2008 Football All-Conference Teams Announced

2008 Football All-Conference Teams Announced

Trinity Tandem of McGrath, Berry Earn Top Honors

HADLEY, Mass. - Trinity seniors Eric McGrath (Lynn, Mass.) and Tyler Berry (East Lyme, Conn.) have been named the 2008 NESCAC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, as determined by the conference coaches. McGrath is the first Bantam to earn Offensive honors since Tom Pierandi did so in 2003, while Berry is the third Trinity player in the past five years to claim the conference’s Defensive award. The duo helped the Bantams to their 11th perfect season in program history along with their fifth league title in the past seven seasons.

McGrath, who also earned a spot on the All-Conference First Team Offense, was among the conference leaders at quarterback this season, tossing a league-best 16 touchdowns and averaging 275.8 yards per game through the air while completing 57.8-percent of his passes. McGrath broke the NESCAC record for total passing yards this fall, accumulating 2,206 yards over eight games. The three-year starter posted a pass efficiency rating of 134.4, second among all conference quarterbacks this season.

Berry recorded 75 tackles (43 solo) at linebacker to lead the Bantams and rank fourth among all conference players, averaging 9.4 per game. He also posted eight tackles for a loss of 38 yards, four sacks for a loss of 25 yards, two interceptions and three pass break-ups. Berry was also named to the All-NESCAC First Team Defense. The Trinity defense tied with Williams by allowing a league-low 17.5 points per game this season.

Running backs on the 2008 NESCAC All-Conference First Team Offense included Tufts senior Will Forde, Williams senior Brian Morrissey, and Trinity junior Oliver Starnes. Forde was second in the NESCAC in rushing this fall, averaging 100.9 yards per game and 4.4 per carry while scoring seven touchdowns. Morrissey, who earned All-NESCAC First Team honors for the second year in a row, scored 11 touchdowns and led the conference in rushing with 995 total yards, an average of 124.4 per game and 4.4 per carry. Morrissey broke the Ephs’ Division III record for career rushing yards this season. Starnes was right behind Morrissey and Forde, averaging 87.6 yards per game and a NESCAC-best 5.2 yards per carry while reaching the end zone nine times. Joining the trio in the backfield at fullback was Tufts senior Kevin Anderson. Anderson found a spot on the First Team for the third-straight year as he averaged 15.9 yards per game and scored one touchdown.

The First Team offensive line consisted of five seniors and one sophomore. Williams senior John Szawlowski was selected as part of the First Team Offense for the third consecutive year, as he was part of an Eph offense that ranked first in the conference in rushing at 152.4 yards per contest. The Amherst tandem of Tim Rose and Justin Wiley both received First Team accolades for the first time in their careers. Wiley, a Second Team honoree in 2007, and Rose provided strong support for a Lord Jeffs squad that allowed only five sacks in eight games. Also finding a spot on the First Team for the first time were senior Chris Cozza and sophomore Matt Santora of Trinity and Middlebury senior Brendan Kelly. The Panthers were first in the NESCAC in total offense in 2008, averaging 445.4 yards, while the Bantams were second at 422.4.

Middlebury senior wide receiver Andrew Matson was again named to the First Team after leading the conference in multiple statistical categories, including receiving yards per game (110.4) and receptions per game (6.5). Matson scored eight touchdowns, averaged 17.0 yards per catch, and had a long reception of 65 yards this season. Moving up from last year’s Second Team to this year’s First Team was Tufts senior David Halas. Halas averaged nearly 75 yards per game and 16 per catch, hauling down a conference-high 11 touchdowns. Joining them was Trinity senior Connor Wells, as he recorded 89.4 yards per game and four touchdowns. At tight end, Middlebury senior Charles Holm rounds out the All-NESCAC First Team Offense. Holm caught 26 passes and averaged 30.1 yards per game as an option for the Panther offense.

On defense, all five linemen came away with First Team recognition for the first time. Amherst juniors Eric Pender and Edwin Urey were part of a unit that led the conference in run defense, allowing 60.9 yards per game and only six rushing touchdowns. Pender had 48 tackles (26 solo) and five sacks for a combined loss of 36 yards while Urey recorded 33 stops (17 solo) along with five sacks for a loss of 31 and two pass break-ups. Seniors Charlie Birns of Williams and Sam Handler of Colby both had stellar senior seasons for their teams. Birns led the NESCAC in sacks with eight, an average of one per game, for a total loss of 57 yards. He also contributed 36 tackles, two interceptions and eight pass break-ups to a defense that tied for first in points allowed. Handler had a league-best three forced fumbles along with a blocked kick, six quarterback hurries, and 30 tackles, nine for a loss of 49 yards and 5.5 sacks. Tufts lineman Donnie Simmons became the first freshman in at least 25 years to win the conference’s Rookie of the Year award and be named All-NESCAC First Team. Simmons recorded 40 tackles (24 solo) with 7.5 for a loss, 2.5 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, and a blocked kick.

Along with Trinity’s Berry at linebacker were seniors Guy Matisis from Amherst, Trevor Powers from Williams, and Tyson Reynoso from Tufts, all of whom earned All-NESCAC honors a year ago. A First Team member in 2007, Matisis had 41 tackles for the Lord Jeffs, including 4.5 sacks for a loss of 29 yards. Powers, also a First Team Defense selection a year ago, not only led the Ephs in tackles with 68 (42 solo) but was also among the league leaders, ranking seventh by averaging 8.5 per game. Of his 68 tackles, nine were for a loss of 29 yards and two were sacks. Reynoso was elevated from the 2007 Second Team as he posted a team-high 73 tackles (43 solo) and averaged 9.1 per contest, fifth in the NESCAC. He also had four tackles for a loss, three pass break-ups and an interception.

Rounding out the All-NESCAC First Team Defense were five defensive backs from five different teams. Tufts junior Tom Tassinari garnered First Team honors for the second-straight year, picking five passes and returning them a combined 127 yards, including one touchdown. He also had four pass break-ups and was third for the Jumbos in tackling with 50 stops (33 solo). A Second Team member last autumn, Amherst senior A.J. Scola had 40 tackles (28 solo), four pass break-ups and an interception. The remaining three defensive backs on the First Team all ranked second on their teams in tackles. Williams senior Tim Batty recorded 44 stops (38 solo) along with five pass break-ups and three interceptions. Trinity senior Conor Quinn netted 47 tackles (33 solo) and added in two interceptions and four pass break-ups. Bates junior Kyle McAllister posted 60 tackles (36 solo), three interceptions which he returned for 76 yards, four fumble recoveries returned 41 yards, and three pass break-ups.

The specialists on the 2008 NESCAC All-Conference First Team were Williams junior Scott Sobolewski, Wesleyan senior Chris Helsel, and Middlebury junior Jamie Millard. Sobolewski was 21-for-22 in PAT attempts and 4-for-8 in field goal attempts. Helsel averaged a league-leading 38.2 yards per punt over 46 punts with a long of 71 yards and 13 landing inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. He was also 15-for-15 in PAT attempts. A Second Team selection in 2007, Millard averaged 20.1 yards per kick return and 7.0 yards per punt return, racking up a NESCAC-best 1,267 all-purpose yards, nearly 160 yards per contest.

NESCAC Coach of the Year went to Trinity’s Jeff Devanney. In his third season at the helm, Devanney guided the Bantams to their 11th perfect season in program history along with their fifth NESCAC title in the last seven years. It is the first time Devanney, a 1993 graduate of Trinity, has earned NESCAC honors.



  First Team Offense      
QB Eric McGrath Trinity Sr. Lynn, Mass.
RB Will Forde Tufts Sr. Hyde Park, Mass.
RB Brian Morrissey Williams Sr. Winchester, Mass.
RB Oliver Starnes Trinity Jr. Ledgewood, N.J.
FB Kevin Anderson Tufts Sr. Hopkinton, Mass.
OL Chris Cozza Trinity Sr. Westbrook, Conn.
OL Brendan Kelly Middlebury Sr. Niskayuna, N.Y.
OL Tim Rose Amherst Sr. Richmond, Va.
OL Matt Santora Trinity So. Westport, Conn.
OL John Szawlowski Williams Sr. Hatfield, Mass.
OL Justin Wiley Amherst Sr. Baltimore, Md.
WR David Halas Tufts Sr. Southbury, Conn.
WR Andrew Matson Middlebury Sr. Coventry, R.I.
WR Connor Wells Trinity Sr. Haddam, Conn.
TE Charles Holm Middlebury Sr. Longmeadow, Mass.
  First Team Defense      
DL Charlie Birns Williams Sr. Scarsdale, N.Y.
DL Sam Handler Colby Sr. Beverly Hills, Calif.
DL Eric Pender Amherst Jr. Drexel Hill, Pa.
DL Donnie Simmons Tufts Fr. Houston, Texas
DL Edwin Urey Amherst Jr. Quincy, Mass.
LB Tyler Berry Trinity Sr. East Lyme, Conn.
LB Guy Matisis Amherst Sr. Hingham, Mass.
LB Tyson Reynoso Tufts Sr. Bellevue, Idaho
LB Trevor Powers Williams Sr. Danvers, Mass.
DB Tim Batty Williams Sr. Chenango Bridge, N.Y.
DB Kyle McAllister Bates Jr. Exeter, N.H.
DB Conor Quinn Trinity Sr. Milford, Mass.
DB A.J. Scola Amherst Sr. Holden, Mass.
DB Tom Tassinari Tufts Jr. Andover, Mass.
  First Team Specialists      
PK Scott Sobolewski Williams Jr. Clifton Park, N.Y.
P Chris Helsel Wesleyan Sr. Ridgewood, N.J.
RS James Millard Middlebury Jr. Greenwich, Conn.
  Second Team Offense      
QB Donald McKillop Middlebury So. Poway, Calif.
RB Aaron Rauh Amherst Jr. Hudson, Ohio
FB Austin Norris Williams Sr. Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.
OL Blake Berman Middlebury Sr. Harwinton, Conn.
OL Ben Larkins Bowdoin Sr. Acton, Mass.
OL Henry Szawlowski Williams Sr. Hatfield, Mass.
OL Ray Wang Bowdoin Sr. Sherborn, Mass.
OL Adam Wueger Tufts Jr. Marietta, Ga.
WR Mike Galligan Trinity So. Shoreham, N.Y.
WR Ryan Powell Williams Sr. Fairfax, N.J.
Brandon Bullock Amherst Jr. West Orange, N.J.
TE Max Cassidy Tufts Sr. New Fairfield, Conn.
TE Andrew McDowell
Trinity  Sr.  Bethesda, Md.
  Second Team Defense      
DL Kevin Bird Colby Sr. Dover, N.H.
DL Damon Hall-Jones Bowdoin Sr. Milton, Mass.
DL Taylor Soobitsky Hamilton Sr. Simsbury, Conn.
DL Peter Sugarbaker Wesleyan Jr. Milton, Mass.
DL Devin McLoughlin Williams Sr. Bedford, N.Y.
DL Kyle Williams Trinity Jr. Bethesda, Md.
LB Matt Allen Trinity So. Agoura Hills, Calif.
LB Eric Kamback Middlebury Jr. Mahwah, N.J.
LB John Lawrence Hamilton Jr. Baldwinsville, N.Y.
LB Ben Sherry Trinity So. Wayland, Mass.
LB Kevin Zikaras Bowdoin Jr. Milford, Conn.
DB Tom Daley Colby Sr. North Bridgton, Maine
DB Ikenna Iheoma Williams Jr. Holland, Pa.
DB Tyler Owens Middlebury Sr. Essex Junction, Vt.
DB Alex Perry Tufts Jr. Danvers, Mass.
DB Harryl Smith Trinity Sr. Ridgewood, N.J.
  Second Team Specialists      
PK Adam Cox Trinity Sr. Garden City, N.Y.
P Nolan McNair Bowdoin Sr. Oak Park, Calif.
RS Bill Jennings Bates Jr. Marshfield, Mass.
  Offensive Player of the Year      
Eric McGrath
Lynn, Mass.
  Defensive Player of the Year      
LB Tyler Berry
Sr. East Lyme, Conn.
  Rookie of the Year      
DL Donnie Simmons
Tufts Fr. Houston, Texas
  Coach of the Year      
  Jeff Devanney