18 Bluejays feted by KCAC coaches

Eighteen members of Tabor College’s 8-3 football team have received recognition from KCAC coaches.

Five Bluejays received first-team recognition.

Senior fullback Joe Donnell and junior lineman Spencer Baalman were both unanimous first-team selections on offense.

Donnell rushed for 517 yards on 95 carries this season as Tabor’s leading rusher.

Baalman anchored a Bluejay team that ranked seventh nationally in rushing offense (2,772) and ninth in rushing offense per game (252).

Meanwhile, sophomore lineman Evan Sprayberry and senior defensive back Michael Griffin were both unanimous first-team picks on defense.

Sprayberry recorded 58 tackles this season, including 22 tackles for a loss, which ranks second in the NAIA. He had a nation-best 16 sacks and also ranked first in sacks per game (1.5). He ranked fifth in tackles for a loss per game (2) and eighth in fumbles forced per game (0.4).

Griffin had 39 tackles, including two tackles for a loss, and helped anchor the secondary for a Bluejay team that ranked sixth nationally in pass defense per game (152.4).

Junior punt returner Charles Beale received first-team recognition on special teams. Beale ranked fourth in punt return yards per attempt (KCAC-best 15.5) and fifth in punt returns (248). He had one punt return for a touchdown.

Seven Bluejays earned second-team honors.

On offense, sophomore running back Ontre’Von Cooper, junior wide receiver Zack Johnson and junior lineman Carlos DeLeon received second-team recognition.

Cooper rushed for 492 yards and seven touchdowns on 68 attempts this season.

Johnson was Tabor’s leading receiver, hauling in 44 receptions for 991 yards and 13 touchdowns. He ranked 13th nationally in receiving yards, 14th in the receiving yards per game (90.1) and 15th in total scoring (90). He ranked fifth in the KCAC in receptions per game (4).

DeLeon was another key component to the Bluejay game up front.

Senior linebacker Alex Neuschafer received second-team honors on defense as Tabor’s leading tackler.

Neuschafer recorded 99 tackles, including 91⁄2 tackles for a loss and one sack. He ranked 33rd in tackles per game (9) and 35th in fumbles forced per game (0.2).

Tabor placed three on the second team special teams, including Johnson at kick returner and seniors Jared Slavens (kicker) and Trey Geiger (punter).

Johnson had 20 kick returns for 517 yards and one touchdown. He ranked 15th in kickoff return yards per attempt (25.9) and 22nd in kickoff return yards.

Slavens made 47 of 49 extra-point attempts and 10 of 16 field goal attempts. He ranked eighth in field goals, ninth in total scoring (kicking) (77) and scoring per game (7), 10th in field goals (0.9), 24th in PAT kicking percentage (.959) and 39th in field goal percentage (.625).

Slavens’ longest field goal was from 36 yards out. He led the KCAC in field goals per game (0.9).

Geiger recorded 50 punts for 1,827 yards. He averaged 36.5 yards per attempt to rank 46th nationally. His longest punt was 60 yards.

Eight Bluejays received honorable mention, four on offense and four on defense.

On offense, those receiving honorable mention were junior quarterback Curry Parham, senior running back Jonah McKee, Beale as a utility player and junior lineman Josh Davidson.

Parham completed 185 passes for 1,711 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. He ranked ninth in pass efficiency (167), 44th in total passing, 47th in total offense (1,807) and 49th in passing yards per game (155.5). Parham ranked fifth in the conference in passing per game.

McKee carried the ball 58 times for 332 yards and two touchdowns.

Beale hauled in 30 receptions for 493 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 16.4 yards per catch.

On defense, those receiving honorable mention were junior lineman Dimitri Bowie, senior linebacker Maurice Payne, junior defensive back Kevin Golden and senior defensive back Adrian Brown.

Bowie recorded 49 tackles, including 61⁄2 tackles for a loss and two sacks.

Payne had 48 tackles, including 12 tackles for a loss and 31⁄2 sacks. He recorded three interceptions and one fumble recovery.

Golden had 30 tackles, including one tackle for a loss. He recorded two interceptions and blocked one kick.

Brown had 36 tackles this season.

Tabor won the KCAC title for the second-consecutive year and suffered a season-ending loss to Morningside in the first round of the NAIA playoffs.

The Bluejays will get another look at Morningside when they welcome the Mustangs to Hillsboro for their season-opener next year.

Tags from the story
Written By
More from Janae Rempel
Eagles intend to fly stronger and faster
Canton-Galva football coach Jeff Savage expects a stronger and faster team in...
Read More