By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Erik Brown of Ottawa (Kan.) is named the NAIA Football National Defensive Player of the Week, Melvin Mason of Southern Oregon is recognized as the NAIA Football National Offensive Player of the Week and Jordan Pedersen of Doane (Neb.) is tabbed as the NAIA Football National Special Teams Player of the Week, the national office announced Monday. The trio was chosen for their performances during the week of Sept. 9 – 15 and each was selected out of a pool of conference and independent award winners.
Brown, a Converse, Texas native, recorded three interceptions to lead Ottawa’s defensive unit in its 20-6 victory over No. 2 Missouri Valley. The junior defensive back added six tackles—including two solo—one pass breakup and a sack. Brown’s defensive unit held the Vikings to a 1-of-7 mark on fourth down conversion attempts and forced four turnovers. His three interceptions tie him for second all-time in the Ottawa record book for interceptions in a single game. Brown also contributed on special teams, blocking a Missouri Valley field goal attempt which was picked up and returned 65 yards for a touchdown by teammate Morey Croson. Brown currently leads the NAIA with four interceptions on the season and ranks fourth in the nation in passes defended per game (2.5).
Mason, a running back from Valencia, Calif., recorded a career-high 236 rushing yards against NCAA Division I FCS Sacramento State (Calif.). The freshman recorded go-ahead touchdown runs of 76 and 55 yards in the fourth quarter, but the Big Sky opponent held on for a 63-56 victory. Mason currently ranks among the NAIA leaders in total rushing (11th, 296 yards), total scoring (13th, 26 points) and all purpose yards (14th, 365).
Pedersen, a kicker from Crete, Neb., went 2-for- 2 on field goal attempts, putting it through the uprights from 20 and 37 yards. The sophomore went 4-for-4 on extra point attempts in the Tigers 34-27 win over No. 13 Northwestern (Iowa) and is a perfect 6-for-6 on field goals and 5-for-5 on extra point tries this season. Pedersen also helped Doane control the early-game field position with his kickoffs, averaging 61.4 yards per kick, which pushed Northwestern’s average starting field position in the first half back to its own 17 yard line. Pedersen currently leads the NAIA in total field goals (6), field goal percentage (1.000) and PAT kicking percentage (1.000) and is second in the nation in total scoring for kickers (23).
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: Eric Williamson, St. Ambrose (Iowa); Antoin Campbell, Saint Francis (Ind.); Kyle Schuck, Morningside (Iowa); David Chapman, Bacone (Okla.); David Chapman, Bacone (Okla.); Taylor Sachs, Kansas Wesleyan; Maurice Coon, Central Methodist (Mo.); A.J. Graham, Pikeville (Ky.); Derek Elliott, Valley City State (N.D.).
Defensive Nominees: Jt Petsch, Jamestown (N.D.); Jeremy Wallace, St. Ambrose (Iowa); Nic Shegog, Oklahoma Baptist; Takari Johnson, Concordia (Mich.); Blake Barnes, Reinhardt (Ga.); Bryan Graupmann, Carroll (Mont.); Kam Lenhart, Doane (Neb.); Kc Moorman, Avila (Mo.).
Special Teams Nominees: Victor Bodrie, Siena Heights (Mich.); Cooper Koons, Oklahoma Baptist; Weston Hazlehurst, Cumberlands (Ky.); Antonio Bray, Sterling (Kan.); Erik Zamudio, Culver-Stockton (Mo.); Dylan Torgerson, Mayville State (N.D.); Marcus Kerrigan, William Penn (Iowa); Jordan Rueschhoff, Montana State-Northern.
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.)