SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (November 14, 2017) – Seventeen members of the Western New England University football team were recognized when Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC Football) announced its major award winners and All-Conference selections on Tuesday morning.
A trio of Golden Bears received major awards, as senior quarterback Anthony Service (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) earned Co-Offensive Player of the Year honors, senior nose tackle Sam Edouard (Roosevelt, N.Y.) was named the Defensive Lineman of the Year, and freshman cornerback Zhaire House (Greenwich, Conn.) garnered Defensive Rookie of the Year accolades.
Additionally, 14 other Golden Bears collected All-Conference recognition. Senior wide receiver Mark Dietrich (Cheshire, Conn.), senior guard Dillon Martin (Ashland, Mass.) and senior tackle Spencer Goodman (Haddon Heights, N.J.) were named to the First Team Offense, while Service, sophomore running back Peter Hoff (Shelton, Conn.), and senior center Brett Ellsworth (Winthrop, Mass.) landed on the Second Team.
Edouard was among four First Team selections on defense, along with senior safety Sam Olsson (Milford, Conn.), junior lineman Sean Stergas (Cambridge, Vt.) and junior linebacker Kurtis Jolicoeur (Windham, N.H.). House, junior cornerback Greg Metelus (Medway, Mass.) and senior linebacker Tim Huffam (Medway, Mass.) were voted to the Second Team.
Rounding out Western New England's 17 honorees are four Special Teams selections. Sophomores Damond Davis (Springfield, Mass.) and Joey DeCoste (Littleton, Mass.) received First Team nods at kick returner and utility player, respectively, while junior kicker Valentin Wagner (Saint Aubin De Medoc, France) and junior punter Vinny Lalumia (Maywood, N.J.) earned spots on the Second Team.
An All-New England Football Conference (NEFC) selection each of the past two seasons, Dietrich caps his career with his third All-Conference honor following a productive senior campaign. The senior wide receiver led CCC Football with 695 yards during the regular season, while his eight touchdowns and 41 receptions ranked second and fifth, respectively. Dietrich topped the 70-yard mark on six occasions, with his season-high of 123 yards coming in Saturday's 55-14 victory over Nichols. He also hauled in three touchdown receptions against the Bison, in the process surpassing Andrew Walz's program record for career TD catches with 21.
Martin, Goodman and Ellsworth anchored Western New England's offensive line as the Golden Bears led CCC Football with 1933 rushing yards (193 per game) and scored a league-high 25 touchdowns on the ground. Western New England also topped 2000 passing yards, led the conference with 33.9 points per game and ranked second with 3995 yards of total offense (399.5 per game). Martin, a D3football.com and Lindy's Sports Preseason All-American, earns All-Conference accolades for the third time in his career. Goodman is being recognized for the second straight season, while Ellsworth receives his first All-Conference nod.
Service, who is in his second full season as a starter in 2017, had another strong season leading the Western New England offense this fall. The senior signal caller has completed 128 of 226 pass attempts (56.6%) for 1936 yards (3rd in CCC Football) with 19 touchdowns (3rd) and just one interception. Service gained an additional 432 yards on the ground with five rushing touchdowns. His 2368 yards of total offense are good for second in CCC Football. A two-time conference Offensive Player of the Week this season, Service surpassed Justin Walz '10 as the program's all-time passing touchdown leader after he threw for two scores at Becker on October 21.
Hoff earns All-CCC Football second team honors following a breakout sophomore campaign in which he ran for 544 yards (3rd in CCC Football) and six touchdowns (T-3rd) with 5.1 yards per carry (3rd). He topped the 100-yard mark twice, including a 115-yard performance against Endicott on October 14, and a 142-yard effort at Curry on November 4.
Edouard, the 2016 New England Football Conference (NEFC) Defensive Player of the Year and two-time All-NEFC selection, earns CCC Football Defensive Lineman of the Year honors after another dominant season for the Golden Bears. The Roosevelt, N.Y. native compiled 47 tackles (3.5 for loss) and helped lead a defensive unit that surrendered just 19.2 points per game (2nd in CCC Football).
Olsson also earns All-Conference honors for the third straight season. The senior safety ranked second on the team and sixth in CCC Football with 71 tackles. Olsson also picked off three passes and broke up seven, both of which rank second in the conference.
Rounding out Western New England's First Team Defense selections are Stergas and Jolicoeur, both of whom were recognized as All-NEFC performers for the first time last season. Stergas ranked fourth in the conference in sacks (five) and tied for seventh with 9.5 tackles for loss, while Jolicoeur recorded 66 tackles (9th), including 8.5 for loss (T-11th), two forced fumbles, two pass breakups, and an interception that he returned for a touchdown.
House made an immediate impact during his first season with the program en route to Defensive Rookie of the Year accolades. The three-time Defensive Rookie of the Week honoree tied Olsson for the team lead with seven pass breakups, while also totaling 40 tackles, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Metelus collects All-Conference honors for the second straight season after receiving an All-NEFC second team nod last fall in a special teams utility role. Taking over one of the cornerback spots full time this season, Metelus recorded four pass breakups to go with 21 tackles.
Huffam is being recognized as an All-Conference performer for the first time after tallying 52 tackles (eight for loss, one sack), a forced fumble, one pass breakup and one interception.
Davis, a Springfield native, earns First Team honors as a kick returner after leading CCC Football with 27.1 yards per return. He brought the opening kickoff back 90 yards for a touchdown in Western New England's win over Endicott, setting the tone for the 41-14 triumph. DeCoste joins Davis on the First Team as a Utility selection.
Wagner was a perfect 45-for-45 on extra point opportunities this fall, while Lalumia ranked second in the conference with 36.4 yards per punt, pinning a league-high 14 kicks inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
Western New England (8-2, 5-0 CCC Football) will be making its third straight appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament on Saturday, when the Golden Bears travel to Doylestown, Pa. for a first round contest at No. 5/7 Delaware Valley University.