Findlay, Ohio - Highlighted by nine first team selections, the No. 18 ranked Saint Xavier University football team landed 12 different players on the 2013 Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) All-Midwest League Team when the league office released the honors over the weekend. In addition to the nine first-team selections, SXU also had two second team selections and three players receive honorable mention recognition. Two players, junior Nick DeBenedetti (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) and senior Spencer Nolen (Columbia, Tenn./Nevada/UT-Chattanooga//Columbia Central), were honored in two categories with DeBenedetti claiming first team recognition as both a wide receiver and return specialist, while Nolen was a first team punter and second team place-kicker.
Along with DeBenedetti and Nolen, the other Cougars on the first team were senior running back Nick Pesek
(Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn Community), senior offensive lineman Tim Ladd
(Chicago, Ill./St. Rita), senior linebacker Zach Dolph
(Crest Hill, Ill./Joliet Catholic), senior linebacker Dave Marciano
(Chicago, Ill./Eastern Illinois/St. Rita), junior defensive lineman Greg Hayward
(Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) and senior defensive back Jacob Ghinazzi
(Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic). SXU had freshman wide receiver Stephen Simms
(Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) join Nolen on the second team. The three Cougars awarded honorable mention accolades were red-shirt freshman offensive lineman Luke Rowell
(Chicago, Ill./University of Indianapolis/Brother Rice), freshman offensive lineman Kevin Lonergan
(Oak Lawn, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) and junior defensive lineman JD Barchard
(Crystal Lake, Ill./Sioux Falls/Crystal Lake South).
"Even though we didn't have the kind of season we're accustomed to having, it's still nice that so many of our guys received individual recognition from the MSFA," said Saint Xavier University football coach Mike Feminis
. "I'm particularly happy for our senior captains Dave Marciano
, Zach Dolph
, Jacob Ghinazzi
, Tim Ladd
and Nick Pesek
, who were all voted to the first team. They were all great leaders and very instrumental in helping us win the NAIA National Championship in 2011 and solidifying our program as one of the best in the nation. But as good as they were on the field, they're some of the best character kids I've ever coached and I know they will all find huge success in whatever they do."
Saint Xavier finished the 2013 campaign with a 7-4 overall record and took third place in the MSFA final Midwest League standings at 4-2. With their No. 18 national ranking, the Cougars just missed qualifying for the 16-team NAIA Football Championship Series.