CWU's Reilly wins Player of the Year - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

CWU's Reilly wins Player of the Year

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Central Washington University quarterback Mike Reilly (Kalispell, Mont./Flathead HS) was a unanimous choice as Great Northwest Athletic Conference Football Offensive Player of the Year, headlining a list of 10 first-team all-conference selections for the Wildcats as announced Tuesday by the conference office.

Reilly was one of three Wildcats to win special awards from the conference, as head coach Blaine Bennett was named the 2008 GNAC Coach of the Year and defensive end Andrew Oney (Spanaway, Wash./Spanaway Lake HS) was tabbed the GNAC Freshman of the Year. Other special award winners from the conference were Western Oregon's Matt Cox as Defensive Player of the Year and Western Washington running back Randall Eldridge as the Newcomer of the Year.

Reilly completed the regular season by throwing for 3,286 yards and 32 touchdowns with just five interceptions in helping lead the Wildcats to a 10-1 record and the school's fourth GNAC championship in the six-year history of the conference. He has set numerous school and conference passing records over the course of the season, and has also added a NCAA Division II national record of 45 consecutive career games with a touchdown pass to his list of records. Entering the postseason, Reilly ranks third in Division II history in passing yards and fourth in total offense.

Bennett was named Coach of the Year in his first season at the helm of the Wildcats. He has led Central on a current six-game winning streak, has posted the second-best regular-season record of a first-year head coach in school history, and has led the Wildcats to just the seventh 10-win season in the history of the program. The award is the second in his seven years as a college head coach, having won the Columbia Football Association Coach of the Year award in 1997 while at Western Oregon.

Oney has been a regular starter on the Wildcats' defensive line this season, ranking 10th on the team with 29 total tackles. Included among his stops have been eight tackles for loss and 5 1/2 quarterback sacks, and he has also seen time as a blocking tight end in short-yardage situations on offense for the Wildcats. Oney was also named to the all-conference team as a second-team performer on the defensive line.

Junior Courtney Smith (Stockton, Calif./East Union HS) was selected to the all-conference first team at two positions, kick returner and defensive back. Smith has returned 10 kickoffs this season for 421 total yards, including scoring returns of 98 and 95 yards against Dixie State and Mesa State, respectively. He also added an 84-yard runback in last week's regular-season finale against Western Washington. Defensively, Smith ranks 11th on the Wildcats with 27 tackles and has a total of five passes defended including one interception. He has been a three-time GNAC Special Teams Player of the Week this season.

Also on the first team for the Wildcats are junior wide receiver Johnny Spevak (Edgewood, Wash./Puyallup HS), senior tight end Jared Bronson (Kent, Wash./Thomas Jefferson HS), and senior center John Gariano (Auburn, Wash./Auburn Riverside HS) on offense. Defensive standouts Mitch Reffett (DL, Moses Lake, Wash.), Buddy Wood (LB, Chattaroy, Wash./Riverside HS), and Jerome Williams (DB, Seattle, Wash./Ballard HS) also received first-team recognition, as did kicker Garrett Rolsma (University Place, Wash./Curtis HS).

Spevak has ranked among the national leaders in receiving throughout the entire season, and he enters the playoffs with 82 receptions for 1,313 yards and 16 touchdowns. He needs just 37 yards to set a new single-season school record for receiving yards. Spevak was also named to the all-conference second team as a punt returner after averaging 9.9 yards per punt return.

Bronson earned all-conference accolades despite missing four full games and most of a fifth due to injury this season. In his seven games, he totaled 20 receptions for 333 yards and five touchdowns and he, along with Reilly, are both considered pro prospects.

In his first year as a starter, Gariano has anchored the Central Washington offensive line that has helped the Wildcats set a new single-season record for scoring (462 total points) and has helped Central average 418.5 yards of offense per game.

Reffett, a defensive tackle, has been the leader of a Wildcats' defense that has ranked among the NCAA Division II national leaders in quarterback sacks throughout this season. Individually, Reffett is tops among defensive linemen with 45 total tackles including 11 tackles for loss.

Wood is the Wildcats' team leader in tackles for the second straight year, having totaled 85 stops in 11 regular-season games. He also ranks among the conference leaders in fumble recoveries (four) and forced fumbles (three), while registering 7 1/2 tackles for loss and five quarterback sacks.

Williams is the lone player in the Central secondary to have started every game this season, and he amassed 61 tackles and 10 passes defended (including five interceptions) in the regular season. He also has 2 1/2 tackles for loss and a blocked kick to his credit in his second full season as a starter in the Wildcats' defensive backfield.

Rolsma has had the best kicking season in school history in 2008, having made all 57 of his extra-point attempts to extend his streak to a conference-record 60 consecutive made PATs. He has also nailed 15 of 20 field goal attempts, giving him a school- and conference-record 102 kick-scoring points heading into the playoffs. Just a junior, he has also set new school career records for PATs and field goals. Rolsma was also named to the all-conference second team as a punter after averaging 37.5 yards per punt (30 punts) during the regular season.

In addition to Central's 10 first-team selections, the Wildcats had eight second-team selections. Oney (defensive line), Spevak (punt returner), and Rolsma (punter) were joined by junior running back Jerome Morris (Los Angeles, Calif./Jefferson HS), senior offensive linemen Aaron Gilbert (Auburn, Wash./Thomas Jefferson HS) and Matt Coffman (Othello, Wash.), sophomore defensive end Tyrell Nielsen (Woodland, Wash.), and sophomore linebacker Adam Bighill (Montesano, Wash.) on the second team.

Central Washington returns to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the second straight year, as the number eight nationally-ranked Wildcats visit ninth-ranked West Texas A&M this Saturday (Nov. 15) in Canyon, Texas, at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time (11 a.m. PST). The winner of that game will advance to face the region's top seed, Abilene Christian, in a second-round game on Saturday, Nov. 22.

2008 GREAT NORTHWEST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE FOOTBALL ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Offensive Player of the Year: Mike Reilly, QB, Central Washington
Defensive Player of the Year: Matt Cox, DL, Western Oregon
Newcomer of the Year: Randall Eldridge, RB, Western Washington
Freshman of the Year: Andrew Oney, DL, Central Washington
Coach of the Year: Blaine Bennett, Central Washington

FIRST TEAM
Quarterback: *+Mike Reilly, Sr., Central Washington. Running Back: *Randall Eldridge, Jr., Western Washington; *Ben Kuenzi, Jr., Western Oregon. Wide Receiver: *Johnny Spevak, Jr., Central Washington; *Isaiah Smith, Sr., Western Oregon; Travis McKee, Sr., Western Washington; Pat McCann, Sr., Western Washington. Tight End: Jared Bronson, Sr., Central Washington. Offensive Line: *Taylor Boggs, So., Humboldt State; *Cory Perkins, Sr., Western Oregon; *Ryan DelRosal, Sr., Dixie State; John Gariano, Sr., Central Washington; Dan Trask, Sr., Western Washington. Kicker: *Garrett Rolsma, Jr., Central Washington. Kick Returner: Courtney Smith, Jr., Central Washington.

Defensive Line: *Nick Rocco, So., Western Washington; *Matt Cox, Sr., Western Oregon; Chad Frank, Jr., Dixie State; Mitch Reffett, Sr., Central Washington. Linebacker: Buddy Wood, Jr., Central Washington; Teddy Owens, Jr., Dixie State; Caleb Jessup, Jr., Western Washington. Defensive Back: *Guy Ricciardulli, So., Humboldt State; *Caleb Singleton, So., Western Oregon; Courtney Smith, Jr., Central Washington; Jerome Williams, Jr., Central Washington; Andrew Jackson, Jr., Western Oregon. Punter: Kyle Schierholt, Jr., Humboldt State. Punt Returner: Shaun Kauleinamoku, Jr., Western Oregon.

SECOND TEAM
Quarterback: Adam Perry, Sr., Western Washington; Dexter Hill, Sr., Dixie State. Running Back: D.J. Jackson, So., Western Oregon; Adam Wells, So., Dixie State; Jerome Morris, Jr., Central Washington. Wide Receiver: Kevin Miles, So., Humboldt State; Kyser Christensen, So., Dixie State; Shaun Kauleinamoku, Jr., Western Oregon; Demario Ballard, Jr., Western Oregon. Tight End: Judd Thompson, Jr., Dixie State. Offensive Line: Phil Hayes, Sr., Western Washington; Aaron Gilbert, Sr., Central Washington; Matt Coffman, Sr., Central Washington; Jose Escobedo, Jr., Western Oregon; Lorenzo Arenas, Sr., Humboldt State; Cody Feakin, Sr., Western Oregon. Kicker:. Josh Lider, Jr., Western Washington. Kick Returner: Rick Copsey, Jr., Western Washington.

Defensive Line: Casey Hamlett, So., Western Washington; Tyrell Nielsen, So., Central Washington; Andrew Oney, Fr., Central Washington; Anthony Marin, Sr., Western Oregon. Linebacker: J.T. Gilmore, Jr., Western Oregon; Adam Bighill, So., Central Washington; Mike Lynch, So., Humboldt State; Bubba Reynolds, Jr., Humboldt State. Defensive Back: Aric Hutchinson, Jr., Dixie State; Bryan Huber, Jr., Western Oregon; Zach Schrader, So., Western Washington; Anthony Zackery, So., Western Washington. Punter: Ammon Schwab, Fr., Dixie State; Garrett Rolsma, Jr., Central Washington. Punt Returner: Johnny Spevak, Jr., Central Washington; Rick Copsey, Jr., Western Washington.

* Unanimous ... + Repeater (Reilly from 2005)
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