Cater, 18 Shepherd players honored by MEC
BRIDGEPORT – Eighteen members of the Shepherd University football team were named to the 2016 all-Mountain East Conference football team as announced by the league office on Tuesday.
Additionally, Shepherd head coach Monte Cater was selected as MEC Coach of the Year.
Cater directed Shepherd to its sixth undefeated regular season and its third Mountain East Conference championship in four years. The Rams are one of just seven undefeated teams in NCAA Division II and are back in the NCAA Playoffs for the third time as the No. 3 seed in Super Region One.
Senior quarterback Jeff Ziemba, senior wide receiver Billy Brown, senior tight end Jamie Deason, junior offensive lineman Lavonte Hights, senior linebacker Octavius Thomas, junior defensive end Myles Humphrey, junior defensive lineman James King, junior linebacker James Gupton and senior defensive back Tre Sullivan were first-team selections.
Ziemba has completed 182-of-266 passes for 2,623 yards and 20 touchdowns. He has completed 68.4 percent of his passes and has a 173.81 pass efficiency rating.
Brown leads the Rams with 65 receptions for 1,009 yards and a team-best 14 touchdown grabs.
Deason has 14 catches for 204 yards and is a key blocker for the Rams.
Hights anchors the Shepherd offensive line as a three-year starter at right tackle.
Thomas paces the Rams in total tackles (70) and solo stops (47). He has added 9.5 tackles-for-loss (-35 yards) and 4.0 sacks (-28 yards). Thomas also has a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception.
Humphrey has recorded 45 tackles (27 solo). He tops the team in tackles-for-loss (14.5 for minus 68 yards) and sacks (7.5 for minus 53 yards). Humphrey adds a team-best four fumble recoveries.
King has 20 tackles (12 solo) on the season. He also has 8.0 tackles-for-loss (-32 yards) and 5.5 sacks (-27 yards. King also has a forced fumble.
Gupton is second on the team with 67 total tackles (30 solo). He adds 7.5 tackles-for-loss (-18 yards) and a half sack (-5 yards). Gupton also has three pass breakups, a fumble recovery, and an interception.
Sullivan has recorded 48 tackles (33 solo). He leads the team in passed breakups (8) and interceptions (2).
Freshman running back Brandon Hlavach, senior offensive lineman Jake Kingston, junior offensive lineman Brandon Wooten redshirt-freshman defensive back Chris Jones, sophomore punter Ruan Venter and return specialist C.J. Davis were second-team selections.
Hlavach has team-bests of 133 carries for 738 yards and 11 touchdowns. He adds nine receptions for 120 yards.
Kingston and Wooten are key components of a Shepherd offensive line that has paved the way for several offensive records to be set in 2016.
Jones has posted 28 tackles (19 solo). He has added four pass breakups, 1.5 tackles for-loss (-2 yards), and an interception.
Venter has punted 31 times for a 43.0 average. He has 14 inside the 20-yard line and nine punts of 50 yards or more.
Davis leads the Ram in kickoff returns with 15 for 468 yards for a 31.2 average. Davis recently gained MEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors after becoming Shepherd’s all-time leader in combined kick return yards.
Davis, junior defensive end Bruno Anyangwe, junior defensive lineman Tatah Ndeh and junior outside linebacker DeAngelo Niler were honorable mention choices.
Davis, Shepherd’s only dual selection, also grabbed honorable mention kudos as he has 51 receptions for 960 yards and six touchdowns in his first season at wide receiver.
Anyangwe has 15 tackles (8 solo) with 9.0 tackles for-loss (-54 yards) and 7.0 sacks (-47 yards). He also has three forced fumbles.
Ndeh has 25 tackles (18 solo) on the year. He has added 8.0 tackles-for-loss (-26 yards) and 3.5 sacks (-11 yards.
Niler has registered 23 tackles (15 solo). He has 7.5 tackles-for-loss (-30 yards) and one sack (-1 yard).