Nov. 11, 2008
Northwest Sweeps All-MIAA Football Awards
KANSAS CITY, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State claimed eight first-team positions, won the coaching honor, swept both MVP awards and had the Freshman of the Year in the All-MIAA Football Team announced today by the conference office.
Head Coach Mel Tjeerdsma picked up MIAA Coach of the Year honors for the third year in a row and for the 10th time in his 15-year Northwest career. He guided the Bearcats to a 9-0 league record for the third year in a row and for the eighth time since 1997. No one has won as many MIAA Coach of the Year Awards as Tjeerdsma (1995-2000, 2002, 2006-08)
Junior safety Myles Burnsides became the fourth Bearcat in the last five seasons to be tabbed Most Valuable Defensive Player. He's the third defensive back in league history to earn the honor and the first since 2002.
Burnsides' 46 tackles are the third-highest tally on the team. He was one of four players in the league to intercept four passes in conference play. Three of his interceptions came in the fourth quarter and three led to touchdowns. He also blocked a punt which led to the Bearcats' first score against Fort Hays State.
Burnsides had a career-high 10 tackles against Abilene Christian and is the only Northwest player to record double-digit tackles in a game this season.
Senior Joel Osborn is the second Northwest quarterback to be named Most Valuable Offensive Player. He joins Chris Greisen, who earned the award in 1998. Wide receiver Tony Miles in 2000 and running back Xavier Omon in 2007 are the only other Bearcats to earn the award.
Osborn completed 198-of-288 passes for 2,528 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions. He threw for the fourth-most yards during the regular season in program history and for the seventh-most scores.
Osborn is the 13th-most efficient quarterback in the nation. His 68.8 percent completion percentage is the fourth-highest in the nation and the second-highest single-season mark in program history.
Osborn passed for a career-high 325 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener against Abilene Christian. He passed for a score in all games except the regular-season finale and threw three touchdowns against Truman and Fort Hays State. He's played four games and thrown 110 passes since his last interception.
Defensive lineman Josh Lorenson is the second Bearcat to be named Freshman of the Year. He joins wide receiver Jamaica Rector, who earned the award in 2001.
Lorenson's 7.5 tackles-for-loss were second on the team and his four sacks were third. Lorenson played in all 11 games and had 32 tackles.
Burnsides was a unanimous first-team selection by the coaches. Senior offensive lineman Jeremy Davis and junior defensive lineman Sean Paddock were also unanimous first-team picks.
Davis, a 2007 first-team selection, has started 25 consecutive games at right guard for the Bearcats. He's led an offensive unit that ranks sixth in the nation in points (42.0 ppg) and seventh in yards (482.64 ypg).
Davis is one of three Northwest offensive linemen who earned All-MIAA honors. Senior left guard Tom Pestock is a first-team pick after earning honorable mention honors the past two seasons. Senior left tackle Reid Kirby, a two-time first-team All-MIAA pick, earned second-team honors in 2008 after missing several games due to injury.
Paddock is a first-time All-MIAA honoree. He led the Bearcats with five sacks and 10.5 tackles-for-loss and is sixth on the team with 37 tackles. Paddock anchored a defensive line that allowed a league-low 82.6 yards rushing per game and four rushing touchdowns in conference play.
Senior cornerback Brandon Clayton and sophomore safety Aldwin Foster-Rettig gives the Bearcats four All-MIAA picks on defense. Both earned second-team honors. Clayton has started all 11 games, often draws the opponent's top receiver and has 27 tackles. Foster-Rettig has two interceptions to go with his team-leading 54 tackles.
Junior LaRon Council, the nation's leading scorer and sixth-leading rusher, is a first-team pick at running back. Council broke Xavier Omon's record by scoring 27 touchdowns during the regular season. He's rushed for 1,328 yards in 11 games and caught 19 passes for 128 yards.
Council has seven 100-yard efforts and totaled four touchdowns in three games. He had an MIAA-record 99-yard touchdown run against Central Missouri and rushed for a career-high 197 yards and four scores against Missouri Southern in the regular-season finale.
Senior Kendall Wright is a first-team choice at wide receiver for the third year in a row. He's also the first-team kick and punt returner. Wright led the Bearcats with 52 catches for 674 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 12.1 yards on 27 punt returns and 23.8 yards on 14 kick returns.
Wright caught a career-high 11 passes for 157 yards against Pittsburg State. He had eight catches for 123 yards and a score against Abilene Christian. Wright has accounted for more than 200 all-purpose yards in three games and had a season-high 245 against Missouri Western.
Senior tight end Josh Gannan is a second-team choice at tight end after being named to the first team a year ago. Gannan has caught 17 passes for 206 yards. He missed two games earlier in the year due to injury.
Wide receiver Abe Qaoud, offensive lineman Matt Nelson, kicker Tommy Frevert, defensive lineman Tyler Roach, linebackers Ike Urum-Eke, Adam Vondrak and Willie Horn and cornerback Chris LeFlore were Northwest players who earned honorable mention honors.
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