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Alfred University football team presents 2010 season awards
2/24/11

ALFRED, NY — The Alfred University football team announces its 2010 awards, handed out at the team banquet Saturday, Feb. 19.

Junior linebacker Nick Clark (Canisteo, NY/Canisteo-Greenwood) was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. Clark led the team in tackles with 112 and as the Saxons’ short-yardage back led the squad in touchdown runs with 12. He had 12.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and three interceptions and was named the Empire 8 Conference Defensive Player of the Year and a First Team conference all-star. Clark was an ECAC North all-star, a D3football.com First Team East Region selection and a D3football.com Third Team All-American.

Senior wide receiver Ryan Thon (Victor, NY/Victor) was named recipient of the Hal Brown Award as Offensive MVP. Thon caught 73 passes (a new school single-season record) for 949 yards and a school record-tying 15 touchdowns. Twice during the season he caught four TD passes in a game, which set a new school record. He was named a First Team Empire 8 all-star, a D3football.com East Region all-star and a D3football.com honorable mention All-American.

For the second year in a row, senior outside linebacker Chad Pieri (LeRoy, NY/Caledonia-Mumford) was presented the Alex Yunevich Award as Defensive MVP. Pieri, a four-time Empire 8 all-star and Second Team pick in 2010, finished his senior campaign with 79 tackles (9.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks).

Other team awards presented include:

Special Teams MVP — Junior placekicker/punter Eric Rockwood (Allegany, NY/Allegany-Limestone). Rockwood made 56 of 59 extra points tries (the 56 PATs made set a new school single-season record) and was five of six on field goal attempts. His 71 points were the most ever for a kicker in a season in AU history and he also established a new record for consecutive PAT kicks made (50, from the last game of the 2008 season to the first game of the 2010 season). Rockwood was installed as the Saxons’ punter late in the season and averaged 37 yards on 26 kicks (11 landed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line). He earned First Team Empire 8 honors as a kicker.

Bob Carley Memorial Award — Junior defensive end Marcellus Jones (Lancaster, NY/Lancaster). The Carley Award is given to a player who displays a positive attitude and exceptional work ethic. Jones was fifth on the team in tackles with 58 (11 for loss) and led the team in sacks with eight.

Pete DeRose Memorial Award — Sophomore cornerback Roland O’Brien (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls). The award recognizes character, heads-up play and scrappiness. O’Brien, who also won the award last season, finished the year with 36 tackles and a team- and conference-leading eight interceptions and 13 pass breakups. He was a First Team Empire 8 and ECAC North all-star and was a D3football.com Second Team East selection.

Fred Yanni Award — Freshman tailback Austin Dwyer (Hornell, NY/Hornell). The award is given to a freshman who shows great enthusiasm and love for the game and is a team player. Dwyer rushed for a school single-season record 1,412 yards with eight touchdowns, caught 33 passes for 241 yards and a TD, and had 404 return yards with a touchdown. He was the Empire 8 Rookie of the Year, First Team conference all-star and the ECAC North Rookie of the Year.

Gene Castrovillo Award — Junior offensive lineman Harold Spetla (Tupper Lake, NY/Tupper Lake). The award is given to a player who exhibits perseverance, hard work and dedication.

Saxon Club Award — The award is given to players who have at least seven outstanding games throughout the course of the season. The winners are Clark, Dwyer, Jones, senior offensive tackle Zach Morgan (Homer, NY/Homer), senior tight end D.J. Loughlin-Pope (Corning, NY/Corning East), junior quarterback Tom Secky (Bemus Point, NY/Maple Grove), Thon and senior center Jeff VanDewalker (Cicero, NY/Cicero-North Syracuse).

Purple and Gold Awards — The awards are given to top players on the scout teams. Junior tailback Derek Echevarria (New York, NY/Cardinal Hayes) won the award for offense and freshman linebacker Jalen Gayle (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara Falls) won for defense.

The Saxons finished the 2010 season with a 10-3 record, claiming the Empire 8 title outright with a 5-0 conference record. The Saxons won two NCAA playoff games before falling to eventual national runner-up Mount Union in the tournament quarterfinals. Thirteen Saxons earned all-conference recognition and head coach Dave Murray was named Empire 8 Coach of the Year for the second straight year.