Middlebury’s McKillop, Amherst’s Taylor Named Players of the Year
HADLEY, Mass. – Middlebury junior QB Donald McKillop (Poway, Calif.) and Amherst senior LB Mike Taylor (Evanston, Ill.) have been selected by the conference coaches as the 2009 NESCAC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively. McKillop is the first Panther player to receive top offensive honors since running back Bryan Sanchez in 2000, while Taylor becomes the first member of the Lord Jeffs to garner defensive recognition since lineman Pat McGee in 2001.
In only his third year with the Panthers, McKillop re-wrote the career record books for passing at Middlebury, as he not only led the NESCAC in passing but also established new single-season school and league marks as well. McKillop completed just under 65-percent of his attempts this fall with an average of 359.1 yards per game and an efficiency rating of 136.77. The 2007 Rookie of the Year finished the season with 262 completions on 405 attempts, 2,873 passing yards, 22 touchdown passes, and 2,967 yards of total offense, all conference records. He also added two rushing touchdowns to his totals. In addition to being named Offensive Player of the Year, McKillop was also chosen as a member of the All-NESCAC First Team Offense a year after he earned Second Team honors.
A big part of the conference’s top defense, Taylor and the Lord Jeffs allowed a league-low 10.4 points per game, 50.9 rushing yards per game, and surrendered only three rushing touchdowns. Taylor was second among his counterparts in the NESCAC in tackles with a career-best 89 (47 solo), averaging 11.1 per outing. He also contributed 11.0 tackles for a combined loss of 40 yards, four sacks for a total of 25 yards, five pass break-ups, three forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Taylor earned All-NESCAC First Team Defense for the first time during his tenure at Amherst as well.
In the backfield on the All-Conference First Team Offense were Trinity senior Oliver Starnes and Williams junior Ryan Lupo at running back along with Tufts senior Noah Hatfield-Biondo at fullback. Starnes, who was chosen as a member of the First Team for the second year in a row, was second in the NESCAC in rushing, averaging 98.1 yards per game and 4.0 yards per carry, and also scored eight touchdowns on the ground. The primary man in the backfield for the Ephs, Lupo paced the conference’s top rushing offense with a league-best 107.1 yards per game for a total of 857 yards. He recorded more touchdowns than any other player this season by scoring nine of Williams’ 17 rushing touchdowns. Hatfield-Biondo appeared in seven games for the Jumbos as a multi-purpose back, averaging 1.3 yards on the ground and 10.1 receiving yards. He caught two touchdown passes and ran in for a third score.
Representatives from five different teams made up the five offensive line spots on the First Team. Returning from last year’s First Team Offense was junior Matt Santora of Trinity, as the Bantams boasted the best red zone offense in the conference, converting on 27-of-31 attempts (.871). Tufts senior Adam Wueger moved up from the 2008 Second Team to this year’s First Team. Amherst senior Wyatt Moss received All-NESCAC honors for the first time in his career as part of a front line that allowed a league-low eight sacks. Senior Matt Fait of Colby and Kevin Rose of Williams joined Moss as being first-time honorees. The Ephs tied with Middlebury for the highest-scoring offense in the conference, averaging 29.9 points per game, and were also tops in rushing, gaining just over 160 yards per game on the ground. The Mules were not far behind in rushing, ranking third in the NESCAC with a 113.2 yard average.
The receiving corps on the First Team was made up of seniors Nick Caro of Williams and James Millard of Middlebury along with Bowdoin sophomore Patrick Noone. Limited to just six games this season, Caro averaged 15.0 yards per catch and 67.7 yards per game, scoring five touchdowns. Millard was second only to Noone among conference players in both receptions (64) and yards (748), as he had 8.0 receptions per game and 93.5 receiving yards per game. He also claimed All-NESCAC Specialist honors for the third consecutive year (2007 Second Team, 2008 First Team), recording 328 yards on kick returns and 111 yards on punt returns. Noone had a breakout sophomore campaign for the Polar Bears, as he set or tied five different program records and broke the single-season conference record for receptions with 76 catches. Noone racked up 997 receiving yards, second all-time in the NESCAC, with a program-best seven touchdowns and a league-high 124.6 yards per outing. Bates senior tight end Sean Wirth rounded out the All-NESCAC First Team Offense. Wirth posted a career-high average of 49.1 yards per game along with 9.8 yards per reception. An excellent blocker for the Bobcats, Wirth added in his sixth career touchdown reception this season.
On the All-NESCAC First Team Defense, seniors Eric Pender and Edwin Urey of Amherst were back for a second tour in as many years. The duo helped the Lord Jeffs post the league’s best rushing defense, allowing only 50.9 yards on the ground per game and 1.5 yards per attempt. In addition, the Amherst defense had 38 sacks (1st NESCAC) and permitted only 13 of 25 incursions into the red zone to be successful (2nd). Pender had 38 tackles (21 solo) with 6.5 tackles for a loss of 33 yards, 5.0 sacks, three pass break-ups, and one fumble recovery. Urey led his squad and was second in the conference with 13 tackles for a combined loss of 79 yards and 8.0 sacks. He made 33 total stops this season (21 solo). A Second Team member in 2008, Wesleyan senior Peter Sugarbaker joined the First Team Defense in 2009. Sugarbaker recorded 38 tackles (22 solo) with 8.0 TFL of 40 yards, five sacks for 36 yards, three pass break-ups, and a forced fumble. Bowdoin senior Laurence Duggan finished the season as the NESCAC leader in sacks with nine for 52 yards. He also made 50 stops (35 solo), 10.5 tackles for a loss of 57 yards, two quarterback hurries, a break-up, and a fumble recovery. Sophomore Colin Curzi of Williams was the final lineman on the First Team. Curzi recorded 22 tackles (14 solo) with 5.0 TFL of 21 yards, two sacks, and two pass break-ups. Curzi and the rest of the Ephs were tops in third down defense, as opponents only converted 26.2-percent of their opportunities (33-for-126).
Along with Amherst’s Taylor at linebacker were Hamilton senior John Lawrence, Williams junior Dylan Schultz, and Trinity sophomore Walter Fallas, all of whom led their respective squads in tackling. Lawrence, who earned Second Team honors a year ago, had a career-best 63 tackles this season (38 solo) with 5.5 tackles for a loss of 26 yards, 2.0 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, and four pass break-ups in only six games. Schultz made 61 stops (37 solo) which included 9.5 tackles for a loss of 29 yards, 3.0 sacks, and a pass break-up. Fallas tied with Lawrence for third among conference players in tackles per game (10.5) with an impressive 84 tackles (44 solo). Of his 84 stops, 7.0 were for a loss of 23 yards. He also recorded a sack, an interception, two pass break-ups, a quarterback hurry, and a fumble recovery.
Tufts senior defensive back Tom Tassinari earned First Team Defense for the third time in his career, the only player on this year’s squad to do so. Tassinari recorded a personal-best 57 tackles (37 solo) with four pass break-ups and a quarterback hurry. Joining Tassinari from the 2008 First Team was Bates’ Kyle McAllister. The senior defensive back made 36 tackles (24 solo) to go along with an interception, a fumble recovery, and three pass break-ups. Rounding out the First Team Defense were seniors Fred Argir of Amherst and Matt Zanedis of Williams. Argir intercepted a conference-best six passes in 2009, as the Jeffs led the league in turnovers with a plus-9 margin. Argir also had eight pass break-ups and 57 tackles (32 solo). Zanedis returned a fumble and an interception for a touchdown this fall. Over eight games, Zanedis had two interceptions, six pass break-ups, a blocked kick, and 30 tackles (23 solo).
Accompanying Millard of Middlebury on the First Team Specialists were Williams senior Will Cronin and Trinity sophomore Tim Costello. Cronin led the conference in yards per punt with a 39.3 average, booting a long of 75 yards and putting 10 inside the opponents’ 20. Costello was 5-for-5 on extra point attempts and 10-for-11 in field goals this season. Costello nailed a career-long 42-yard field goal in double-overtime of the season finale against Wesleyan to give Trinity a 26-23 win.
Rookie of the Year went to Williams freshman linebacker Chris Cameron (Walpole, Mass.). Cameron was second among his teammates in tackles this year with 46 stops, 33 of which were solo. He also made 8.0 tackles for a loss of 48 yards, 5.5 sacks for 42 yards, two pass break-ups, and a fumble recovery.
Amherst head coach E.J. Mills was the unanimous choice for NESCAC Coach of the Year. In his 13th season at the helm of the Lord Jeffs, Mills guided his team to their third 8-0 finish in conference play and first undefeated season since 1984. Amherst won the 2009 NESCAC Football Championship, its first outright title and second overall after sharing the award with Colby and Middlebury in 2000. It is the first time that Mills has received the conference’s coaching honor.
2009 NESCAC FOOTBALL ALL-CONFERENCE
|First Team Offense|
|QB||Donald McKillop||Middlebury||Jr.||Poway, Calif.|
|RB||Ryan Lupo||Williams||Jr.||Princeton Junction, N.J.|
|RB||Oliver Starnes||Trinity||Sr.||Ledgewood, N.J.|
|FB||Noah Hatfield-Biondo||Tufts||Sr.||Southampton, N.Y.|
|OL||Matt Fait||Colby||Sr.||Glencoe, Ill.|
|OL||Wyatt Moss||Amherst||Sr.||Westport, Conn.|
|OL||Kevin Rose||Williams||Jr.||Middletown, N.Y.|
|OL||Matt Santora||Trinity||Jr.||Westport, Conn.|
|OL||Adam Wueger||Tufts||Sr.||Marietta, Ga.|
|WR||Nick Caro||Williams||Sr.||Andover, Mass.|
|WR||James Millard||Middlebury||Sr.||Greenwich, Conn.|
|WR||Patrick Noone||Bowdoin||So.||North Attleboro, Mass.|
|TE||Sean Wirth||Bates||Sr.||Barrington, R.I.|
|First Team Defense|
|DL||Colin Curzi||Williams||So.||Hampton, N.J.|
|DL||Laurence Duggan||Bowdoin||Sr.||Weston, Mass.|
|DL||Eric Pender||Amherst||Sr.||Drexel Hill, Pa.|
|DL||Peter Sugarbaker||Wesleyan||Sr.||Milton, Mass.|
|DL||Edwin Urey||Amherst||Sr.||Quincy, Mass.|
|LB||Walter Fallas||Trinity||So.||Everett, Mass.|
|LB||John Lawrence||Hamilton||Sr.||Baldwinsville, N.Y.|
|LB||Dylan Schultz||Williams||Jr.||Lanesboro, Mass.|
|LB||Michael Taylor||Amherst||Sr.||Evanston, Ill.|
|DB||Fred Argir||Amherst||Sr.||Lakeville, Minn.|
|DB||Kyle McAllister||Bates||Sr.||Exeter, N.H.|
|DB||Tom Tassinari||Tufts||Sr.||Andover, Mass.|
|DB||Matt Zanedis||Williams||Sr.||Upper Saddle River, N.J.|
|First Team Specialists|
|PK||Tim Costello||Trinity||So.||Solana Beach, Calif.|
|P||Will Cronin||Williams||Sr.||Acton, Mass.|
|RS||James Millard||Middlebury||Sr.||Greenwich, Conn.|
|Second Team Offense|
|QB||Oliver Kell||Bowdoin||Sr.||Westford, Mass.|
|RB||Pat Bailey||Tufts||Jr.||Beverly, Mass.|
|RB||Erik Rostad||Middlebury||Sr.||York, Maine|
|OL||Paul Bennett||Middlebury||Sr.||Williamstown, N.J.|
|OL||Tim Bishop||Williams||Sr.||New Milford, N.J.|
|OL||Mike Goulet||Trinity||Jr.||Glastonbury, Conn.|
|OL||Brian Leighton||Colby||Sr.||Orrington, Maine|
|OL||Stuart Lindberg||Middlebury||Sr.||Perkasie, Pa.|
|OL||Nick Seara||Wesleyan||Jr.||South Ozone Park, N.Y.|
|WR||Tom Beaton||Bates||Sr.||West Newbury, Mass.|
|WR||Bryce Bennett||Williams||Jr.||Jonesboro, Ark.|
|WR||Mike Galligan||Trinity||Jr.||Shoreham, N.Y.|
|WR||Brian Murphy||Amherst||Jr.||Evanston, Ill.|
|TE||David Reed||Middlebury||Jr.||New Canaan, Conn.|
|Second Team Defense|
|DL||Herman Brito||Trinity||So.||Wayland, Mass.|
|DL||Dan Canina||Williams||Jr.||Carlisle, Mass.|
|DL||Donnie Simmons||Tufts||So.||Houston, Texas|
|DL||Burke St. John||Hamilton||Jr.||Chappaqua, N.Y.|
|DL||Kyle Williams||Trinity||Sr.||Bethesda, Md.|
|LB||Justin Freres||Wesleyan||Jr.||Santa Barbara, Calif.|
|LB||Eric Kamback||Middlebury||Sr.||Mahwah, N.J.|
|LB||Jeff Katz||Amherst||Jr.||Cheshire, Conn.|
|LB||Tyler Tennant||Bowdoin||Sr.||Swampscott, Mass.|
|DB||Chris Copeland||Colby||Sr.||Rexford, N.Y.|
|DB||Dan Haluska||Middlebury||Sr.||Wellesley, Mass.|
|DB||John Marinelli||Trinity||Sr.||New Canaan, Conn.|
|DB||Alex Perry||Tufts||Sr.||Danvers, Mass.|
|DB||Derrick Williams||Wesleyan||So.||Brockton, Mass.|
|Second Team Specialists|
|PK||Anthony Kuchan||Middlebury||Jr.||Wauwatosa, Wis.|
|P||Grant Kunkel||Trinity||Sr.||New Canaan, Conn.|
|RS||Pat Bailey||Tufts||Jr.||Beverly, Mass.|
|Offensive Player of the Year|
|QB||Donald McKillop||Middlebury||Jr.||Poway, Calif.|
|Defensive Player of the Year|
|LB||Michael Taylor||Amherst||Sr.||Evanston, Ill.|
|Rookie of the Year|
|LB||Chris Cameron||Williams||Fr.||Walpole, Mass.|
|Coach of the Year|