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Indianapolis, McKendree Earn Major GLVC Football Award Winners

 

INDIANAPOLIS – Four University of Indianapolis representatives and one McKendree University standout have garnered major postseason football honors in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, it was announced by the league office Wednesday.  UIndy junior quarterback Jake Purichia was named the unanimous GLVC Offensive Player of the Year, redshirt senior kicker Brad Schickel was tabbed Special Teams Player of the Year, running back Al McKeller was voted Freshman of the Year and head coach Bob Bartolomeo was selected by his peers as Coach of the Year.  McKendree senior linebacker Austin Weltha prevented the UIndy sweep as the league coaches picked him as Defensive Player of the Year.  In addition, 73 standouts earned All-Conference accolades while another 37 were named Honorable Mention.

Purichia becomes the fourth Greyhound in the league’s six-year history to earn Offensive Player of the Year, joining wide receivers Mar’Quone Edmonds (2012) and Reece Horn (2014), as well as running back Klay Fiechter (2013).  He is also the third straight quarterback to earn the league’s top offensive honor, as McKendree’s Isaac Fisher (2015) and Southwest Baptist University’s TJ Edwards (2016) are recent recipients of the award.  In 11 overall games, the Indianapolis, Indiana native finished the regular season with 2,580 yards on 176-of-251 passing for an average of 234.5 yards per game, good for fourth in the league.  The unanimous first-team All-Conference quarterback threw for a GLVC-high 28 touchdowns and a league-low two interceptions as well.  In the regular-season finale against Notre Dame College, the four-time GLVC Offensive Player of the Week honoree passed for a career-high 348 yards and five touchdowns.  Among all NCAA Division II quarterbacks, he is first in passing efficiency (191.7), fourth in completion percentage (.701), ninth in yards per completion (14.66), and 10th in passing touchdowns.

Weltha continues the practice of McKendree boasting the league’s top defender as he becomes the second straight and third Bearcat in four years to earn Defensive Player of the Year.  Former McKendree linebacker A.J. Wentland earned the top defensive honor in 2016, while defensive lineman Lucky Baar was recognized in 2014.  Weltha, a native of Bloomington, Illinois, closed out the season with a game-high 20 tackles against Truman State, marking the second time this season that he reached the 20-tackle mark.  With his 20 stops, Weltha finished third on McKendree’s career list with 286 tackles. He also closed the year with a team-leading 128 stops, which is good for fourth place on the program’s single-season chart.  His 11.7 tackles per game ranked first in the GLVC and fifth nationally, while his 12.5 tackles for loss were eighth-best in the league.  The first-team All-GLVC linebacker owned a Conference-best five interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns, also a league high.  Both his five interceptions and three pick-sixes tied school records.

The tradition continues in Special Teams Player of the Year voting as well with Schickel becoming the fifth Greyhound in six years to be named the league’s top specialist.  Former UIndy kicker Scott Miller earned the award in 2012 and 2014, while return specialists Klay Fiechter and Reece Horn were honored in 2013 and 2015, respectively.  A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Schickel led the GLVC and ranked 20th nationally with a 78.6 field goal percentage on 11-of-14 kicking, which included a long of 45 yards that tied for the league-best this year.  He was also a perfect 54-for-54 on point-after-touchdown attempts.  A first-team All-GLVC selection at both kicker and punter, Schickel ranked third among league punters with an average of 39.2 yards per punt.  He booted two kicks of 50 yards or more and downed 19 of his 37 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

McKeller is the second Greyhound to earn Freshman of the Year as linebacker Derrick Bryant was voted as the top newcomer by the coaches in 2013.  The local product out of Indianapolis was the lone freshman to rank among the league’s top 10 rushers, as his 99.0 yards per game was third overall.  He enters the NCAA Division II Playoffs just 10 yards shy of 1,000 on the year.  He paced all GLVC running backs with an average of 6.7 yards per carry and his 11 rushing touchdowns were second-best.  McKeller stormed on to the scene in the season-opening win over then-No. 2 Grand Valley State with 206 rushing yards on 21 carries.  He finished the season just as dominant as he began it, eclipsing 100 yards rushing in four of his final five games, which included eight of his 11 touchdowns over that span.

Bartolomeo earned the respect from his peers for the fourth time in sixth years, having previously won Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013 and 2015.  Following a disappointing 2016 season, the Greyhounds were slated to finish fourth in the GLVC Preseason Poll this year and then swept the regular season slate for the first time since 1953.  UIndy (11-0, 7-0 GLVC) picked up its fifth league title, achieved a program-best No. 5 national ranking, and enters the weekend at No. 6 for its fourth NCAA Division II Playoff berth where the Greyhounds are the No. 2 seed in Super Region Three.  Bartolomeo mentored five of the six unanimous first-team All-GLVC selections in quarterback Purichia, running back McKeller, redshirt senior wideout Garrett Willis, senior tight end Alex Kimack and senior offensive lineman Ruben Holcomb.  His staff also guided another nine standouts to 10 first-team selections, including senior Jordan Bedan and freshman Clay Hadley on the offensive line, senior offensive utility star Tuwan Payton, sophomore Jacob Schmatz and junior Lucas Rice on the defensive line, junior linebacker Cole Sigmund, senior defensive back Aeneas White, senior defensive utility player Aaron Brunning, as well as Schickel at both the kicker and punter positions.  Seven Greyhounds were named to the All-GLVC Second Team, while another four earned honorable mention accolades, making for a league-best total of 26 All-Conference selections.

Thirty-five student-athletes were selected to the All-GLVC First Team, while a total of 38 honorees were named to the Second Team to include a tie at wide receiver, offensive line, and linebacker.  The standard 35-member GLVC All-Conference squad is comprised of a quarterback, three running backs, four wide receivers, one tight end, six offensive linemen, one offensive utility, one defensive utility, five defensive linemen, five linebackers, five defensive backs, a kicker, punter, and one return specialist.

In addition to UIndy’s five standouts that earned unanimous recognition on the First Team, Missouri S&T sophomore running back Deshawn Jones also garnered league-wide respect as a unanimous pick.  Jones finished the season with 1,579 rushing yards – second all-time in GLVC annals – and became the first player in GLVC history to rush for 100 or more yards against every conference opponent in a season.

The league also recognized Truman State as the winner of the GLVC James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Award for the sport of football.  In addition, eight standouts were named GLVC James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Award honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These individuals must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. The honorees are now eligible to become one of their school’s two Spalding Sportsmanship Award winners, which will be announced at the end of the academic year.

A complete list of the 2017 GLVC All-Conference honorees follows:

GLVC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:  Jake Purichia, Jr., QB, Indianapolis #
GLVC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:  Austin Weltha, Sr., LB, McKendree
GLVC SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR:  Brad Schickel, Gr., K, Indianapolis
GLVC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Al McKeller, RB, Indianapolis
GLVC COACH OF THE YEAR:  Bob Bartolomeo, Indianapolis
 

FIRST TEAM
QB – Jake Purichia, Jr., UINDY #
RB – Deshawn Jones, So.,S&T #

RB – Al McKeller, Fr., UINDY #

RB – Shayeen Edwards, Sr., MCK
WR – Garrett Willis, Gr., UINDY #

WR – Kendrick Payne, Sr., SBU

WR – Justin Vaughn, Jr., S&T

WR – Jerminic Smith, Jr., SBU
TE – Alex Kimack, Sr., UINDY #
OL – Ruben Holcomb, Sr., UINDY #

OL – Jordan Bedan, Sr., UINDY

OL – Adam Echele, Sr., S&T

OL – Clay Hadley, Fr., UINDY

OL – Matt Kaysinger, Sr., TSU

OL – Cole Foster, Jr., MCK

O-UT – Tuwan Payton, Sr., UINDY
DL – Tershawn Wharton, So., S&T

DL – Sam Reeves, So., TSU

DL – Jacob Schmatz, So., UINDY

DL – Lucas Rice, Jr., UINDY

DL – Tobias Cook, Sr., MCK
LB – Austin Weltha, Sr., MCK

LB – Cole Sigmund, Jr., UINDY

LB – Tyler Curts, Jr., SBU

LB – Quayde Bauman, Jr., WJC

LB – Cody Leonard, Jr., QU
DB – Aeneas White, Sr., UINDY

DB – Roderick Chapman, Jr., S&T

DB – Cory Hanger, Jr., SBU

DB – Nate Powell, Sr., MCK

DB – Jordan Brown, Sr., TSU

D-UT – Aaron Brunning, Sr., UINDY
K – Brad Schickel, Gr., UINDY
P – Brad Schickel, Gr., UINDY
PR/KR – Malique Robbins, Jr., TSU

# Unanimous Selection
* Extra member due to tie

SECOND TEAM 
QB – TJ Edwards, Jr., SBU
RB – Jordan Salima, So., TSU

RB – Andrew Walker, Gr., UINDY

RB – Trejuan Mask, Sr., WJC

*WR – Jalyn Williams, Jr., MCK

*WR – Malik Higgins, Jr., UINDY

*WR – Blake Tibbs, Jr., LU

*WR – Logan Armontrout, So., S&T

*WR – Braxton Graham, Jr., S&T
TE – Owen Schoenenberger, Sr., QU
*OL – Josh Elam, So., S&T

*OL – Justin Rosendahl, So., QU

*OL – Jake King, Jr., MCK

*OL – Dan McHale, So., UINDY

*OL – Ryan Becker, Jr., SBU

*OL – Skylar Lacy, Gr., UINDY

*OL – Cade Cumbie, Fr., WJC

O-UT – Jacob Morris, Fr., TSU
DL – De’shawn Tone, So., SBU

DL – Dillon Dallas, Sr., UINDY

DL – Darion Simmons, Sr., MCK

DL – Isaiah Gray, Jr., LU

DL – Matt Mata’u, Sr., S&T
*LB – Landon Compton, Jr., S&T

*LB – Joe Lambright, So., UINDY

*LB – Kyle Kirpatrick, Sr., MCK

*LB – Willard Cotton, Sr., LU

*LB – Austin Truvillion, Sr., S&T

*LB – Justin Mikeworth, Jr., TSU

DB – Blake Benoist, So., MCK

DB – Adehkeem Brown, Sr., QU

DB – Mike Hamilton, Gr., UINDY

DB – Bo Brooks, Jr., S&T

DB – Aaron Brown, Sr., LU

D-UT – Anthony (TJ) Daniels, Jr., QU
K – Ben Styron, So., S&T
P – Nathan Kewney, So., QU
PR/KR – Kendrick Payne, Sr., SBU

HONORABLE MENTION 
QB – Reece Metcalf, Jr., MCK

QB – Tyler Swart, Sr., S&T

QB – Brad Strauss, Sr., WJC

WR – Kody Wood, Sr., QU

WR – Josh Brown, Fr., S&T

WR – Aaron Matio, Fr., UINDY

WR – Josh Revay, Jr., MCK

WR – Chris Robb, Sr., SBU

TE – C.J. Brown, Jr., TSU

TE – Austin Griffin, So.,S&T

O-UT – Bulla Graft, Jr., WJC

O-UT – Connor Still, Sr., SBU

OL – Austin Holmes, OL, S&T

OL – Devon Hickman, Jr., OL, QU

OL – Jared Carlton, Sr., OL, QU

OL – Sammy Zeqiraj, Sr., OL, SBU

OL – Brayden Byrd, Jr., OL, SBU

DL – Isaiah Hinton, Sr., TSU

DL – Julian Shade, Sr., SBU

DL – Rondell Weathers, So., UINDY

DL – Joe Boettcher, So., S&T

DL – Kier Stamp, Jr., WJC

DL – Marquis Cherry, Sr., MCK

DL – Victor Clavier, Sr., SBU

LB – Addison Tucker, Sr., LU

LB – Bryan Edwards, So., TSU

LB – Brycen Gagnon, Sr., SBU

LB – Ricco Gipson, So., MCK

LB – Bret Curtis, Sr., S&T

LB – Nate Rueckemann, Sr., QU

DB – Justice Taylor, Jr., WJC

DB – Quinlan Gaines, Sr., SBU

DB – Martece McClinton, Sr., UINDY

DB – Jordan Osborne, Sr., MCK

P – Monte Wolke, So., P, MCK

PR/KR – Derrick Curry, Sr., MCK

PR/KR – Tuwan Payton, Sr., UINDY

2017 JAMES R. SPALDING SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD NOMINEES

Jake Purichia, UINDY

Willard Cotton, LU

Brenden Fred, MCK

Landon Compton, S&T

Nate Rueckemann, QU

Chris Robb, SBU

Jaden Barr, TSU

Brad Strauss, WJC

 

2017 FOOTBALL JAMES R. SPALDING SPORTSMANSHIP TEAM AWARD: Truman State