SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Western New England University football team was heavily represented when the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) announced its award winners and All-CCC selections on Tuesday morning.
The 2019 CCC champion Golden Bears collected four major awards and a league-best 13 All-CCC selections.
Second-year head coach Jason Lebeau '10 received Coach of the Year honors, while senior quarterback Alec Coleman (Arlington, Mass.) was named the Co-Offensive Player of the Year and junior linebacker Erich Keutmann (Washingtonville, N.Y.) garnered Co-Defensive Player of the Year recognition. Additionally, senior offensive lineman Liam McDonnell (Methuen, Mass.) earned the Hal Chalmers Award as the league's top senior scholar-athlete.
Western New England saw six student-athletes land on the All-CCC first team – Keutmann, McDonnell, senior running back Jamyre Soberanis (Dorchester, Mass.), junior center Cade Watkins (Point Pleasant, N.J.), sophomore defensive back Bailey Devine-Scott (Wattle Grove, Australia) and senior linebacker Jake Salera (Rehoboth, Mass.).
Seven Golden Bears earned spots on the All-CCC second team – Coleman, junior wide receiver Steven Fedorchak (Guilderland, N.Y.), senior offensive lineman Tom Zappavigna (Mahopac, N.Y.), junior defensive backs Tucker Hartmann (Anthem, Ariz.) and Aaron Lamar (North Conway, N.H.), sophomore linebacker Joshua Salem (Dracut, Mass.) and senior kicker Kieran Lombard (Dover, N.H.).
Lebeau earns Coach of the Year honors for the first time in his career after leading the Golden Bears (9-1, 7-0 CCC Football) to their third straight CCC title and fifth consecutive conference championship overall. Western New England went undefeated against Division III competition this season with the team's only loss coming against NCAA Division I FCS program Stetson University back in September. Lebeau's squad led the CCC in many statistical categories, including scoring offense (40.6 PPG), total offense (487.2 YPG), third down conversion rate (48%) and sacks (24).
Coleman repeats as Offensive Player of the Year following another impressive campaign directing the Western New England attack. Through the end of the regular season, he has completed 146-of-214 pass attempts (68.2%) for 1,974 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. Coleman has posted a career-best 165.7 quarterback efficiency rating which leads the CCC. He has also rushed for 304 yards and nine touchdowns on 62 attempts (4.9 avg.).
Keutmann enjoyed a breakout junior season on his way to Co-Defensive Player of the Year recognition. He led the CCC and currently ranks fourth in all of NCAA Division III with 119 total tackles. Seven of his tackles resulted in a loss of yardage, including three sacks. Keutmann posted seven 10+ tackle efforts this season, including impressive performances of 23 stops against Endicott on 11/2 and 19 tackles the following week on the road at Becker (11/9).
McDonnell is Western New England's second consecutive Hal Chalmers Award winner. A biomedical engineering major with a 3.67 GPA, McDonnell is a two-time CCC Football All-Academic honoree and a Chi Alpha Sigma National College Athlete Honor Society inductee.
Soberanis was among the top running backs in the conference this season with 14 rushing touchdowns and 929 rushing yards, which rank second and third in the CCC, respectively. He also gained an impressive 6.7 yards per attempt, good for third in the league. Soberanis has topped the 100-yard mark in each of the past five games and six times this season overall, with a career-best 168 yards in Western New England's 50-38 win at UNE on September 28. The junior found the end zone on the ground in all but two of ten regular season games, with four multi-touchdown performances.
Devine-Scott is a first time All-CCC honoree this season after compiling 58 total tackles (4th on the team) with two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and a CCC-high 14 pass breakups. He made a season-high 12 stops and broke up four passes in Western New England's season-opening win over Springfield (9/7) before recording 11 tackles two weeks later against Stetson (9/21).
Salera also earns All-CCC first team distinction for his role as a special teams utility player. In ten regular season contests, he totaled 45 tackles (5th on the team) with one sack, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.
Fedorchak established himself as one of the top receivers in the CCC during his record breaking junior season. The Guilderland, N.Y. native tied for the conference lead in receiving touchdowns (10) and ranked second in the league with 979 receiving yards, which set a single-season Western New England record. Fedorchak's top performance came in the Golden Bears' 56-35 win over Westfield State on September 13, when he broke the program's records for both receiving yards (319) and receiving touchdowns (five).
Hartmann and Lamar were key members of Western New England's defensive secondary this season en route to earning All-CCC honors for the first time. Hartmann made 40 tackles and ranked second in the CCC with 12 pass breakups, while Lamar recorded 64 stops, a forced fumble, two interceptions and three pass breakups.
Salem has also been a top performer for the Golden Bears all year with 85 tackles, good for second on the team and sixth in the CCC, to go along with two interceptions, a pass breakup and a blocked kick. He finished with 10+ tackles on five occasions this season and turned in a 16-tackle effort with an interception in Western New England's 38-31 triumph over Salve Regina on October 19.
Rounding out Western New England's 13 All-CCC honorees is Lombard, who made significant contributions both as a kicker and punter. His ten made field goals during the regular season ranked third in the CCC, while his 82 total points were good for second. Lombard was successful on 52-of-54 (96%) extra point opportunities. He also punted 15 times for an average of 37.4 yards while pinning six kicks inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
Western New England will host Brockport in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday (11/23) with opening kickoff set for 12 p.m. at Golden Bear Stadium.