Brady and Fairfield-Sonn Receive Player of the Year Awards
HADLEY, Mass. – Tufts junior running back Chance Brady (Haverhill, Mass.) and Amherst senior Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn (Old Lyme, Conn.) have been voted by the conference coaches as the NESCAC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively. Brady is the first player in Tufts history to earn the league’s top offensive award, while Fairfield-Sonn is the third player in Amherst history to earn the plaudit, joining Pat McGee (2001) and Michael Taylor (2009).
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
- Brady led the league with 121.9 rushing yards per game to help the Jumbos post their best season since 2001 by finishing 6-2. Brady posted 100 rushing yards or more in six games, including a 212-yard performance against Colby on November 7, to finish the season with 975. He ranked second in the conference with 1,084 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns, which were the most by a Tufts back since 1988.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
- Fairfield-Sonn was all over the field for a defense that surrendered a conference-low 9.9 points per game and ranked second in total defense, allowing 293.6 yards per game. He paced Amherst with four interceptions, two of which came against Trinity on November 7, and six pass breakups. Fairfield-Sonn was tied for third on the squad with 52 total tackles, and registered six tackles for loss, two blocked field goals and a sack.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
- Three of the 14 All-NESCAC First Team Offense honorees are repeat all-conference selections. Twelve of the 14 members on the Second Team are garnering all-conference accolades for the first time.
- The Middlebury passing tandem of quarterback Matt Milano and wide receiver Matthew Minno were named to the First Team for the second straight season. Milano, the 2014 NESCAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year, paced the conference in nearly every passing category. The senior threw for 2,587 yards, averaging 323.4 yards per game, and 23 touchdowns, while recording a pass efficiency rating of 133.2. He recorded 300 passing yards or more in five games. One of Milano’s favorite targets during the season was Minno, who is a three-time First Team selection. Minno leaves Middlebury as the career leader in touchdown receptions with 30 after leading all NESCAC receivers with 10 touchdown catches this season. He also paced the league in receptions (49) and receiving yards (820) despite playing in seven games.
- Colby junior Jabari Hurdle-Price and Hamilton sophomore Jason Nastovski joined Brady in the backfield as first-time honorees. Hurdle-Price averaged a NESCAC-best 153.8 all-purpose yards per game this season. He rushed for 728 yards, and tallied 205 receiving yards and 297 total return yards. The running back, who ran for six touchdowns on the season, ran for 208 yards against Wesleyan on October 10. Nastovski scored all five of the Continentals’ rushing touchdowns this season en route to finishing with 157 yards.
- Jackson McGonagle scored a team-high seven touchdowns for a balanced Amherst offense that led the league in scoring at 27.6 points per game. The senior wide receiver caught 33 passes for 484 yards and six touchdowns in addition to have one rushing touchdown. He was also named to the All-NESCAC Second Team as a punter.
- Hamilton junior Charles Ensley ranked second among the league’s wide receivers with 665 yards and six touchdowns on 37 catches to earn all-conference honors for the first time in his collegiate career.
- Sophomore wide receiver Bryan Vieria of Trinity landed on the First Team after finishing the season with 27 receptions for 658 yards to average a conference-best 24.4 yards per catch. The first-time all-conference pick also scored three touchdowns.
- Amherst tight end Rob Thoma garnered all-conference accolades for the first time in his career. The junior caught 15 passes for 151 yards.
- A pair of Trinity offensive linemen were recognized on the First Team for the first time as senior Matthew Porter was elevated from last year’s Second Team and sophomore Chris Simmons was last year’s NESCAC Rookie of the Year. Both players helped the Bantams average over 383 combined yards on the ground and in the air, while allowing 12 sacks.
- Three seniors receiving all-conference recognition for the first time round out the remainder of the offensive linemen named to the First Team. Wesleyan’s Blake Cunningham anchored a line that helped the Cardinals rank second in the league with 188.1 rushing yards per game. Akene Farmer-Michos of Tufts played a pivotal role in helping Brady and the Tufts offense finish second in the league at 25.9 points per game. Amherst’s Sam Hart was part of an offensive line that created holes for the conference’s top rushing offense, which averaged 201.5 yards per game and saw four players run for at least 275 yards.
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
- Seven of the 16 All-NESCAC First Team Defense honorees are repeat all-conference selections. All but one of the 12 players on the Second Team are receiving all-conference recognition for the first time.
- Middlebury’s Tim Patricia was elevated to the All-NESCAC First Team after being a three-time Second Team selection and the 2012 NESCAC Rookie of the Year. The senior linebacker ranked third among conference players with 64 total tackles, while adding five tackles for loss, a pair of interceptions, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
- Junior Mark Upton of Bates earned back-to-back First Team accolades after leading the league with three forced fumbles and ranking second in the NESCAC with 71 total tackles. The linebacker paced the Bobcats with eight tackles for loss and four sacks to go along with one pick.
- Trinity sophomore Liam Kenneally and Amherst senior Thomas Kleyn round out the First Team linebackers as first-time honorees. Kenneally was tied for fifth in the conference with 61 total tackles, and was second on the team with three sacks and nine tackles for loss. He also broke up three passes and recovered a fumble. Kleyn paced Amherst with 58 tackles and two recovered fumbles. He was also credited with seven tackles for loss and an interception.
- Gil Araujo of Middlebury was a frequent visitor in the opposition’s backfield. The senior defensive lineman led all NESCAC players with 16.5 tackles for loss for 73 yards, ranked second with 8.5 sacks for 54 yards and fourth with 63 stops. A second-team honoree last year, Araujo also forced two fumbles, broke up five passes and blocked a PAT and a punt.
- A pair of Trinity defensive linemen landed on the First Team. Senior Lyle Baker was a first-team pick for the second consecutive year after finishing the season with 30 tackles, two sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He was joined by first-time honoree junior Matt D’Andrea, who tallied 18 tackles, two sacks, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
- Amherst junior Paul Johnson moved up to the First Team after being selected to the Second Team last year. He ended the season with 18 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.
- Junior Jordan Stone of Wesleyan ranked fifth among all conference players with 10 tackles for loss in addition to 5.5 sacks and 35 tackles.
- Tufts sophomore Zach Thomas paced the league with nine sacks en route to 31 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss to garner first-team recognition.
- Two repeat All-NESCAC selections appear among the defensive back honorees. Amherst senior Jaymie Spears, a 2014 First Team selection, amassed 34 tackles, 31 of which were solo stops, four pass breakups, two interceptions and a tackle for loss. Justin Sanchez of Wesleyan was elevated to the First Team this season after landing on the Second Team in 2014. The junior paced the Cardinals with 56 tackles to go along with four pass breakups, three tackles for loss, two interceptions and a forced fumble.
- Middlebury junior Nate Leedy was credited six pass breakups to lead the Panther secondary. He also picked off three passes, recorded 27 tackles and blocked a punt that led to a safety.
- Two Trinity defensive backs were named to the First Team as the Bantam defense held opponents to a league-low 163.0 yards per game in the air. Paul McCarthy was second in the NESCAC with nine pass breakups and five interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown. The senior also contributed 30 tackles and a recovered fumble. Junior Yosa Nosamiefan knocked away seven passes for the Bantams, forced a fumble and blocked a PAT.
FIRST TEAM SPECIALISTS
- Trinity senior Kyle Pulek closes out his career with his fourth All-NESCAC First Team award. The punter averaged 38.6 yards per punt, which ranked second in the league. He had 15 punts downed inside the 20-yard line and nine punts result in fair catches. Midway through the season, Pulek took over placekicking duties, going 10-for-10 on PATs and 5-for-8 on field goals.
- Junior Willie Holmquist of Tufts was named to the First Team as a placekicker after kicking a conference-best 11 field goals, which set a new single-season record for the Jumbos. He was also 20-for-22 on PATs. Holmquist also ranked third in punting, averaging 38.1 yards per punt.
- Darrien Myers of Trinity was selected as the First Team return specialist. The junior was the only player in the league to return a punt for a touchdown this season after running back two kicks during the season. He averaged 13.5 yards per punt return and 22.3 yards per kickoff return.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
- Trinity’s Max Chipouras was named as the league’s Rookie of the Year. The running back made an immediate impact for the Bantams, scoring a NESCAC-best 12 touchdowns. He ranked third in the conference averaging 81.1 rushing yards per game to finish the season with 649 yards. As a result, he was also recognized on the All-NESCAC Second Team. Chipouras is the third straight Trinity player to be selected as the NESCAC Rookie of the Year, joining teammates Chris Simmons (2014) and Sonny Puzzo (2013). He is the second Bantam running back to garner the accolade as Evan Bunker earned the award in 2010.
COACH OF THE YEAR
- E.J. Mills of Amherst was selected as NESCAC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year and the fourth time overall in his 19-year tenure. He guided Amherst to an undefeated season at 8-0, as the Purple & White captured their second straight conference title outright. This season, Amherst led the NESCAC in scoring offense, averaging 27.6 points per game, and scoring defense, allowing just 9.9 points per game. Mills was previously recognized by his peers in 2009, 2011 and 2014.
Football All-Conference Teams