The Minnesota College Athletic Conference opened up the 2017 NJCAA football season on Saturday, September 2, with a full slate of six contests in the MCAC. In Week 1, all MCAC football teams take on a team from the opposite division, as programs look to shake off the rust from the pre-season camps which began in mid-August. A handful of student-athletes turned in stellar Week 1 performances which turned heads across the Conference. For their standout efforts, the following Eastern Division athletes have been tabbed Player-of-the-Week at their respective roles.
MCAC Eastern Division Offensive Player-of-the-Week:
The Thunder of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College hosted Ridgewater College to open the 2017 campaign. A final score of 13-6 in favor of the visiting Warriors points to a couple of offenses looking to get a track in the young season. The one exception, however, was FDL running back Lorine Parker, who put together an admirable performance carrying the football. The sophomore from Zephyrhills, Florida carried 29 times for 198 yards and tallied the lone Thunder touchdown. The workhorse back leads all of NJCAA football in yards per game after Week 1, almost 10 more than the next closest competitor. Week 1 Offensive POW Parker and his FDL teammates will line up against Northland CTC on Saturday, Sept. 9th at Public School Stadium, in Duluth, Mn.
MCAC Eastern Division Defensive Player-of-the-Week:
Long wind sprints at the end of practice is commonplace in college football preseason camps around the country. For Central Lakes College defensive back Marnez Trotter, chances are he excelled in the Raiders long-distance running activities in August, as he returned a fumble 95 yards for a touchdown as time expired in the first half to tally CLC's first touchdown of the year and change the momentum in a tight opening week contest against Minnesota West. Trotter wasn't a one-hit wonder either, as he turned in 9 total tackles - 8 of the solo variety - in the Raiders 28-12 victory over the Bluejays. The freshman from Cottage Grove, and his Raider teammates, likely will run a sprint or two this week as they prepare for their showdown with North Dakota State College of Science, who was in the 'receiving votes' category in the preseason national poll, and was a finalist in the 2016 MCAC State Championship game.
MCAC Eastern Division Special Teams Player-of-the-Week:
Mesabi Range College kicker Connor Cusick was a busy man in the first week of MCAC football action. Cusick handles both the punting and placekicking duties for the Norsemen, and he kept his leg warm in their season opening 42-15 win over M State. Cusick was a perfect 6-for-6 in PATS following Mesabi Range touchdowns, leading the league in that category. On the occasions that a Norsemen drive stalled, he punted successfully four times, with a long boot of 42 yards and a 4-kick average of 32 yards on the day. For his top-flight first week performance, Connor Cusick has earned MCAC Eastern Division Special Teams Player-of-the-Week.
Other Notable Week 1 Performances in the Eastern Conference:
They say defense wins championships, and if that's the case, there were two championship caliber defensive performances in Week 1 of MCAC Eastern Division football. At Central Lakes College, Linus Segbe served notice he will be a force to reckon with in 2017, as he picked up 3 sacks among his five solo tackles against Minnesota West in the Raiders season-opening 28-12 win. His sack total puts him in the top five nationally in that category for the #13 Central Lakes College. Joining Segbe on the national stage was Rochester CTC linebacker, Brandon Perce, who tallied 14 tackles against Northland CTC in the Yellowjackets 23-12 loss. Perce found his way into the backfield to garner a sack among his 8 solo tackles and was credited for 6 assists as well. For their strong showings in a pair of opening week outings, Segbe and Perce are both in the top five nationally.
Central Lakes placekicker Antoine Akundu went a perfect 4-for-4 on PAT's in week one for the Raiders.
Mesabi Range quarterback Deabrie Smith was 11-17 for a 173 yards and two TD's in Week 1, earned a division-best 189.0 effeicency rating.
Itasca's Jamauri Bennett, a freshman defensive end, racked up 10 total tackles in Week 1 and assisted on a sack with linebacker Sam Moberg, who had 7 tackles on the day.
Vermilion Community College took on one the longest road-trips in the MCAC (Ely-to-Wahpeton, ND 600+ miles roundtrip) and one of the top teams in NJCAA football, North Dakota State College of Science, and gave the Wildcats a scare, dropping a tight game, 23-20. The Ironmen play at home in Week 2, when they host M State Fergus Falls at 3pm in Ely.
For more information on the 2017 Minnesota College Athletic Conference football season, be sure to bookmark these links:
The Minnesota College Athletic Conference website main page is: http://www.mcacsports.org/landing/index
This release sponsored in part by Gopher Sport.
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