|Monmouth College's second straight Midwest Conference title and unbeaten regular season gained coach Steve Bell, quarterback Alex Tanney (Lexington, Ill./Lexington) and defensive end Anthony Goranson (Bartlett, Ill./Belvidere) the Coach and Players of the Year honors.
Bell earned the Coach of the Year honor for the second consecutive season and fourth time overall. His 78-25 career record ties him with Bill Reichow as the winningest football coach in Fighting Scots' history. His teams have compiled a 21-1 record over the last two seasons.
Tanney repeated as the league's Offensive Player of the Year and picked up his third all-conference selection. His 3,495 passing yards leads Division III, and he has set career records at Monmouth with 116 touchdown passes and 9,797 yards. The junior's 451 yards against Knox in the regular season finale broke his own single-game record for the second week in a row.
Goranson, the Fighting Scots' leader in tackles for loss (19) and sacks (7.5), earned the Defensive Player of the Year honor and was named all-conference for the fourth time. The senior defensive end is just 1.5 sacks shy of the career mark of 34 set by Greg Bennett from 1987-90.
In all, a school-record 22 players were selected all-conference in a vote of the league's coaches. Monmouth, ranked No. 8 in the D3football.com and American Football Coaches Association polls will host St. Thomas (Minn.), which is ranked as high as No. 10, in the first round of the Division III playoffs Saturday at Monmouth's April Zorn Memorial Stadium.
Joining Tanney on the first team offensive unit were junior wide receiver Matt Shepherd (Leesburg, Fla./Leesburg), and four seniors: running back Clay Bricker (Avon, Ill./Bushnell-Prairie City), kicker Kyle Tuor (Peoria, Ill./Dunlap) and offensive linemen Josh Kotecki (Peru, Ill./LaSalle Peru) and Dan Scwhindenhammer (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame).
Shepherd and Bricker each earned their second all-league honor. Shepherd leads the team with 90 catches for 948 yards, averaging nearly 95 yards per game. His nine receiving TDs ranks him second among the Scots' receivers. Bricker rushed for 756 yards in the regular season. He averaged 80 yards per game and six yards per carry. His 72 points ranks him second on the team in scoring.
Tuor was named all-conference for the first time. He set the Scots' consecutive PAT record this season, making 50 straight. He was 7-of-9 on field goal attempts and his 80 points leads Monmouth's scoring.
Kotecki picked up his third all-conference honor and Schwindenhammer earned his second. The pair anchor an offensive line that has helped the Scots score 47.7 points and gain 541.6 yards per game, ranking the team second in Division III in both categories. The line has opened enough holes for two backs to gain more than 700 yards each and provided enough pass protection for Tanney to complete 70 percent of his passes.
Four players joined Goranson on the defensive first team. Seniors Sean Wells (Heyworth, Ill./Heyworth) and special teams player Steve Zidow (Peru, Ill./LaSalle-Peru), along with junior defensive lineman Peyton Lumzy (Dixon, Ill./Dixon) earned their second all-league honor. Sophomore linebacker Adam Hoste (Colona, Ill./Geneseo) was designated all-conference for the first time. The defensive unit held opponents to just 94.5 rushing yards and 9.4 points per game. The Scots are ranked No. 2 in Division III in turnover margin.
Wells is the team's fifth-leading tackler (51). His five pass breakups are tied for the team lead and he made three tackles for loss from his safety position.
Zidow does double duty on the kicking units and as a receiver on offense, where he has 23 catches for 304 yards, including a 54-yard catch and run.
Lumzy has helped the Monmouth defense disrupt opposing teams' offensive plans. His 44 tackles are second among linemen behind Goranson. He has seven tackles for loss and one interception.
Hoste leads the Scots' defense with 74 tackles. He's also been in the backfield, making 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He is tied for the team with three forced fumbles.
Second team offensive honors went to senior linemen Nick Hoffman (Moline, Ill./Moline), who was named all-conference for the second time, and Seth Hill (Jacksonville, Ill./Jacksonville). Junior wide receiver Mike Blodgett (Appleton, Wis./North) earned his second all-league award and sophomore running back Caleb Pratt (Danville, Ill./Westville) picked up his first.
The second team defensive unit included senior lineman Marc Wozniak (Petersburg, Ill./PORTA) and sophomore defensive back Eric Weber (Mendota, Ill./Mendota). It was the first all-conference selection for the pair.
Honorable mention defensive selections included senior defensive lineman Nick Leffler (Virginia Beach, Va.), and linebackers Marcus Ruff (Avon, Ill./Bushnell-Prairie City), a junior, and Cory Bishop (Lewistown, Ill./Lewistown), a sophomore. It was Leffler's second All-MWC honor.
Senior wide receivers Kyle Wantland (Fisher, Ill./Fisher) and Nick Wright (Canton, Ill./Canton) were named honorable mention all-conference for the first time.
(Monmouth College Athletics)