The Albion College football team's perfect season in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association play warranted plenty of praise and attention this year and the coaches took notice as proved by their voting for the All-MIAA teams and awards released Monday afternoon by league publicist Greg Chandler.
Junior running back Clinton Orr claimed the conference's offensive most valuable player award, senior defensive back Chris Greenwood walked away with the defensive most valuable player honor, and fellow senior defensive back Matt Lozier received the Pete Schmidt Memorial Award, which goes to a four-year player with outstanding academic and leadership credentials.
Orr clinched his second-straight MIAA rushing title (832 yards on 132 carries in six MIAA contests) and became Albion's all-time leading rusher during the 2011 season. The Buchanan product rushed for at least 140 yards in four league contests, including a 236-yard performance against Hope College and a 200-yard day against Trine University.
National Football League scouts have been observing Greenwood closely all season long and he did not disappoint with 24 tackles and two interceptions. A graduate of Detroit's Martin Luther King High School, Greenwood returned an interception 70 yards for the game-winning score against Alma. The statistics do not speak to the impact Greenwood had on the field though, because teams were often too intimidated to throw in his direction, which is one of the main reasons he earned the award.
Off the field accolades are just as important as on field accomplishments though as proven by Lozier, who played sparingly in his senior campaign, but has turned in a 3.92 overall grade point average and completed internships at the University of Michigan's NSF biophysics research program and the Owensboro (Ky.) Cancer Research Program. A Clarklake native who prepped at Jackson's Lumen Christi High School, Lozier has been accepted to the Wayne State University School of Medicine and he has an interview scheduled with the University of Michigan School of Medicine in January.
"Albion is represented very well. You are never going to be 100 percent pleased with the results, but a lot of kids got honors they deserved," Albion Head Coach Craig Rundle said.
"For Clinton Orr and Chris Greenwood to be named MVPs on offense and defense, I think, were well deserved," Rundle added. "They both dominated at their positions. To be recognized by the league coaches is gratifying for them and for us as a program. The Pete Schmidt Award is a real special award for a student-athlete to get. Matt has been a four-year guy who has hung in there despite not playing a lot. He's been a great team guy and an awesome student. He's the type of guy you like to have in your program because he is serious about school and he loves football."
In addition to the special award winners, the Britons placed eight players on the all-MIAA first team and six on the all-MIAA second team.
Junior receiver Brian Spencer along with junior offensive lineman Eric Woods, sophomore lineman Chris Ogston, and first year tight end Tyler Kramer earned their first all-MIAA honors on offense, while Orr made the first team for the second straight season.
On defense, junior defensive tackle C.J. Carroll and senior linebacker John Lesisnki were named to the first team for the first time in their careers and Greenwood made his second appearance on the first team squad.
Junior quarterback Spencer Krauss, senior wide receiver J.C. Cruse, senior defensive end Jaocb Heinrich, along with fellow senior defensive back Derek Jackson, junior defensive back Lorenzo Reese, and sophomore linebacker Brett McCarty all made the all-MIAA second team.
Additionally, first year kicker Nick Pendell made the all-MIAA second team as a specialist.
Albion will challenge the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, champions of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, in the first round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship this Saturday.