KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Zach Dolph of Saint Xavier (Ill.), Albert Huntley of Cumberlands (Ky.) and E.J. White of St. Francis (Ill.) were named NAIA Football National Players of the Week, the national office announced Monday. Dolph, Huntley and White were chosen for their performances during the week of Sept. 2 – 8 and were selected out of a pool of conference and independent award winners.
Dolph, a Crest Hill, Ill. native, tied a career-best with 15 tackles to lead Saint Xavier’s defensive unit in its 31-24 overtime win against defending national champion and second ranked Marian (Ind.) Sept. 7. The senior linebacker had 1.5 sacks in the game, none more important than his half sack in overtime that helped force a fumble to end the game. The Cougars allowed no second-half points in their season opener against the Knights. For his career, Dolph owns 10 games with double-digit tackles. He previously received the NAIA’s defensive weekly honor on Sept. 17, 2013.
Huntley, a running back from Mableton, Ga., shined on special teams in the eighth-ranked Patriots 41-10 win over No. 25 Cumberland (Tenn.) on Sept. 7. The senior blocked a punt early in the second quarter, which was returned 15 yards to pay dirt, propelling Cumberlands to an early 14-0 lead. Huntley struck again in the fourth quarter with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to seal victory.
White, a quarterback from St. Cloud, Fla., set a school record with 429 passing yards in St. Francis’ 43-26 win at Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) last Saturday. He completed 23-of-29 passes and tied a second program single-game mark with six touchdowns. The senior added 19 rushes for 95 yards en route to a career-high 524 yards of total offense for the game. Through two weeks of NAIA football, White leads the nation in pass efficiency (271.8), passing yards per game (429.0) and total offense per game (534.0). White has won the National Offensive Player of the Week award two previous times – Oct. 10, 2011 and Oct. 24, 2011.
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: Stephen Anderson, Trinity International (Ill.); Darryl Fields, Oklahoma Baptist; Chris Allen, Friends (Kan.); Branden Cresap, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.); Dillon Baxter, Baker (Kan.); Davis Bloemendaal, Northwestern (Iowa); Derek Elliott, Valley City State (N.D.); Sam Rutherford, Montana Western.
Defensive Nominees: Weston Hazlehurst, Cumberlands (Ky.); Eugene Estes, Oklahoma Baptist; Marcus Carter, Friends (Kan.); Jason Olson, Robert Morris (Ill.); Garrett Griffeth, Hastings (Neb.); Andre Jolly, Baker (Kan.); Preston Powell, Dakota State (S.D.); Travis Bertelsen, Rocky Mountain (Mont.).
Special Teams Nominees: Nic Shegog, Oklahoma Baptist; Andrew Muzljakovich, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.); Rashad Flanders, Mayville State (N.D.); Kelton Evans, Bethany (Kan.); Jordan Pedersen, Doane (Neb.); Connor Smith, Carroll (Mont.); Stephan Straits, Taylor (Ind.); Josh Lewis, Avila (Mo.).
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.)