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Six from Alfred University earn D3football.com regional honors
12/09/10

ALFRED, NY — Six members of the Alfred University football team have been named D3football.com East Region all-stars.

D3football.com, a leading website covering Division III college football, announced its regional all-star teams today. Four Saxons earned First Team honors; one was named to the Second Team and another to the Third Team. Alfred’s six regional all-stars are tied with Delaware Valley for most in the East.

Senior wide receiver Ryan Thon (Victor, NY/Victor) and senior left tackle Zach Morgan (Homer, NY/Homer) were named First Team Offense and junior linebacker Nick Clark (Canisteo, NY/Canisteo-Greenwood) and sophomore tackle Mike Raplee (Dundee, NY/Dundee) were named First Team Defense.

Junior cornerback Roland O’Brien (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls) was named Second Team Defense and senior center Jeff VanDewalker (Cicero, NY/Cicero-North Syracuse) was named Third Team Defense.

Thon, a First Team Empire 8 Conference all-star, finished the season with a school single-season record 73 catches for 949 yards (second most in a season at AU) and 15 touchdowns (tied for the school single-year record). In a game against Hartwick Oct. 9, he caught four TD passes to set a new school record, then duplicated the mark in the first half of AU’s first-round NCAA playoff win over Maritime on Nov. 20.

Morgan is a three-time Empire 8 all-star, earning First Team honors as a junior and again this year, his senior season. He played on a line that produced 380 yards of offense (162 rushing, 281 passing). Morgan was responsible for allowing only one quarterback sack all season.

Clark is the 2010 Empire 8 Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time conference all-star. He led the Saxons in tackles with 112 and had 12.5 tackles for loss and four sacks to go with three interceptions, five pass breakups and a fumble recovery. In Alfred’s three NCAA playoff games, Clark had 32 tackles (five for loss, two sacks) and an interception.

Raplee, an honorable mention all-Empire 8 pick as a freshman in 2009, was a First Team selection this season. He was second on the team with 87 tackles. His 18 tackles for loss led the Saxons and his six sacks ranked second.

O’Brien, a First Team Empire 8 all-star, had 36 tackles and led the team in interceptions (eight) and pass breakups (13). At one point in the season, he had six straight games with an interception — including one returned for a score against St. John Fisher — and had one in Alfred’s season-ending loss to Mount Union in the NCAA playoffs.

VanDewalker, a team captain, was named an Empire 8 all-star for the first time this season, earning First Team honors. He played on a line that produced 380 yards of offense (162 rushing, 281 passing). VanDewalker was responsible for allowing only one quarterback sack all season.

Alfred went 10-3 this year, winning the program’s first two NCAA playoff games before falling to second-ranked Mount Union on Dec. 4 in the quarterfinals (final eight) of the NCAA Division III championship tournament. AU went 5-0 in conference games and repeated as Empire 8 Conference champions, winning the conference title outright for the first time in team history. The Saxons’ 10 wins tied the 1981 team for the most in a season in school history.