WAUKESHA, Wis. - The Northern Athletics Conference has released its 2011 all-conference awards for football and Benedictine, who earned a share of its second consecutive conference crown, has 16 individuals represented.
John Borsellino was named as the Northern Athletics Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Borsellino set a new single season school record for rushing this year, amassing over 1,200 yards in surpassing a mark that has stood since 1973. Just under 1,000 of his yards came in the seven conference games. Borsellino also tallied a school record 22 touchdowns (17 rushing, four receiving, one kickoff return) and carried the ball a school record for carries with 234. The Oak Brook native also stands third on the team in receiving with 25 cacthes for 272 yards. In addition to the Offensive Player of the Year honors, Borsellino was named First Team All-Conference as both a running back and a returner. Just a junior, Borsellino has ranked among the national leaders in rushing, total offense, and scoring.
Ben Lockton shared Defensive Player of the Year honors with Maranatha's Ethan Lane. Lockton, a first year player at Benedictine, ranks third on the the team with 87 tackles. Among the 87 stops are 25 for loss, which lead the conference and have been listed near the top of the national leaderboard all season. Lockton also leads the team and conference with 5.5 sacks and was named to the First Team All-Northern Athletics Conference defense.
Head Coach Jon Cooper, in his seventh season at the helm, shared Conference Coach of the Year honors with Concordia Chicago's Lonnie Pries. Cooper, who led the Eagles to a 6-1 conference record this season, stands two victories away from tying the Benedictine record for career coaching wins.
Two other individuals represented the offense on the First Team as senior offensive tackle Kevin Novacich and junior guard Pat Sterk were honored. Defensively Matt McWilliams, who picked off three passes in last week's loss to Wisconsin Lutheran and led the team with five picks this year, joined Lockton on the first team. Punter Billy Dixon, who led the conference in punting and four times was chosen as the Northern Athletics Conference Special Teams Player of the Week, received a first team special teams nod.
Quarterback Matt Brown led five offensive players on the Second Team. Brown has thrown for 1,819 yards this year with 17 touchdowns. Fullback John Alessi, who sits second on the team in rushing, also earned a second team nod along with receiver Brandin Austin, who owns eight touchdown catches. Sophomore guard Ed Bonacela joined the second team in addition to senior tight end Bryan Wiesemann.
Chris Buonavolanto, the team's leader in tackles with 89, and cornerback Andrew Taylor, who has returned two interceptions for touchdowns, were named to the second team defense.
Junior wideout Chris Schultz received honorable mention status on offense. Schultz has snared five touchdowns and sits just under 600 yards receiving on the season. Trent Altieri and Mike Theriault were named honorable mention on defense. Junior safety Erik Rickert finished out the honors by being named to the All-Sportsmanship Team.
The Eagles (7-3) make their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III Playoffs on Saturday against #2 Mount Union (10-0). Kickoff is at 11:00 a.m. CST and the game can be heard live.
FULL NORTHERN ATHLETICS CONFERENCE ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS