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Empire 8 names AU’s Manzer Offensive Player of the Year; Murray tabbed top coach
11/19/09

ALFRED, NY — Jared Manzer (Johnson City, NY/Johnson City), a senior on the Alfred University football team, has been named Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Year, the conference announced today.

Manzer, a wide receiver/free safety, was among 14 Saxons earning all-conference recognition. Also, AU head coach Dave Murray was named the Empire 8 Coach of the Year after guiding the Saxons to their first-ever conference crown and the team’s first NCAA playoff berth in nearly three decades.

Manzer was among seven AU players to earn First Team recognition. Sophomore quarterback Tom Secky (Bemus Point, NY/Maple Grove), senior tailback Vinson Hendrix (Rochester, NY/East), senior left tackle Dave Carletta (Webster, NY/Webster Schroeder), junior right tackle Zach Morgan (Homer, NY/Homer), sophomore linebacker Nick Clark (Canisteo, NY/Canisteo-Greenwood), and senior punter Pete Marley (Silver Springs, NY/Warsaw) were named to the First Team.

In addition to Offensive Player of the Year honors, Manzer earned all-conference recognition in four categories (First Team in three; Second Team in another). He was named a First Team all-star wide receiver, defensive back and all-purpose player and earned Second Team honors as a kick return specialist.

Manzer, Alfred’s career and single-season record holder in receptions, receiving yardage and touchdown catches, enjoyed a tremendous season as a two-way starter and the team’s primary kick return man. He has 63 catches for 1,007 yards and 15 touchdowns, with his 111.9 yards per game receiving ranking second in the Empire 8 and 15th in the country. His five interceptions (two of which he returned for touchdowns, one a school record-breaking 98 yards) and 12 passes defended lead the Empire 8. He is third in the Empire 8 in kickoff return average (21.3 yards) and punt return average (10.4 yards) and ranks first in the conference and second in the country in all-purpose yards (211.56). It marks the fourth year Manzer has earned all-Empire 8 honors; he was Rookie of the Year and a First Team pick in 2006, earned honorable mention in 2007, and was a First Team selection last season.

Secky, the Empire 8 Rookie of the Year and an honorable mention conference all-star as a freshman in 2008, leads the Empire 8 and ranks sixth nationally in passer efficiency rating (168.84). He has completed 126 of 198 passes for 1,712 yards, 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Hendrix leads the Empire 8 and ranks eighth in all of Division III in rushing yards per game with 135.9. He has run for 1,223 yards on 222 carries (5.5 yards per carry) with 10 rushing TDs and has run for at least 100 yards in seven of nine games this year.

Carletta, in his third season as a starter, and Morgan, a two-year starter, earned all-conference honors for the second times in their careers; both were Second Team selections in 2008. The bookend tackles anchored a line that has helped the Saxons produce 414.4 yards of offense (175.1 rushing; 239.3 passing) per contest this season.

Clark, a Second Team conference all-star as a freshman in 2008, leads the Saxons in tackles 70 and tackles for loss with 5.5 (22 yards). He also has 1.5 sacks, an interception, two pass breakups and a forced fumble.

Marley, an honorable mention all-star in 2008, earned all-conference recognition for a second straight season. His 39.1 punting average easily leads the conference and ranks 26th in the country.

Senior right guard Eric Manning (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls), junior linebacker Chad Pieri (LeRoy, NY/Caledonia-Mumford), sophomore linebacker Wes Smith (Turbotville, PA/Muncy), sophomore defensive back Alec Currier (Peru, NY/Peru) and sophomore placekicker Eric Rockwood (Allegany, NY/Allegany-Limestone) were named Second Team all-stars.

Manning earned all-conference recognition for the first time in his career. A starter for the Saxons the last two seasons, he has been an instrumental part of a line that has helped the Saxons produce 414.4 yards of offense per game this season.

Pieri returned from an injury that caused him to miss the 2008 campaign and earned all-conference honors for the third time in his career. A First Team pick in 2007 and a Second Team selection in 2006, Pieri has 47 tackles this year, including 4.5 for loss and two sacks (tied for the team lead) to go with an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Smith was named an Empire 8 all-star in his first season as a starter as three of the Saxons four starting linebackers earned all-conference recognition. He has 54 tackles (third on the team), including a team-best 37 solo stops and 3.5 for loss. He also has a sack and an interception and has broken up a pair of passes.

Currier, in his first season as a starter, has seen time at strong safety and cornerback. He has 55 tackles (second on the team) and five pass breakups and ranks fourth in the Empire 8 in passes defended and sixth in interceptions.

Rockwood has made all 45 extra point attempts this season and three of six field goal tries and ranks second in the conference in scoring by a kicker (six points per contest). His current streak of 46 Pats made, dating back to last year, is a new school record.

Junior tight end D.J. Loughlin-Pope (Corning, NY/Corning East) and freshman defensive lineman Mike Raplee (Dundee, NY/Dundee) were given honorable mention. Loughlin-Pope, a Second Team pick in 2008, has six catches for 68 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Raplee, who has started at tackle and end for the Saxons, has 36 tackles (4.5 for loss) and is tied for the team lead in sacks with two.

Murray earned Empire 8 Coach of the Year honors for the second time (the first was in 2005) after taking the Saxons to the NCAA Division III championship tournament for only the second time in school history. AU last made the national championships in 1981, when the Saxons lost to visiting Montclair State in the tournament’s first round. Murray has a 76-46-0 record in 12 seasons at AU and has guided the Saxons to 40 wins over the last five years.

Alfred (8-1, 4-1 Empire 8), the third seed in the East Region of the NCAA playoffs, hosts sixth-seeded Albright (9-1, 6-01 MAC) at noon on Saturday, Nov. 21.