Dec. 14, 2007
Four Bearcats Named to AP All-America Team
MARYVILLE - Four Northwest Missouri State athletes earned recognition on the 2007 Associated Press Little All-America Football Team. Running back Xavier Omon was placed on the first team while tight end Mike Peterson earned second-team honors. Offensive tackle Reid Kirby and linebacker Jared Erspamer each earned third-team accolades.
It's the sixth straight season a Northwest athlete has placed on the AP team, which encompasses the best players in NCAA Divisions II and III and the NAIA.
Omon, a native of Beatrice, Neb., is the leading rusher in Division II and the second-leading rusher in the nation this season with 2,274 yards. He's the first back in NCAA history to rush for 1,500 yards in four seasons and the second Division II athlete to rush for 7,000 yards. Omon is the third-leading scorer and third-leading rusher in NCAA history.
Omon was a regional finalist for the Harlon Hill Award, but was not one of nine national finalists for the honor. He's responded by averaging 236 yards and by scoring 10 touchdowns in three playoff games, leading the Bearcats to the national championship game for the third straight season.
This year's MIAA Offensive Player of the Year, Omon holds 32 of Northwest's 34 records for rushing and scoring including all season, career and postseason records. Omon was named a Daktronics All-American yesterday, garnering the most votes among running backs.
Peterson, of Atlantic, Iowa, is earning his second straight AP Little All-America honor, after being selected to the AP first team in 2006. Peterson was a unanimous first-team All-MIAA selection this season and a five-time All-American last season. He's caught 136 passes for 1,930 yards and 16 touchdowns in his four-year career at Northwest, all of which rank in the top 10 in career lists at Northwest.
Peterson has 39 catches for 649 yards and four touchdowns this season. In the postseason, he's made 11 receptions for 233 yards, leading receivers in the playoffs with 21.2 yards per reception. This is the second All-America award for Peterson this season.
Kirby, a native of Gladstone, Mo., is earning AP All-America honors for the first time in his career after twice being selected a first team All-American by Daktronics. Kirby was a three-time All-American a year ago and is receiving his second selection this season.
Kirby was a unanimous first-team All-MIAA selection and has paved the way for the nation's 14th-ranked scoring offense and the league's second-best rushing attack.
Reid and his teammates have allowed 12 sacks in 13 games for the 10th-best sack against average in the nation. The Bearcats are averaging 456.7 yards of offense per game this season, which leads the MIAA and ranks 18th nationally.
Erspamer, of Omaha, Neb., leads the Bearcats with 99 tackles this season. Erspamer was named the league's Most Outstanding Defensive Player and is a Daktronic's All-American this season, as well as serving as captain on the MIAA's top scoring defense. His next tackle will make him the first Bearcat to record 100 tackles since 1999.
Erspamer has two sacks this season and is second on the team with 12 tackles for loss. He's had 10 or more tackles in four games this season, including a career-best 16-tackle effort against Pittsburg State. Erspamer was also this year's Don Black Award winner, given annually to the MVP of Northwest's homecoming game.
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