Week and Brandon Smith of Northwestern (Iowa) was NAIA Offensive Player of the Week for the week of Aug. 29 – Sept. 4. These winners were chosen out of a pool of player of the week performers among 10 conferences and independents.

Bratton, a 6-0, 205 lb., junior free safety from Roanoke, Va., propelled UVa-Wise to a 37-29 upset win over No. 20 Webber International (Fla.) on Sept. 3. With his team trailing by six points near the end of the third quarter, Bratton took a kick-off 94 yards for a touchdown. After the extra point, the Cavaliers never trailed en route to their season-opening victory. Overall, Bratton totaled more than 100 kick-off return yards.

Green, a 5-11, 250 lb., senior linebacker from Greenfield, Ind., had a career day in Marian’s 19-14 victory at No. 25 Grand View (Iowa) on Sept. 3. Green tallied 14 total tackles (seven solo, seven assists), forced a fumble that saved a score and posted an interception. He also had a tackle-for-loss in leading the Knights' defense in a game plagued by turnovers and inclement weather. Green is now second in the Mid-States Football Association in total tackles (23) and is sixth in tackles-per-game (11.5).

Smith, a 5-11, 220 lb., junior running back from Mankato, Minn., helped lead 14th-ranked Northwestern to a season-opening 47-13 road win over Southwestern (Kan.) on Sept. 3. The junior rushed 21 times for a career-high 189 yards and personal-best four touchdowns. Smith averaged an impressive nine yards-per-carry and scored on runs of 29, five, three and 25 yards. He added 32 receiving yards on two catches. He added two catches for 32 yards. The offense posted 365 rushing yards.

Offensive Nominees: Chance Demarais, Carroll (Mont.); Greg Gates, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.); Shane Zackery, Saint Xavier (Ill.); Garen Demery, St. Francis (Ill.); Jared Jackson, Northwestern Oklahoma State; James Monroe, Tabor (Kan.); Trevor Hoskins, Pikeville (Ky.).

Defensive Nominees: Dustin Bergmeier, Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.); Marcus Maas, Culver-Stockton (Mo.); Andrew Reed, William Penn (Iowa); Chris Hill, Northwestern Oklahoma State; Marc-Avery Airhart, Eastern Oregon; Zak Tazkargy, Southwestern (Kan.); Ben Miller, Cumberland (Tenn.).

Special Teams Nominees: Ryan Craig, Montana State-Northern; Andrew Nielsen, Doane (Neb.); Tyler Davis, Missouri Valley; Edgar Colmenares, Northwestern Oklahoma State; Mike Josifovski, Marian (Ind.); Sean Murray, St. Francis (Ill.); Anthony Pacheco, Tabor (Kan.).

2011 Football Players of the Week (Offense; Defense; Special Teams)
Week 1: Brandon Smith, Northwestern (Iowa); Reece Green, Marian (Ind.); Marcus Bratton, UVa-Wise (Va.)