Findlay, Ohio - With five of its players earning first team recognition, the No. 24 ranked Saint Xavier University football team recently learned that 15 of its members earned spots on the 2008 Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) All-Mideast Football Team when the league office released the honors late last week. SXU had five first-team selections, seven second-team honorees, and three players earning honorable mention consideration. SXU finished the 2008 season with a 7-4 overall record and ended the year in a three-way tie for second place in the final MSFA Mideast standings with a 4-2 mark.
The five first team selections for Saint Xavier included: senior defensive back Chris Rodgers (Homewood, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor), senior linebacker Joe Miller (Chicago, Ill./Gordon Tech), junior linebacker Mike Lally (Oak Lawn, Ill./St. Rita), junior left tackle Matt Renfro (Rockford, Ill./Boylan) and junior wide receiver Bill McKeon (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic). Rodgers has a phenomenal senior season finishing third on the team in tackles (46) and as the Cougars' leader in pass break-ups (18), interceptions (3) and blocked kicks (4). Miller was second on the Saint Xavier tackle list with 79 total stops, including 10 tackles for losses and five sacks. Lally was stellar defensively all year for the Cougars leading the way with 104 tackles, including team-bests of 24 tackles for losses and eight sacks. Renfro is a two-time All-MSFA first team selection and has been an anchor as the starting left tackle for SXU over the past two seasons. McKeon had a stellar all-around year offensively for Saint Xavier compiling 51 catches for 462 yards and three touchdowns, 37 rush attempts for 157 yards and five TDs and also threw 24 completions for 341 yards. He also finished second in scoring on the team with 48 points.
On the 2008 All-MSFA Mideast League Second Team, the Cougars had senior running back Jason Banning (Wilmington, Ill./Northern Illinois/Wilmington), sophomore wide receiver Xavier Torres (Chicago, Ill./Central Michigan/Lane Tech), sophomore wide receiver Mike Maher (Plainfield, Ill./Providence Catholic) and senior center Kevin Zientek (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) on the offensive side. Saint Xavier defensive players earning second team honors included: senior defensive lineman Joe Welch (Chicago, Ill./Merrimac College/Brother Rice), senior defensive lineman Scott Kooistra (Chicago, Ill./Shepard) and junior defensive lineman Dan Cranmer (Naperville, Ill./Joliet Catholic). Honorable mention selections for the Cougars were: senior quarterback Jeremy Zientek (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist), junior wide receiver Matt McGinnis (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) and junior offensive lineman Joe Leccesi (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan).
Saint Xavier finished 7-4 overall and 4-2 in the final MSFA Mideast League standings. The Cougars completed their ninth straight winning season and finished ranked among the NAIA's Top 25 for the eighth consecutive year. Unfortunately for SXU, this was the first season since 2004 that the team did not qualify for the 16-team NAIA Championship Series.Click here to see the All-MSFA Mideast League page