Nov. 13, 2007
Bearcats Sweep MIAA MVP Football Honors; 10 Placed on First Team
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Northwest Missouri State claimed 10 first-team selections, won the coaching honor and swept both MVP awards in the All-MIAA Football Team announced today by the conference office. The 10 first-team selections, with four unanimous picks, are the most for Northwest since 1997.
Head coach Mel Tjeerdsma picked up MIAA Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season and the ninth time in his 14-year Northwest career. He guided the Bearcats to an undefeated MIAA season for the seventh time since 1997 and picked up his 200th career coaching victory last Saturday against Missouri Southern.
Harlon Hill regional finalist Xavier Omon was tabbed Most Valuable Offensive Player and was a unanimous selection as first-team running back. Omon is the first player in NCAA history to rush for 1,500 yards in four seasons. He led the MIAA in rushing, scoring and all-purpose yards this season. He's the first offensive MVP from Northwest since Harlon Hill national finalist Tony Miles won the honor in 2000.
Jared Erspamer was named the Most Valuable Defensive Player and was a unanimous choice as a first-team linebacker. Erspamer is averaging 8.1 tackles this season and has 10 tackles for loss to lead Northwest. He's won MIAA Defensive Player of the Week twice. It's the second time in three seasons the defensive MVP honor has gone to a Bearcat.
Mike Peterson repeated as a first-team selection at tight end, this time as a unanimous pick. Peterson is averaging 14.9 yards per reception coming from 28 catches for 416 yards. He's tied for sixth in school records with 16 career touchdown receptions.
Junior Reid Kirby also earned unanimous first-team honors on the offensive line, gaining MIAA first-team honors for the second straight season. Kirby and Jeremy Davis, who also earned first-team honors, have protected the MIAA's top scoring offense by holding opponents to a league-low 10 sacks.
Kendall Wright picked up first-team honors for the second time in as many years as the leading receiver for the Bearcats with 593 yards on 38 receptions. His 59.3 yards per game average is fifth among MIAA receivers and his 3.8 yards per catch is eighth in conference statistics. Wright earned MIAA Special Teams Player of the Week on Sept. 24 after returning a punt for a touchdown against Truman.
One of two sophomores on the first team, Myles Burnsides leads Northwest in interceptions including a 27-yard return for a touchdown against Southwest Baptist. Burnsides is tied for third with 54 tackles and has already earned CoSIDA Academic All-District accolades.
Dallas Flynn earned first-team honors after ending the regular season with 24 tackles, three sacks and five tackles for loss. He had two blocked kicks and three quarterback hurries, both second among the Bearcats. His 19 career sacks is fifth in school records.
Kicker Tommy Frevert has converted 28 straight PATs entering the playoffs as the first Northwest placekicker named to the MIAA first team since Luis Berlanga in 2004. He stands third in school records with 29 career field goals and set a new personal career-long with a 44-yarder against Pittsburg State in the Fall Classic at Arrowhead Oct. 6.
Rounding out the Northwest first-team selections, Terry Bilbro is fourth among teammates with 46 tackles. He had a career-high 10 tackles against Pittsburg State and recorded a sack in the overtime period that forced a Gorilla field goal.
The Bearcats placed three on the second team with Kyle Dunn and Josh Gannan on offense and Matt Robertson on the defensive side. Tom Pestock, Sean Paddock, T.J. Kaatman, Brandon Clayton, Chris Termini and Michael Stadler all received honorable mention nods.
Northwest begins its NCAA postseason on Nov. 24 against the winner of Washburn and West Texas A&M. Kickoff from Bearcat Stadium is noon.
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