Football - Thu, Nov. 16, 2006
Findlay, Ohio - Senior wide receiver Andy Ricca (LaPorte, Ind./Michigan City) was named the Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Midwest League Player of the Year and the No. 9 ranked Saint Xavier University football team landed 17 players on the MSFA All-Midwest League Teams when the league office released the honors Thursday. SXU had seven First Team selections, five Second Team honorees, and five players earning Honorable Mention consideration. It is the second straight year that the Cougars have nabbed the MSFA Midwest League Player of the Year honor.
Receiving first team honors as well Ricca leads Saint Xavier with 63 catches for 679 receiving yards and all-purpose yards averaging 92.6 total yards a game. In addition to Ricca, sophomore quarterback Billy Yeo (Matteson, Ill./Western Michigan University) also received first team recognition with 2,017 passing yards on 188 completions with 19 touchdowns (four rushing) and just three interceptions. Joining Ricca and Yeo on the first team offense were senior wide receiver Greg Gerritsen (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) with 41 catches for 467 yards and seven touchdowns, senior offensive tackle Charlie Russ (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) as the Cougars' starting left tackle for the past three seasons, and junior placekicker Shane Longest (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington) with a league-leading 13 field goals made.
On the defensive side, senior linebacker Sean Kenney (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg) earned first team recognition behind his team-leading 78 tackles (52 solos), including 4.0 tackles for losses. Senior punter Sean Collins (Niles, Ill./Notre Dame) was also on the first team defense with the best punt average (39.3 yards per punt) in the MSFA Midwest League.
On the All-MSFA Midwest League Second Team, the Cougars had sophomore running back Jason Banning (Wilmington, Ill./Northern Illinois University) and sophomore starting center Kevin Zientek (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) on the offensive side. Saint Xavier defensive players earning second team honors included: junior defensive lineman Justin Tuffs (Mokena, Ill./Stagg), sophomore linebacker Joe Miller (Chicago, Ill./Gordon Tech), and junior defensive back Mike Wilkinson (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita). Honorable mention selections for the Cougars were: junior wide receiver Jim Doherty (Evergreen Park, Ill./Evergreen Park), junior defensive end Brett Farmer (Wilmington, Ill./Joliet Junior College), sophomore defensive end Scott Kooistra (Chicago, Ill./Shepard), senior linebacker John Klupshas (Oak Lawn, Ill./De La Salle), and senior defensive back Tom Regnier (Manteno, Ill./Bishop McNamara).
Saint Xavier is making its second straight trip to the NAIA Championship Series and will take on No. 7 ranked Georgetown College (Ky.) at 1:30 p.m. (eastern) on Saturday, November 18, at Toyota Stadium in Georgetown, Ky. It is the third postseason appearance for the Cougars in the 14-year history of the program.