16 Football Players Receive Conference Honors
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The MLC football team had 16 players receive All-UMAC recognition for their work leading the Knights to the UMAC North championship, including nine First-Team All-UMAC awards and one individual award.
Taylor Bentz (Appleton, Wis./FVL), Ryan Kolander (Brookfield, Wis./WISCO) and Aaron Voss (Williamston, Mich./MLS) received First Team All-UMAC North honors from the offense, while Matt Rothe (Watertown, Wis./LPS), Chuqee Fletcher (Milwaukee, Wis./WISCO), Steve Gurgel (Mequon, Wis./KMLHS), Luke Beilke (New Ulm, Minn./MVL), Joe Lindloff (Saginaw, Mich./MLS) and Ben Reichel (Mitchell, S.D./Luther Prep) were named on the first team on the defensive side. Fletcher was also awarded the UMAC North Defensive Player of the Year.
Receiving Second Team All-UMAC North honors were Nate Buchner (Whitelaw, Wis./Manitowoc LHS), Leslie Arthurton (St. John’s, Antigua/LPS), Ben Zuberbier (Fond du Lac, Wis./WLA), Greg Holzhueter (Mankato, Minn./MVL) and Andrew Becker (Jackson, Wis./KMLHS) from the offense, and Bill Fuerstenau (Germantown, Wis./KMLHS) from the defense. Justin Eternick (Waterloo, Wis./Lakeside) was also named to the second team as a punter.
Kolander and Voss made history for the Knights this season, with Kolander setting the single-season record for touchdown receptions (16) and yards (903), while Voss became the first MLC player to rush for 1,000 yards in two seasons.
Defensively, Fletcher anchored the middle of the defense that ranked first in the division in total defense, scoring defense, rush defense, sacks and pass efficiency defense with a team-high 12 tackles for loss and four sacks amongst his 56 total tackles, while Rothe helped anchor the front from the outside, finishing just behind Fletcher with 11 tackles for loss and tying for the lead in sacks with four.
Behind them at linebacker, Beilke led the team with 69 total tackles, while Gurgel finished with 44 tackles, three sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.
In the secondary, Lindloff finished with a team and UMAC-best six interceptions on the season and also finished second on the team with 62 total tackles, while Reichel broke up a team-high five passes from his cornerback spot.
While Fletcher and Rothe anchored the defense, the four MLC offensive linemen that were recognized by the conference coaches set the offensive tone, helping the Knights lead the conference in total offense, rushing offense, pass efficiency offense, and they also allowed the fewest sacks of any offense in the conference.
Holzhueter and Becker both had productive seasons playing behind the line, with Holzhueter finishing with 19 touchdown passes and 1204 yards through the air, as well as 670 yards rushing and six touchdowns. Becker once again proved to be the Knights’ big-play back, running for 669 yards and a 6.4 yards per carry average with a team-best nine rushing touchdowns.
Fuerstenau, the lone defensive second-teamer, played a big role in keeping defenders off sidekick Fletcher and Rothe on the line and the linebackers playing behind him, but still finished with 6.5 tackles for loss and 25 total tackles.
Eternick led the UMAC in punting with an average of 37.9 yards per punt on 18 attempts, and displayed a knack for placing them inside the 20 yard line, with nine of his attempts falling inside the 20.