November 19, 2014

Widener Football - 19 Pride players take home All-Middle Atlantic Conference Honors

SR LB Brandon Harper (Image: John Green)
Chester, PA (Nov. 19, 2014) – Senior outside linebacker Brandon Harper (Blackwood, NJ/Highland)was tabbed Middle Atlantic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Mike Kelly was picked Coach of the Year as part of the 19 honors given to 10th-ranked Widener for the league’s annual awards.

Harper was one of 10 for the Pride named first team all-league. He joins senior All-America Anthony Davis (Upland, PA/Chester), junior fullback Robert Getz (Kunkletown, PA/Pleasant Valley), sophomore left guard Anthony Brooks (Easthampton, NJ/Rancocas Valley), senior defensive tackleJohn DiBiase (Mount Laurel, NJ/Lenape), senior defensive lineman Tyler Glover (Darby, PA/Penn Wood), junior defensive tackle Shakore Philip (Bay Shore, NY/Bay Shore), senior linebacker Kevin Burns (Collingdale PA/West Catholic), senior cornerback Ameer Sorrell (Port Norris, NJ/Penns Grove) and sophomore safety Sean Titus (Lancaster, PA/Lancaster Catholic).

Sophomore quarterback Seth Klein (Wernersville, PA/Wilson West Lawn), senior running back Terrant Morrison (Smyrna, DE/Smyrna), senior tight end Brian DiGiovanni (Glen Mills, PA), sophomore wide receiver Montrell Hicks-Taylor (Newark, DE) and junior defensive end Stacey Sunnerville (Freehold, NJ/Freehold) all were picked second team. Freshman Alex Stewart (Pittsgrove, NJ/Arthur P. Schalick), senior punter Michael Bennett (Maple Glen, PA) and junior kicker Ryan O’Hara (Royersford, PA/Spring-Ford) were tabbed Honorable Mention.

Harper dominated at his post and has been the leader of one of the nation’s top defenses. One of the league’s toughest to go against either in the run or pass, Harper is tied for 10th in the conference with 10 tackles for a loss and tied for 11th with 6.8 tackles per game.

Kelly has made more than a good first impression in his initial campaign. He has won his first 10 games as head coach, the longest such winning and unbeaten streaks in school history. The previous unbeaten run was held by Dutch Sommer, who went 5-0-2 during his only season in 1913.

Davis earned his fourth first team All-MAC honor and this comes as no surprise with yet another impressive campaign. He is 29th in the country with 963 receiving yards, 84th with 126.3 all-purpose yards per game, tied for second in the MAC with 10 receiving touchdowns and sixth with 5.4 receptions per game.

Davis is first in school history with 241 career receptions, 6,298 all-purpose yards, 3,674 receiving yards and 1,685 kickoff return yards. He also is second with 41 touchdown catches and third with 45 touchdowns. He has been voted All-America the last two years and was last year’s MAC Offensive Player of the Year.

Getz has been a workhorse in the backfield and has helped create a balance for the offense. He is averaging 18.3 rushing yards per game, 8.2 receptions per contest, three touchdowns and 318 all-purpose yards.

Brooks has been one of many offensive linemen who gives Klein and everyone else plenty of time to effectively operate. This has helped the offense presently sit 23rd with 40.5 points per game, 31st with 465.3 yards of total offense per game, 33rd with 278.9 passing yards per game and 51st with 222 first downs.

DiBiase moves up the ladder after getting picked Honorable Mention last season. A determined competitor who is one of four honorees for Widener on the defensive line, he has 21 tackles, 7 1/2 tackles for a loss and four sacks.

Glover makes the most of his playing time amongst a talented defensive line that is one of the nation’s most feared. He is 25th in the country with nine sacks and seventh in the conference with 11 tackles for a loss.

If one is trying to go away from these guys, Philip is not the one to go near. Named first team All-MAC and second team All-ECAC South last season, Philip this season has 32 tackles, nine for a loss and 1 1/2 sacks.

Burns has had a massive campaign at inside linebacker and is one of its key leaders. A threat in any situation much like Harper, Burns this season is 30th in the nation with 17.5 tackles for a loss, tied for first on the team with 68 tackles and also has 3 1/2 sacks.

Sorrell can do it all on defense and on special teams. His defense has him 32nd in the country with five interceptions and fourth on the team with 36 tackles to go with an interception return for a touchdown November 1 vs. Stevenson. Sorrell’s work on special teams has seen him return three blocked punts for a touchdown.

Titus has been one of the many players who teams would like to avoid in the secondary, but simply can not. His presence and his intuitive play has him second in the nation with nine interceptions (220 return yards) and tied for fifth on the team with 35 tackles. Titus has three games this season with two interceptions and he also returned one 96 yards for a score November 8 at King’s.

Klein has put forth yet another spectacular campaign, one season after being picked MAC and ECAC South Rookie of the Year as well as Honorable Mention all-conference. This season, he is 10th in the country with 29 touchdown passes, 34th with 256.7 passing yards per game, 46th with 262.7 yards of total offense per contest and 56th with a .614 completion percentage.

Klein is third in school history with 449 career completions, fourth with 5,376 career passing yards, sixth with 46 career touchdown passes and fifth with 29 touchdown passes this season.

Morrison took over the starting tailback role early in the season and held on to it like it belonged to him. A great competitor who been one of the catalysts for a solid ground attack, he is sixth in the conference with 78.9 rushing yards per game and ninth with six rushing touchdowns.

DiGiovanni has been one of many options on offense and has worked hard to get this well-deserved award. He has 13 catches for 107 yards this season and two touchdowns with at least one reception in all nine games he has played in this year.

Sunnerville took over the starting role during his freshman campaign and has not relinquished it, getting his second-straight, second-team honor. This season, his game has evolved thanks to the new regime and he continues to be one of the vital parts of this machine. He is tied for sixth in the MAC this season with 5 1/2 sacks, third on the team with 48 tackles and fourth with 9 1/2 tackles for a loss.

The defense is the key principle by remaining number one in the country in rushing defense with only 54.4 yards allowed per contest. Helping that figure was the fact the squad yielded minus-19 rushing yards November 1 vs. Stevenson and minus-13 rushing yards September 27 at FDU-Florham.

The unit also is first in the nation with 10.9 tackles for a loss per game, second in turnover ratio (32:8), second with a .448 red zone scoring percentage, fourth with 4.00 sacks per game, 11th with 11.9 points allowed per contest and 23rd with 279.4 yards allowed per game.

Stewart has played a key role on special teams all season on both sides of the ball. His play October 18 against Wilkes proved to be a personal showcase, ending with three blocked punts to tie an NCAA record with two returned for touchdowns. To put that into perspective, no player in the 134-year history of Widener's program had more than two blocked punts in a season.

Bennett is a valuable weapon for the Pride with his ability to pin teams deep in their own territory. He is first in the league with 19 punts inside the 20 yard line and is seventh with a 32.5 yard average per punt. Bennett has landed 13 punts inside the 20 over the last five games, including five in last week’s MAC-clinching victory over No. 15 Delaware Valley.

O’Hara has been there to add periods on many of Widener’s scoring drives this year, nailing 44 extra points to tie for the second most in school history. He is sixth in the MAC with five field goals and on October 18 vs. Wilkes drilled eight extra points to tie his own personal mark that is fourth best in Widener annals.

Widener (10-0, 9-0 MAC) secured its league-record 20th Middle Atlantic Conference title with Saturday's 44-28 victory over No. 15 Delaware Valley, moving to 10-0 for the sixth time in school history. The win gets the Pride into the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years, allowed them to nail down the 12th undefeated regular season in school history and kept the Keystone Cup in Chester for the 25th time in the trophy's 34-year history.

Widener will host No. 22 Muhlenberg in the first round on Saturday at Leslie C. Quick Jr. Stadium, beginning at noon. Ticket prices are $8 for adults and $4 for seniors and students. No complimentary tickets are available and all need to pay admission to gain entrance. It will be the Pride’s 14th appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

The Pride are 17-11 in the NCAA Tournament that include national championships in 1977 and 1981. The squad also is 5-0 in NCAA Tournament games at Quick Stadium and 3-1 in the "Round of 32" in the NCAA Tournament.