Dec. 15, 2008
Story courtesy of AFCA offices
WACO, Texas — (All-America Team) Ohio Dominican quarterback Cris Reisert and Carroll (Mont.) linebacker Owen Koeppen headline the 2008 AFCA NAIA Coaches’ All-America Team announced today by the American Football Coaches Association.
Cris Reisert of Ohio Dominican has earned AFCA NAIA Coaches’ All-America Team honors for the second time and is one of two two-time AFCA All-Americans on this year’s squad. Reisert was previously honored as a sophomore in 2006. Reisert threw for 3,027 yards and 28 touchdowns this season. He ends his career as the Mid-States Football Association’s most prolific passer and owns 10 NAIA offensive records, including most touchdowns responsible for in a season with 57.
Reisert’s receiving corps on this year’s team includes Derek Deardorff of Malone, Chauncey Calhoun of Valley City State and Conor Walsh of Benedictine (Kan.). Deardorff ended the regular season as the NAIA’s leading receiver, averaging 115.5 yards per game and 16.7 yards per reception. He established new Pioneer single-season records with 69 receptions for 1,155 yards and 14 touchdowns. Calhoun was the No. 2 receiver in the NAIA with an average of 113.7 yards per game, and added 14 touchdowns. Walsh hauled in 71 passes for 997 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Ravens to rank among the nation’s receiving leaders.
Campbellsville’s Greg Fountain and Minot State’s Nick Banks are the runningbacks on this year’s AFCA NAIA All-America Team. Fountain averaged 156.9 yards rushing this season to lead the NAIA. He carried the ball 283 times for 1,726 yards and 21 touchdowns. Banks finished No. 2 nationally, averaging 143.8 yards per contest and scored 17 touchdowns.
The offensive line features Jacob Bruster of Friends, Steven Dawley of William Penn, Jeff Hynes of Lindenwood, T.J. Wendt of Sioux Falls and Beau Weiss of Bethel (Tenn.). Bruster helped clear the way for an offense that averaged more than 400 yards per game and scored 59 touchdowns this season. Dawley was the lead blocker for a Statesmen offense that rushed for more than 2,600 yards and scored 29 touchdowns on the ground in 2008. Hynes leads a Lindenwood offensive line that surrendered just six sacks this season for an offense that averaged 460.8 yards per game in 2008. Wendt anchors an offensive line that has helped the Cougars rank eighth in scoring offense at 37.5 points per game, and earn a berth in the NAIA national title game. Weiss was the key blocker for a Bethel offense that averaged more than 300 yards per game in total offense this season.
The linebackers on this year’s team include Owen Koeppen of Carroll (Mont.), Clayton Norberg of St. Francis (Ill.) and Nathan Jansen of Northwestern (Iowa). Koeppen joins Reisert as a returnee on this year’s AFCA NAIA Coaches’ All-America Team. He anchors a Saints defense that is holding opponents to 264.4 yards per game in 2008. On the season, Koeppen has 105 tackles and two interceptions for the defending NAIA champions. Norberg led St. Francis with 74 total tackles, including 13.5 for a loss, to go with three sacks and two pass break-ups. Jansen was the Defensive Player of the Year in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. He led the conference in tackles for loss with 15 and posted 61 total tackles, seven sacks, three interceptions and four pass break-ups.
This year’s defensive linemen include Larry Wentzel of Missouri Valley, Tim Farrell of St. Francis (Ind.), Lantz Mathers of Northwestern Oklahoma State and Cedric Fisher of Lambuth. Wentzel finished the season with 25 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss along with 2.5 sacks. Farrell anchors a St. Francis defensive front that limited teams to 98.5 yards rushing per game. He recorded 67 tackles this season. Mathers led the NAIA in fumbles forced and tackles for loss per game and was No. 5 in the country in sacks per game while finishing the season with 82 tackles. Fisher posted 77 stops along with 13 tackles for loss this season. He also recorded a team-leading 5.5 sacks.
The secondary features Chris Rodgers of St. Xavier, Darnell Brown of Langston, Ryan Oetken of Morningside and Ryley McPeters of Dickinson State. Rodgers recorded 46 tackles, three interceptions and 18 pass break-ups for the Cougars. He also set a school record by blocking three punts in one game against Walsh. Brown finished the season with 60 tackles, an NAIA-leading 10 interceptions and seven pass break-ups. Oetken had 68 tackles, nine interceptions and 10 pass break-ups for the Mustangs. He tied a Morningside single-game record with three interceptions in a Sept. 6, 31-7 win against Dakota Wesleyan. McPeters had 47 tackles, nine interceptions and 10 pass break-ups for the Blue Hawks.
The specialists on this year’s NAIA Coaches’ All-America Team are punter Nick Tolsma of Dakota Wesleyan, placekicker Kyle Chilton of Pikeville and all-purpose player Patrick Ealy of MidAmerica Nazarene. Tolsma averaged 42.6 yards per punt for the Tigers to rank among the national leaders. Chilton converted on seven of nine field goal attempts this season, three of which were 45 yards or longer, for the Bears. Ealy was the HAAC Player of the Year for the Pioneers after averaging 145 all-purpose yards per game and scoring 11 touchdowns in 2008.
For the complete AFCA All-America Team, please click here.