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Saxons place 11 on Empire 8 All-Conference football teams
11/17/11

ALFRED, NY - Nick Clark (Canisteo, NY/Canisteo-Greenwood), a senior linebacker on the Alfred University football team, repeated as Empire 8 Conference Defensive Player of the Year and was among 11 Saxons named a conference all-star.

The Empire 8 announced its all-conference teams today and Clark was named a First Team pick for a third straight year. He was joined on First Team by fellow Saxons Mike Raplee (Dundee, NY/Dundee), a junior linebacker; Marcellus Jones (Lancaster, NY/Lancaster), a senior defensive end; Austin Dwyer (Hornell, NY/Hornell), a sophomore tailback; and Eric Rockwood (Allegany, NY/Allegany-Limestone), a senior placekicker.

The Empire 8 named six AU players to the Second Team - including Dwyer, named as a kick and punt returner - and gave one Saxon honorable mention.

Clark earned all-conference honors for a fourth year - he was a Second Team pick as a freshman in 2008 - after leading the team in tackles (103) and the conference in tackles per game (10.3). Entering this weekend’s ECAC Northeast Bowl championship game at Bridgewater State, he has 54 solo tackles, nine tackles for loss and three sacks, has forced two fumbled and had two interceptions, one of which he returned 57 yards for a touchdown. He has 372 career tackles, a school record, and also ranks second on the team this year in rushing touchdowns with eight.

Raplee was awarded First Team honors for a second straight year after earning honorable mention as a freshman in 2009. He has 68 tackles (24 solo), including eight for loss and a team-leading 4.5 sacks.

Jones, a three-year starter at end for the Saxons who led the teams in sacks as a junior last season, becomes an Empire 8 all-star for the first time. He has 45 tackles, including 5.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks, and has forced a fumble.

Dwyer, last year’s conference Rookie of the Year, was named to the First Team for a second straight season. He leads the team in rushing yards (933) and rushing TDs (nine). An honoree as an all-purpose runner and kick returner last year, he received Second Team honors as a return man this year after averaging 21.6 yards per kick return, with an 85-yard return for a touchdown last weekend against Utica.

Rockwood earned First Team honors for a second consecutive year after earning Second Team accolades as a sophomore in 2009. The Saxons’ leading scorer this season with 66 points, he has made 30 of 35 extra points and 12 field goals. Earlier this season, Rockwood became the school’s career leader in points scored kicking and PATs made.

Junior tight end Adam Schutz (Geneva, NY/Geneva), senior center Tim Demersman (Rochester, NY/Rush-Henrietta) and sophomore left tackle Ryan DiFlavio (West Seneca, NY/West Seneca West) were named to the Second Team on offense, while senior linebacker Wes Smith (Turbotville, PA/Muncy) and junior free safety Jon Jackson (East Amherst, NY/Bishop Timon-St. Jude) were named on defense. Junior free safety Reggie Pressley (Rochester, NY/Gates-Chili) was given honorable mention.

Schutz has 36 catches for 425 yards and a team-leading five touchdowns in his first season as the Saxons’ starting tight end. Demersman in his first season as a starter, and DiFlavio, in his second, are first-time all-conference honorees. They play on a line that has helped the AU offense produce 373 yards per game (180 rush/193 pass) while allowing only 11 sacks.

Smith, who earned Second Team all-conference honors as a sophomore in 2009, has 64 tackles (32 solo), including two sacks and a team-leading 9.5 for loss. He also has one fumble recovery. Jackson, in his first year as a full-time starter for the Saxons, has 36 tackles (30 solo) and leads the team with three interceptions, with four pass breakups.
Pressley has 48 tackles (26 solo) and is tied for the team lead in pass breakups with nine.

Each season, the Empire 8 honors students-athletes from each conference school, who play on teams sponsored by the conference, with Sportsperson of the Year awards. Honorees, chosen by their coaches, exhibited outstanding sportsmanship in keeping with the conference’s mission of "competing with honor and integrity." Senior quarterback T.J. Kilcarr (Nanuet, NY/Clarkstown North) is AU’s honoree from the football team.