Three Wildcats Named To All-NCC First TeamPosted: Updated:
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Three Central Washington University student-athletes, including repeat selection Johnny Spevak, have been named to the All-North Central Conference football first team, announced Monday by the conference office. Three others received second team recognition, while four others were listed on the honorable mention list.
Joining Spevak on the first team were junior tight end Jared Bronson (Kent, Wash./Thomas Jefferson HS) and sophomore inside linebacker Buddy Wood (Chattaroy, Wash./Riverside HS).
Spevak is the top pass receiver on the Wildcats, with a career-high 74 catches for 981 yards and 12 touchdowns in his sophomore season. He also ranks second in the NCC in both receptions per game and receiving yards per game. Spevak was a first team all-NCC selection as a redshirt freshman in 2006.
Bronson is Central's third-leading pass catcher from his tight end position. The University of Washington transfer has 29 receptions for 412 yards and two touchdowns on the season, starting 10 of 11 games.
Wood has been the Wildcats' top defensive performer throughout the 2007 season, especially in the second half, with 10 or more tackles in five of his last seven games. Wood, who has 105 total tackles including a school-record 56 assisted stops, has also garnered NCC Player of the Week recognition this season after a 16-tackle performance against Augustana on Oct. 27.
Second team selections were junior quarterback Mike Reilly (Kalispell, Mont./Flathead HS), senior center Sam Himmelman (Mukilteo, Wash./Kamiak HS), and senior running back Johnny Lopez (Federal Way, Wash./John F. Kennedy HS).
Reilly, who is also a candidate for the Harlon Hill Trophy, was named to the second team for the second straight season. The junior quarterback ranks among the conference and national leaders in numerous passing statistical categories and, with 2,887 passing yards so far this season, is looking to become the third player in school history with 3,000 or more yards in one campaign.
Himmelman has started 40 consecutive games and is the centerpiece of the Wildcats' line that helps the offense average 418.2 yards per game.
Lopez became just the 10th 1,000-yard rusher in school history this season, and the first since 2004. The senior has broken the 100-yard barrier in six of 11 games in 2007, including a career-high 182 yards at Saint Cloud State on Sept. 29. He has also scored at least one rushing touchdown in nine of 11 contests.
Four players earned recognition on the NCC's honorable mention team, as sophomore kicker Garrett Rolsma (University Place, Wash./Curtis HS), junior defensive lineman Mitch Reffett (Moses Lake, Wash.), senior safety Chris Hemphill (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra HS), and sophomore safety Jerome Williams (Seattle, Wash./Ballard HS) also secured all-conference honors.
Specialty award winners from the conference included Weston Dressler (North Dakota), Zach Miller (Nebraska-Omaha), Ben Hochstein (Nebraska-Omaha) as the top receiver, offensive back, and offensive lineman, respectively. Defensive specialty awards went to a trio of Nebraska-Omaha players in Rob Lewis, Jeff Souder, and Randy Kush as top defensive lineman, linebacker, and defensive back, respectively. The Mavericks also had the Coach of the Year in Pat Behrns, who won the award for the second straight year.
Central Washington (9-2) will travel to Omaha this Saturday (Nov. 24) to face the NCC champion Mavericks (10-0) in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. The Wildcats are coming off their first NCAA Division II playoff win in school history, taking a 40-24 decision over Ashland University this past Saturday at Tomlinson Stadium. This Saturday's second round game will be a rematch of the regular-season finale for both CWU and UNO, as Nebraska-Omaha defeated the Wildcats 59-21 in Ellensburg on Nov. 10. This Saturday's kickoff, from Al F. Caniglia Field in Omaha, is slated for 1:05 p.m. CST (11:05 a.m. PST).