GREENWOOD, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference released its 2010 Football All-HCAC Team on Wednesday, with 13 Yellow Jackets garnering an all-conference nod. Kyle Longsdorf was voted the HCAC Defensive Most Valuable Player and Tom Foos claimed the HCAC Special Teams MVP to lead the way for Defiance.
The HCAC awards capped a successful 2010 campaign, as the Purple and Gold posted a 6-4 overall mark and ended second in the conference with a 6-2 clip. The Jackets closed the year with wins in five of their last six games and the second place showing was the best for the program since 2005.
The team success was fueled by an improved offense that averaged 25.2 points per game for DC's best scoring average since 2001. The Jackets were also anchored by a traditionally strong defensive unit that ranked second in the league in scoring defense (15.2), total defense (284.5), rushing defense (119.1), pass efficiency defense (91.0) and sacks (22) during eight league contests.
Defiance saw five student-athletes repeat as All-HCAC performers, while eight earned the honor for the first time in their career. The Jackets placed Longsdorf and Foos on the All-HCAC First-Team, along with Andy Cessna, Brian Baumgart, Ryan Black, Joemese Scott, Austin Hedderly, Hunter Robertson and Anthony Sierra. DC rounded out its accolades by placing Rick Powell, Drew Kuesel, Pat McDonald and Robbie Lakes on the All-HCAC Second-Team.
Longsdorf led all NCAA Division III defensive backs with 139 tackles during the regular season, while also topping all HCAC defenders and ranking fourth among all D-III players in that statistic. The senior free safety racked up at least 12 hits in eight-of-10 games and led the Jackets in tackles in all but two games, along with ranking fifth in the league with four interceptions, ninth with five sacks and 14th with eight passes defended. The lofty stat totals resulted in a third-straight All-HCAC nod for Longsdorf, and led the way to being named as the HCAC's Defensive Player of the Week four different times during the 2010 campaign and becoming a two-time member of the D3football.com National Team of the Week.
Foos also bagged an All-HCAC award for the third year in a row, earning First-Team All-HCAC honors as a kicker and Second-Team All-HCAC status as a punter during his senior season. The special teams ace tied a Defiance College single-season record with eight made field goals in 2010, while ranking third in the conference among all kickers with 47 points scored. Foos also excelled as the DC punter, where he ranked third in the league and 33rd in the nation with 38.2 yards per boot, set a DC single-game record with a 70-yard punt, landed 19 of his 56 attempts inside the 20-yard line and became the program's all-time leader in career punts with 237. Foos was a three-time HCAC Special Teams Player of the Week in 2010 and a two-time Fred Mitchell Award Recipient.
Cessna played in all 10 games for Defiance in 2010 and set new career highs with 14 receptions for 126 total yards and a pair of receiving touchdowns. The First-Team All-HCAC selection is the first all-league award for the junior tight end. Along with serving as one of DC's top receiving threats, Cessna helped power a rushing attack that churned out the second and third leading rushers in the HCAC.
Baumgart and Black were each named First-Team All-HCAC for their first all-conference nods of their careers. Baumgart anchored the offensive line at the left tackle slot as the lone starting senior on offense, while Black converted from tight end to handle the center position during his junior season. The duo powered an offensive line that helped Defiance lead the HCAC with 218.8 rushing yards per outing and yielded an HCAC low of six sacks.
The Jackets also placed a pair of athletes from the defensive line as First-Team All-HCAC standouts, as junior end Joemese Scott scored his first all-conference accolade and senior tackle Austin Hedderly earned his second-straight First-Team All-HCAC honor and the third all-conference award of his career. Scott and Hedderly ranked first and second in the conference with 10 and eight sacks respectively, helped the Jackets post an HCAC-best 30 tackles in 10 games and each were selected once to the D3football.com National Team of the Week. Scott set career highs with 47 stops, 12 hits for lost yardage and ranked 34th in the nation with the 10 sacks. Hedderly also started all 10 games and piled up 44 tackles, while setting career highs with 10.5 hits for negative yardage and eight sacks.
Robertson garnered First-Team All-HCAC status for his first all-conference notice, after ranking second among all Yellow Jackets with 75 tackles. The sophomore middle linebacker's total ranked him 12th in the HCAC with 7.5 stops per contest and were good for a new career best. Robertson also added 4.5 tackles for a loss, one interception, two passes broken up and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Sierra was named First-Team All-HCAC for the second time in as many seasons, as the sophomore defensive back split time between the cornerback and strong safety positions. Sierra set new career highs with 38 tackles and 4.5 hits, ranked 14th in the HCAC with eight passes defended and added two interceptions during his 10 starts. Sierra also excelled in the return game, leading the league and ranking 36th in the nation with 11.0 yards per punt return.
Powell ranked fifth in the nation among all NCAA Division III quarterbacks with 99.8 rushing yards per game en route to being voted as a Second-Team All-HCAC signal caller for the second year in a row. The junior was a two-time HCAC Offensive Player of the Week and ended with 1,257 yards and eight touchdowns through the air, to go with 998 yards and 10 scores on the ground. Powell ended second in the HCAC in rushing yards per game and third with 225.5 total yards of offense per contest.
Kuesel fueled the Yellow Jackets with 87.8 rushing yards per game, before missing the final two contests with an injury. The junior's Second-Team All-HCAC nod was his first such honor, after setting new career highs with 702 yards and six scores on the ground. Kuesel ranked third in the league and 76th in the nation in rushing yards per game and earned one HCAC Offensive Player of the Week award.
A pair of linebackers also made the All-HCAC squad for the first time, as freshman Pat McDonald and senior Robbie Lakes were named Second-Team All-HCAC from their outside linebacker positions. McDonald ranked third on the Jackets with 50 tackles and nine tackles for lost yardage. The rookie playmaker also ranked 15th in the HCAC with four sacks and earned one D3football.com National Team-of-the-Week honor. Lakes turned in his finest season with Defiance, ranking fourth on the team with 47 tackles and adding 5.5 hits for lost yardage and a trio of sacks.
Nine of DC's 13 All-HCAC performers are set to return for the 2011 season, as the Jackets look to contend for the HCAC Championship behind the strength of a projected 18 returning starters.