Joey Silva led the conference in tackles for loss with 18, and sacks with 6.5 and is receiving his first All-Conference award.
Joey Silva led the conference in tackles for loss with 18, and sacks with 6.5 and is receiving his first All-Conference award.
In a game where the conference championship and a birth in the DIII playoffs was on the line, the Panthers came up short against the St. Scholastica Saints 42-14. The Panther offense got the ball first but were forced into a three and out. St. Scholastica waisted little time getting on the board by scoring in less than 2 and a half minutes to make the score 7-0 with 10:02 left on the clock. The Greenville offense responded with a touchdown drive of their own by going on a 16 play, 72 yard drive chewing up 6:32 off the clock. The drive was finished off by Panther running back Nathan Callaway on a 1 yard score. The Panthers defense rose to the occasion forcing the Saints to kick a field goal but it was wide left to keep the score at 7-7 with 49 seconds left in the quarter. The Panther offense could not use that momentum as they were forced into a three and out. St. Scholastica's offense then proceeded to go on a 79 yard drive to make the score 14-7. The ensuing kickoff was an onside kick recovered by the Saints and they rolled with that momentum scoring again to go up 21-7 with 8:49 left in the half. The Greenville offense was forced into another three and out. Scoreless drives by both teams gave the Saints offense the ball at their own 39. The potent Saints offense only took 2 plays to hit pay dirt this time to go up 28-7 with 1:30 left in the half. Both teams finished the half with scoreless drives to make the halftime score 28-7 in favor of the Saints.
The Saints offense kept the firepower going by scoring again in less than 3 minutes to go up 35-7. A three and out by the Panther offense gave the ball back to the Saints offense. But, this time the Panther defense had a big turnover with an interception by cornerback Kevin Tran. This lit a fire in the Panther offense as Cory Moore scored on a 18 yard touchdown run to make the score 35-14 with 8:14 left in the third quarter. A three and out forced by the Panther defense led to a drive into the Saints' red zone but it was stopped on a fourth and one by the Saints defense. Two scoreless drive by both teams led to the Saints' final score of the game to make the score 42-14. Another fourth down stop by the Saints' defense gave them the ball with 7:35 left in the game. On the next play linebacker Nicholas Morrow came up with an interception to give the Panther offense great field position. The Panther were once again stopped on a fourth down attempt. The Panther defense then forced their third turnover of the game with a Nathan Propst forced fumble and recovery. The Greenville offense once again could do nothing with it and were stopped on fourth down attempt. The Saints offense took a knee to give St. Scholastica the 42-14 win and conference title.
The Panthers were led in rushing by running back Jacob Stull with 62 yards on 9 carries. Senior Jacob Bronars led the team in tackles with 8 total. Nicholas Morrow had two tackles for loss and 6 solo tackles. Lincoln Johnson and TK Mattress each had half of a sack. The loss puts Greenville's regular season record to 7-3 and 7-2 in the UMAC.
Greenville College JV finished off a great season with an impressive 18-12 double overtime win versus Midwest Prep. Impressive defensive play by both teams ruled most of the game but Midwest Prep was able to crack the scoreboard first to go ahead 6-0 in the second quarter. The Greenville offense responded quickly on a trick play pass from Jordan Mixon to Derek Greifzu. This touchdown put the score at 6-6 going into the half. The second half once again was dominated by both defenses including multiple fourth down stops for the Panther defense. The fourth quarter ended with the score tied at 6-6. Overtime started with the Midwest offense getting the score and missing the ensuing extra point. This open the door for the Panther offense who scored on a Mixon touchdown run. The two point conversion was no good forcing a second overtime. In the second overtime the Panther defense rose to the occasion once again with a huge fourth down stop. The Panther offense then had the ball on the 25 yard line going in to win the game. Juan Carbajal scored the winning touchdown with a powerful 4 yard run to give the Panthers the 18-12 win. Congrats to the JV team on their first win of the season!
The Panthers had a dominating performance today, winning by a score of 42-14. The Panther offense got off the bat quickly with a 11 play, 78 yard drive in 4:32. The drive was capped off by a 1 yard Nathan Callaway touchdown run giving Greenville the 6-0 lead. After three and outs by both teams the Westminster offense were forced into a fourth down punting situation but a bad snap by the center forced the Blue Jay punter to fall on the ball in the end zone for a safety. The safety gave Greenville an 8-0 lead. Greenville fumbled the ensuing kickoff but the Westminster quarterback gave it right back to the Panthers after a fumble forced by Joey Silva. The fumble gave the potent Panther offense the ball on the Westminster 47. They wasted little time by scoring on 2 plays with Callaway, once again, finishing the drive off from 3 yards out. The Westminster offense then proceeded to go on a 12 play drive only to have it thwarted on a fourth and nine by Panther linebacker Johnny Uperesa. The Panther offense gave it back quickly thought with a fumble on the next drive. The Blue Jay offense didn't waist any time by scoring in 1 play to make the score 14-7 in favor of the Panthers. Three and outs by both teams gave the Panthers the ball with good field position. A quick first down run by Jacob Battaglia could not spakr the offense as they were forced to punt again. Two more unsuccessful drive by both teams and a three and out by Westminster gave the Panthers the ball with 7:26 left in the half. The Panther offense went on an explosive 7 play, 64 yard drive the was finished off by an impressive run by Jacob Stull. The score put the Panthers up 21-7. The Panther defense rose the occasion again by locking down the Westminster offense on fourth down yet again. Greenville's offense took the ball down to the 3 yard line but was unsuccessful on a field goal attempt leaving the score at 21-7 at the half.
Westminster received the ball to start the half and the Panther defense forced a three and out. Greenville's offense went on a 6 play, 67 yard drive that took just under 2 minutes. The touch down was scored by receiver Andre Underwood from quarterback EA Northey from 35 yards out. Westminster responded with a 8 play drive of their own to put the score at 28-14 with 9 minutes left in the third quarter. Three and outs by both teams and a huge fourth down stop by the Panther defense once again gave the Panther offense the ball with 5 minutes left in the quarter. The offense went on a 15 play drive but was stopped on a fourth down inside the goal line. The defense once again forced a three and out giving the Panther offense the ball on the Westminster 33 yard line. Nathan Callaway scored the on the drive from 19 yards out to make the score 35-14 with 12:11 left in the game. The game then went in a lull as Westminster had 3 unsuccessful drives and Greenville had 2 unsuccessful drives. The game got back to the scoring when the Panther offense went on a 7 play, 69 yard drive to make the score 42-14. The next 2 drives were unsuccessful for both teams make the final score 42-14.
Greenville was led in rushing by Callaway with 159 yards on 32 carries. Stull also broke the century mark with 126 yards on 20 carries. EA Northey was 9 of 12 for 191 yards in the passing game and Battaglia led the team with 83 yards receiving on 4 catches. Nick Morrow had a tremendous game on the defensive side of the ball with 7 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, and a sack. Uperesa had a sack and 2 tackles for loss as well. Silva and Robert Deering each had a sack too. The win puts the Panthers record to 7-2 on the year and 7-1 in the UMAC. Next week, Greenville takes on the St. Scholastica Saints in a game for the conference championship and a birth in the DIII playoffs. The game in is Duluth, Minnesota. Hope to see you there!
The Panthers got a great fight on senior day out of the Iowa Wesleyan Tigers but the Panthers were able to hold on for a 52-32 victory. The Panthers came out on this Homecoming and Senior day game with a lot of energy but that was quickly dashed by the Iowa Wesleyan kickoff return team who took the opening kickoff for a touchdown. With less than 15 seconds off the clock the Panthers found themselves in a 7-0 deficit. A Jordan Mixon 30 yard kickoff return gave the Panther offense the ball near midfield but the offense could not do anything with it getting stuffed on a third and short and were forced to punt. The Tiger offense wasted little time getting on the board again by putting together an 8 play, 80 yard drive in less than 3 minutes to go up by a margin of 14-0 with just under 10 minutes to go in the first quarter. The Greenville offense responded with a quick drive of their own scoring in just under 4 minutes. The 10 play, 57 yard drive was capped off by running back Jacob Stull's first touchdown of the year. This touchdown put the score at 14-7 with 5:40 left in the first quarter. After unsuccessful drives by both teams the Panthers were forced to punt to start the second quarter.
A 25 yard punt gave the Iowa Wesleyan offense great field position on Greenville's 49 yard line and the Tigers took advantage by scoring on a long 49 yard touchdown run. The extra point was no good giving the Tigers a 20-7 advantage with 14:43 left in the half. After a three and out by the Panther offense, the defense came up with a huge play in the form of a Johnny Uperesa forced fumble and a recovery by Ralph Regalado. The Panther offense then came to life by scoring in less than 2 minutes on a 5 play, 42 yard drive finished off by a tough 20 yard run by Panther quarterback Jacob Battaglia on a 4th and 3. This score brought the margin closer to 20-14 with 9:27 left in the half. The score seemed to rejuvenate the Panther defense as they forced two straight three and outs to give the Panther offense the ball back at their own 32 yard line. The Greenville offense proceeded to go on a 9 play, 68 yard drive that ended with another Stull touchdown. A successful PAT gave the Panthers the lead 21-20 with 16 seconds to go in the half. Two plays by the Tiger offense put them in position to throw a Hail Mary pass to the end zone with 3 seconds left in the half. A throw short of the end zone was tipped by Jarrid Williams and then intercepted by Joey Silva who returned it 80 yards to the Iowa Wesleyan 10. A flag was thrown on the play and the Iowa Wesleyan Tigers were called for an unsportsmanlike penalty to give the Panthers one last play to end the half. Senior Josh Morgan's 20 yard field goal gave the Panthers the lead 24-20 to end the half.
The Panthers received the ball to start the second half and fed off the energy from the first half to go on a 4 play 62 yard drive that was highlighted by a Nathan Callaway 43 yard run to set up a Mixon 10 yard TD run. The Panther defense seemed to use some of this energy as well as they forced another three and out to set up a Panther scoring drive. The 9 play 30 yard drive was capped off by Battaglia's second touchdown from 18 yards out. The Tigers responded with a 79 yard touchdown pass to bring the score to 38-26 with 6:48 left in the third quarter. The Panther offense responded with a big play of their own on a pass from Battaglia to receiver John Dudley for a 44 yard score. The Panther defense then came up with a big fourth down stop to give the Panthers the ball with 3 minutes left in the quarter. Another explosive drive by the Greenville offense led to a Hamid Camara 33 yard touchdown run to give the panthers the 52-26 lead. The Tigers responded with a long 13 play, 65 yard drive taking up 6 minutes to put the score at 52-32 with 10:13 left in the game. Three and outs by both teams gave the Panthers the ball with 6:22 left in the game. The Panthers were able to run off just under 4 minutes of the clock to give the ball back to the Tigers with 2:38 left in the game. The Iowa Wesleyan offense decided to run the game out which gave the Panthers the 52-32 win.
The Panthers were led in rushing and passing by Battaglia with 132 yards rushing and 138 yards passing. Nathan Callaway also broke the century mark in rushing with 106 yards on 18 carries and Andre Underwood led the receiving corps with 2 catches for 56 yards. The Panther defense was led in tackles by Nicholas Morrow with 7 and a tackle for loss as well. Joey Silva also had an impressive stat line with 5 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, a sack, and an interception. Lincoln Johnson and Johnny Uperesa also had sacks on the day. The win gives the Panthers a 6-2 record on the year and 6-1 in the UMAC. The Panthers will take on Westminster in Missouri this coming Saturday. Hope to see you there!
This years Alumni Game was loaded with lots of action as the Alumni came out on top with an 18-6 win. About 30 former players participated in this years game. The game started off quickly with the Alumni offense doing a double reverse and gaining 70 yards. The drive was capped off by former quarterback Brendan Chambers. The rest of the quarter was very back and forth but the JV Panthers got on the board late in the 2nd quarter with a Dylan Massey interception returned for a touchdown. Quarterbacking the alumni team was our very own Coach Joel Lira, a 2010 graduate of Greenville College. The score was tied at half 6-6. The alumni bounced back quickly in the third quarter with a long touchdown drive. Coach Lira found tight end Zach Fredrich. Fredirich is the only All-American Greenville football has ever had. Early in the 4th quarter the Alumni forced an interception and they capitalized on it with a short touchdown run by Chambers once again. The game ended with the margin of 18-6 in favor of the alumni. We really appreciate all of the alumni coming out and playing and we hope to see you all next year. We also want to thank you for having a part in putting the program to where it is today. We are built on your shoulders!
The Greenville Panthers lost a tough one today by a score of 35-28. Greenville got off to a great start by scoring in less than 45 seconds. Jacob Battaglia scored his first touchdown as a starting running back by taking a pitch 70 yards for the score. A quick three and out was forced by the Panther defense and the offense of the Panthers went on a long 15 play drive only to be stopped on a 4th and 1. The defense make another great stop for Greenville and the ensuing punt was blocked by Rafael Morales and recovered in the end zone by Nick Morrow to put the Panthers up 14-0. The Northwestern offense then went on a 10 play, 64 yard scoring drive to make the score 14-7. The Greenville offense was stopped on a 4th down after another drive into Northwestern territory. Greenville’s defense responded with a fourth down stop of their own to give the Panthers the ball deep in their own territory. This did not phase the Panther offense as they turned the fields quickly with a 3 play 78 yard scoring drive capped of by a 67-yard touchdown catch by John Dudley from quarterback Eric Northey. The score put the Panthers up 21-7 with 9 minutes left in the half. The Eagles responded with a touchdown drive of their own to make the score 21-14. Greenville’s offense then went on a 14 play scoring drive covering 76 yards in 5 and a-half minutes. The drive was finished off with an impressive catch by running back Jordan Mixon from new quarterback Jacob Battaglia, who was replacing an injured Eric Northey. This score put the deficit to 28-14 in favor of the Panthers and the Eagles took a knee to end the first half.
2. 70 Points – Greenville College (2)
3. 69 Points – University of Northwestern (2)
4. 55 Points – Eureka College (1)
6. 41 Points – University of Minnesota Morris
7. 32 Points – Westminster College
8. 29 Points – Martin Luther College
9. 21 Points – Iowa Wesleyan College
10. 10 Points – MacMurray College
ST. PAUL – 2013 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) football champion, the College of St. Scholastica, is predicted to again claim the league title in 2014 according to a poll of the UMAC coaches. The Saints earned a total of five first place votes (74 points) to take the top spot overall while Greenville College (70 points) and the University of Northwestern (69 points) each received two first place nods and finished in second and third place respectively with just one point separating the two teams. Eureka College, who finished in fourth place overall (55 points), also received a first place vote in the annual coaches' preseason poll.
1. College of St. Scholastica Saints
2013 Overall Record: 9-1
2013 UMAC Record: 9-0
2013 UMAC Finish: 1st
Starters Returning: 12
Starters Lost: 10
In only six years, the St. Scholastica football program has made three straight NCAA Division III Playoff appearances and has a conference record of 25-1 in the last three seasons. The 2014 season will see a new era as Kurt Ramler was hired as the school's second-ever head coach in March after the retirement of Greg Carlson. Ramler says not much change is needed this season due to the past success of the program, but look for a more aggressive Saints squad in 2014.
CSS lost some key cogs from last year's squad, including UMAC Defensive Player of the Year Alec French and UMAC Lineman of the Year Chris Lambach. Also gone offensively are running back Jake Jensen and wide receiver Cory Gebhard. Jensen finished as the all-time leading rusher in program history, while Gebhard was fourth in career all-purpose yards. The two combined for 24 of the team's 51 touchdowns last season.
The CSS offense does see the return of two-year starting quarterback Tyler Harper. Harper had his best game in the biggest contest of the year in 2013 when he threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns, while also running for 48 yards and a score in a 27-21 conference-clinching win at Greenville in the regular season finale. Harper sees four out of five starters return on the offensive line, including preseason All-American Pete Stanley, but loses his top four wide receivers. The top returning receiver for the Saints will be H-back Mitch O'Neil, who had 14 catches. Other returnees Spencer Specht and Nick Murphy each had 11 catches last season. At running back, Chris Gassert will look for more touches out of the backfield after averaging 7.7 yards per carry in 88 attempts last season.
Defensively, the Saints will be coached up by new Defensive Coordinator George Penree, after Allen Smith took the linebackers job at Division I-FCS Drake University (Iowa). The defensive line remains intact with All-UMAC performers Blake Cedarleaf and Joe Geiselman at the ends and Aaron Tody in the middle. Cedarleaf was named a second team preseason All-American by USA Football. In the back two levels of the defense, the Saints lost six of eight starters. Paul Olson is the lone returning starter at linebacker, while Xavier Rhodes is the lone returning starter in the secondary. Olson and Rhodes finished in the top four on the team in tackles last season.
2. Greenville College Panthers
2013 Overall Record: 9-1
2013 UMAC Record: 8-1
2013 UMAC Finish: 2nd
Starters Returning: 13
Starters Lost: 10
With a stretch of eight consecutive seasons with a record of .500 or better, Greenville football is looking forward to building on its successful tradition. Since joining the UMAC in 2009, the Panthers have won outright UMAC league championships or tied for the UMAC championships on three occasions and placed second in the other two campaigns.
The 2014 Panther squad returns 13 starters from a 2013 season in which the team was 9-2, placed second in the UMAC regular season, and earned a berth in their second consecutive NCCAA Victory Bowl. Returning head coach and UMAC coach of the year Robbie Schomaker directed the squad to a program best nine wins in a season, tops in the 27 year history of Panther football.
The Panther offensive attack will look to its rushing game again as it returns UMAC first team offensive lineman Joe Schoepf, UMAC second team running back Jacob Stull, and UMAC second team offensive lineman Hunter Rone to an offense that ranked third in the NCAA Division III with 326 rushing yards per game. The team was 18th in total offense with 473.1 yards per game. Stull produced 102.3 rushing yards per game as he had a 1,023 yard season.
The Panther defensive unit will be led by returning linemen Lincoln Johnson and Johnathan Roa, linebackers Nicholas Morrow and Jonathan Uperesa, and backs Matt Edler and Ralph Regalado. The team ranked fourth in the UMAC with 361 yards allowed per game and was fifth with 27.4 points allowed per game.
3. University of Northwestern Eagles
2013 Overall Record: 6-4
2013 UMAC Record: 6-3
2013 UMAC Finish: 4th
Starters Returning: 20
Starters Lost: 4
Northwestern is back in action and ready for competition on a brand new home artificially turfed field. After posting a 6-4 record (6-3 UMAC) in 2013, the Eagles are eager to return to their championship-level play from 2012, when they shared the conference title with St. Scholastica and Greenville.
Northwestern's offense will begin the 2014 season with a strong group. First team All-UMAC running back Josh Sinnen returns for his senior season after a successful 2013 campaign. Sinnen rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, making him the first 1,000-yard rusher for Northwestern since 2001. Senior quarterback Jacob Fletcher is back after throwing 21 touchdowns for a total of over 2,100 throwing yards by the end of the 2013 season. In addition to Joe Sutton, Matt Paulson, a transfer from California Lutheran, could be one of Fletcher's top targets this season.
Despite losing two starters in Valentine Awasom and Cody Kielsa, 2014 looks to be promising for Eagles defense. Second-year starter and first team All-UMAC recipient Austin Stubbs led the 2013 secondary with six interceptions. The Eagles had two standout tacklers in sophomores Cameron Cox and Luke Sommerlot. Each recorded 76 tackles on the season. Cox had 10.5 tackles for loss while Sommerlot earned second team all-conference honors.
4. Eureka College Red Devils
2013 Overall Record: 8-2
2013 UMAC Record: 7-2
2013 UMAC Finish: 3rd
Starters Returning: 10
Starters Lost: 12
The Eureka College Red Devils offense returns six starters from last year's 2013 squad, including quarterback Blake Robles and wide receiver Dorell Baugh, both were named All-UMAC First Team members. Robles threw for 2,672 yards, 23 touchdowns, and added two rushing touchdowns. Baugh, a versatile offensive threat, tallied 54 receptions for 616 yards, five touchdowns, and rushed for 122 yards and six touchdowns. Matt Mogged also returns at wide receiver, Mogged led the Red Devils in touchdown receptions with six. The offensive line will be anchored by returning starters, Javier Rivera and Matt Friend. Rivera was an All-UMAC Second Team member on the offensive line.
Defensively, the Red Devils return four starters from last year's team. Austin Blair returns to the defensive line after a solid sophomore campaign. Blair totaled 23 solo tackles, 25 assisted tackles, seven tackles for a loss, and three sacks. Sophomore Ricky Martinez returns at cornerback after a freshman year in which he had 25 solo tackles, six assisted tackles, and three interceptions with two of those being returned for touchdowns. Sophomore Dakota Padilla and Senior Nick Blakey also return to the defensive backfield after starting a combined 13 games last year.
The Red Devils are anticipating the largest incoming class in the Kurt Barth era this fall. Approximately 55-60 freshman and transfers will be on the roster this year. Highlighting this deep recruiting class is a couple of highly-touted freshman. Austin Zirkle is a gifted athlete that can play both wide receiver and defensive back for the Red Devils. Zirkle was a First Team All-Conference selection and will provide depth at either position. Trever Zeibert is another versatile recruit that will be on campus this fall. Zeibert can play either tight end or defensive end for Eureka. Like Zirkle, Zeibert was also a First Team All-Conference selection. After graduating much of the defensive line after last season, the Red Devils will look to incoming freshman defensive lineman, Jordan Brandenburg to help out. Brandenburg, was named All-Conference on the defensive line in the Little Illini Conference. He was also named First Team All-Area and Honorable Mention All-Wabash Valley Team.
5. Crown College Storm
2013 Overall Record: 4-6
2013 UMAC Record: 4-5
2013 UMAC Finish: T-5th
Starters Returning: 17
Starters Lost: 5
The Crown College Storm come into the 2014 season with high hopes. Last season, Crown stumbled out to an 0-5 record, which included a handful of close losses, before finishing the season 4-1. Crown will look to finish out the close games this season behind a very talented roster.
With 17 returning starters on last year's squad, Crown will not start as many freshmen as in years past. Eight starters return on a defense that ranked fourth in the conference in points per game at just 23.4 points allowed. They ranked fifth in takeaways with 19 (twelve interceptions and seven fumble recoveries). The high pressure system also created 29 sacks which ranked second in the conference. Defensive linemen Zach Jusczak and Drew Zoromski will set the tone up front while playmaking safety Eli Dahl will once again anchor a talented young secondary.
Offensively, Crown returns nine starters keyed by four of five offensive line starters, their fullback, and two talented backs. Crown finished last season with the fourth ranked rushing offense at 188.7 yards per game. Josh Edlund and Matt Michaud will once again team up for a formidable one-two punch out of the backfield. Crown must improve in the passing game where they ranked last in the conference. Transfer quarterback Brandon McCormick will assume leadership of the offense after coming over from Maranatha Baptist last spring.
6. University of Minnesota Morris Cougars
2013 Overall Record: 3-7
2013 UMAC Record: 3-6
2013 UMAC Finish: 7th
Starters Returning: 19
Starters Lost: 6
Minnesota Morris goes into the 2014 season looking to bounce back from a 3-7 season (3-6 UMAC) last year. The Cougars were competitive in nearly every game last season, losing five games by just eight points or less.
The team returns a total of 19 starters from the 2013 squad which should help the Cougars transition into the 2014 season. Cody Hickman will lead the defensive once again in 2014. Hickman is coming off an All-UMAC year and received some All-Region attention after leading the leading in tackles, averaging 14 tackles per game in the 2013 season. Hickman will be joined by seven other defensive returners.
Offensively the Cougars lost a pair of wide receivers, including All-UMAC performer and CoSIDA All-American Brendon Foss. However, both quarterbacks return as does leading rusher Dustin Spohn who averaged 62 yards per game and had seven touchdowns last season. The Cougars will also return three other pass catchers and a couple offensive lineman which should help the team transition offensively as they look to climb the UMAC standings this season.
7. Westminster College Blue Jays
2013 Overall Record: 2-8
2013 UMAC Record: 2-7
2013 UMAC Finish: T-8th
Starters Returning: 15
Starters Lost: 7
The Westminster Blue Jays look to bring a competitive game to the UMAC for the 2014 season. With 15 starters returning, the Blue Jays look to build upon experience while adding players into key positions.
Offensively, the Blue Jays return the strong duo of senior quarterback Joe Plassmeyer and sophomore wide receiver Mike Washington. Plassmeyer threw 1,853 yards and 15 touchdowns throughout the season last year, and Washington led the team with 692 receiving yards. The Blue Jays lost the top three running backs, including Second Team All-Conference Ronnie Seals Jr., but they will look to have a balanced attack this year after adding depth to the running game.
On defense, the Blue Jays lost three top notch defenders, including First Team All-Conference Josh Bromberg and Jeremy Hampton and Second Team All-Conference Louvis Johnson. USA Football Preseason All-American Honorable Mention Kyle Bryant returns on the defensive line for his senior year after finishing strong last season. Throughout the 2013 season, he tallied 25 tackles, including six tackles for a loss of 44 yards and 3.5 sacks for 28 yards. Also returning is junior CJ Vaughan. He closed out last season with 34.5 tackles, two interceptions, four pass breakups and six passes deflected. Senior Dennis Dent also returns; he had 33 tackles (4.0 TFL) and two sacks in the 10 games last season.
8. Martin Luther College Knights
2013 Overall Record: 4-6
2013 UMAC Record: 4-5
2013 UMAC Finish: T-5th
Starters Returning: 18
Starters Lost: 4
The 2014 Martin Luther football team returns a number of key performers from its youthful 2013 roster that finished with a 4-6 record (4-5 UMAC). The Knights are hopeful that the experience gained last season can help them to a better finish in the 2014 UMAC standings.
The offense returns eight starters from last season's team that averaged more than 400 total yards per game (220.8 yards rushing and 181.2 yards passing). Junior Luke Rothe returns at quarterback after throwing for 1803 yards with 18 touchdowns to go with 813 yards rushing and nine scores in 2013. He will be joined in the backfield by Matt Olson, who ran for 700 yards and eight touchdowns in seven games last season. Receivers Josh Rathje, Dan Rodewald and Chris Arndt all return with experience on the outside, while the offensive line returns four of the five starters from last season. Jeff Rick, Jacob Bode and Aaron Platzer each have at least two years of starting experience under their belts along the line.
Defensively, the Knights return ten starters from one of the most inexperienced units in the UMAC a season ago. The strength of the defense will remain up front, where Ben Ewings, Ben Hansen and Nick Kressin return after strong 2013 campaigns. Ewings was a First Team All-UMAC selection after setting an MLC single-season record with 11.0 sacks in 2013. Kressin led the team in tackles (77), and also finished with 15.5 tackles for loss, while Hansen finished with 67 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss. The back seven returns veterans Colin Paustian and Jacob Brohn, while underclassmen Thomas Keller, Chris Dean and Nathan Schoenherr look to show improvement after gaining experience as freshman a season ago.
9. Iowa Wesleyan College Tigers
2013 Overall Record: 2-8
2013 UMAC Record: 2-7
2013 UMAC Finish: T-8th
Starters Returning: 11
Starters Lost: 11
The 2014 football team will be led by a small but experienced group of seniors. The experience the freshman received last year will play big dividends this fall, having a year under their belt of learning the systems and adapting to college football.
Offensively, there will be a great competition at quarterback. Senior Zandro Diaz will be a vital component to leading the offense for the Tigers this year. Last season, Diaz played in 10 games for the purple and white. He threw for 2,317 yards with an average of 231.7 yards per game. His efficiency for the year was 135.73. Also returning from last year is Junior, Caleb Huss. Huss played in 8 games for the Tigers and threw for 275 yards and 4 touchdown and had an efficiency of 112.86. Freshmen Alex Payne joins Iowa Wesleyan's offense from Nevada High School in Missouri. Payne was an All-District First Teamer in 2013 and an All-Southwest Missouri third team selection in 2012 and 2013. Also joining the Tigers at the quarterback position are Hayden Kujala and Tim Tribble.
The Tigers lost Ridge Hobbs and LiMichael Peeples to graduation, both were vital parts of the offense last year. The Tigers are looking to senior Raul Becerril and junior Tylor Hoyle to make an impact this year. Becerril played in 10 games last season and had 402 yards receiving for IWC. He had 2 touchdowns and averaged 40.2 yards per game last year. Freshman Tyler Wadley, Avery Mobley, D'Maury Earl, and Malquan Scott are looking to help the Tigers out in their first year. Trey Todd looks to lead the ground game, returning this year for his junior year. Last year, Todd averaged 57.4 yards per game and had 4 touchdowns. He had 574 net yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry.
Defensively, the team will be young but athletic. Sam Balbach returns as a senior defensive lineman. Balbach played in 10 games last season. He recorded 44 solo tackles and assisted in 23 others for a total of 67. At linebacker, Nate Daniels had a total of 32 tackles on the year, 19 solo and assisted in 13. Ryan Gerleman and Raul Lozano are key returners for the Tigers at defensive back. Gerleman played in 10 games last season and recorded 80 tackles for the Tigers. He had 47 solo tackles and assisted in 33 tackles. Lozano had 50 solo tackles and 23 assisted tackles in 10 games for IWC. Ten of those tackles were for a loss. The Tigers welcome of host of newcomers on the defensive side of the ball in 2014.
10. MacMurray College Highlanders
2013 Overall Record: 0-10
2013 UMAC Record: 0-9
2013 UMAC Finish: 10th
Starters Returning: 12
Starters Lost: 11
MacMurray Football is excited to begin the 2014 season. Last season saw a roster (80%) built upon only sophomores and freshmen. That type of youth can lead to mistakes and lack of confidence that can get a team beat regularly. But it is also an opportunity to build experience that develops into confidence for the future. Head Coach Chris Douglas returns 17 juniors (the most in recent history) all of which except one returns significant playing experience. Twenty-six sophomores also return, four of which are returning starters. The trend is turning to having an experienced unit hitting the field with every snap.
On the offensive side of the ball, MacMurray Football returns eight starters and three others who have started games during the 2013 season. On the offensive line, two year starter Joe Legendre anchors the line at Center. Joining Legendre at Right Guard is Michael Fernandez and De'Andre Harris. This core will provide solid experience to a position group that has been slowly but consistently developing into a strength for the Mac Offense.
The 2013 season saw a change for the future of the offense as freshman Coy Dorothy took over the starting role as QB1. As expected, it was learning on the job, but the future is bright as Dorothy enters is sophomore season with last season's leading receiver and All-Conference selection in Zach Mudd and Mac's top scoring receiver in Damon Byrd returning. At the running back position, Douglas is excited about the depth and talent at the position as Mac returns two year returning starter Patrick Hall and early season starter Dervon Francis.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Highlanders return only 4 starters but return many that played valuable minutes during the 2013 campaign. The defense as a whole will only have 3 seniors, but will return 15 lettermen. All in all, a very young group will be involved with the Mac Defense this season.
Each UMAC team will play nine conference games throughout the 2014 schedule with the conference's regular season champion moving on to the NCAA playoffs via the league's automatic qualifier.
2014 Graduate of the Greenville College Football program recently became the Director of the Simple Room here in Greenville, IL. We tracked down Coach Tyrell to ask him a few questions about his new position.