The head coaches of the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) have selected a total of 16 North Central College players to the 2013 All-CCIW Football Teams. The CCIW announced its annual selections on Tuesday.
The 16 selections matched Illinois Wesleyan University for the most representatives from any CCIW team. North Central won the outright CCIW Championship this season, tying a conference record by winning or sharing its eighth straight CCIW title.Augustana College also won eight in a row from 1981-88.
The Cardinals claimed two of the CCIW's major individual awards, as senior quarterback Spencer Stanek was selected as the Art Keller Offensive Player of the Year and senior defensive back Shane Dierking was named the Don Larson Defensive Player of the Year. North Park University's Mike Conway was voted the CCIW's Bob Reade Coach of the Year.
Stanek is the seventh North Central player to receive the CCIW's Offensive Player of the Year Award and the first since quarterback Aaron Fanthorpe '10 won three awards in a row in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Stanek is the current NCAA Division III national leader in passing efficiency (195.2) and also leads the CCIW in passing yards (2,589), passing touchdowns (32), completion percentage (.749) and total offensive yards (2,915). His 32 passing touchdowns are a North Central single-season record, and he has also run for 326 yards and six touchdowns in 2013.
The first CCIW player to earn five Player of the Week awards in the same season, Stanek established a new North Central single-game record for completion percentage by connecting on 15 of 16 passes (.938) against Millikin University on Oct. 12 and is on pace to set new career records for completion percentage (.662) and passing efficiency (166.1).
One of the captains of a defense that limited CCIW opponents to 226.6 yards and 12.6 points per game, Dierking is tied for North Central's career record in interceptions (15) and ranks sixth in punt return yards (268).
The Cardinals have claimed both CCIW Player of the Year Awards for the second time. Fanthorpe and linebacker Matt Wenger '10 claimed the awards in 2008.
After re-writing the CCIW's kicking records, senior placekicker Nick Dace has made the All-CCIW First Team for the first time. He made 41 of 44 extra-point attempts and 9 of 13 field goals in conference play this season, setting new CCIW records for extra points and total points scored by kicking (68). He also tied a CCIW single-game record with 17 points by kicking in the Cardinals' 53-14 win over Augustana on Nov. 16, and is the CCIW's all-time career leader in points scored by kicking (241), field goals (33) and extra points (139).
Dace is North Central's career record holder in points (364), field goals (48) and extra points (220) and has kicked five of the six longest field goals in the program's history, including a school-record 56-yard kick against Carthage College on Oct. 26.
Stanek was named to the All-CCIW First Team this season for the first time. He is joined on the Offensive First Team by wide receiver Peter Sorenson, tight end A.J. Thomas and offensive linemen Jace Werkheiser and Greg Whalen. Werkheiser is a three-time First Team All-CCIW pick, while Whalen is now a two-time selection.
Joining Dierking on the Defensive First Team are defensive back Connor Douglas, linebacker Nick Slezak and defensive linemen Josh Fick, John Focosi and Alex Tripp. Fick and Tripp are two-time First Team selections, while Douglas was a Second Team All-CCIW selection a year ago.
Defensive back Trey Hartema was named to the All-CCIW Second Team, as were running back Ryan Kent, wide receiver Chad O'Kane and offensive lineman Eric Knaperek. O'Kane was also a Second Team honoree in 2012.
Fourth-ranked North Central hosts Albion College (Mich.) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship on Saturday. Kickoff at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium is scheduled for 12 p.m. Links to live video, audio and in-game statistics can be accessed by clicking HERE.