PAC & UAA Football Honors Announced; Brown, Saxton & Albrecht Win Major Awards

PAC & UAA Football Honors Announced; Brown, Saxton & Albrecht Win Major Awards

A total of 13 Spartans earned All-Presidents' Athletic Conference honors in 2018, and 22 claimed All-University Athletic Association Honors, including senior defensive end Cameron Brown, who was named both the PAC and UAA Defensive Player of the Year, freshman quarterback Drew Saxton, who was selected as the UAA Offensive Player of the Year and the PAC and UAA Rookie of the Year, and freshman kicker Robertson Albrecht, who was chosen as the UAA Special Teams Player of the Year.

Among the Spartans 13 All-PAC honorees were six first team selections, including Brown, Saxton, Albrecht, senior offensive lineman Steven Bachie, sophomore wide receiver Colt Morgan, and junior safety Patrick Crossey.  Junior linebacker Isaac Withrow was selected to the All-PAC Second Team, while senior wide receivers Luke DiFrancesco, Justin Phan and Joey Spitalli, senior defensive lineman Ian Henderson, junior cornerback Kevin Chrissis and junior offensive lineman Thomas Strayer were each chosen as all-conference honorable mentions.

Brown becomes the first Spartan to be named the PAC Defensive Player of the Year since CWRU rejoined the league as a football affiliate member in 2014.  He finished the year with a school record 15.0 sacks, while his 1.5 sacks per game were the second-most among Division III players during the year.  The team co-captain totaled 49 tackles (28 solo), including 18 for a loss, while hurrying the quarterback a team-high seven times, intercepting one pass and returning it for a touchdown, forcing three fumbles and breaking up a pair of passes.  Brown was twice named to the Team of the Week, a three-time PAC Athlete of the Week selection, and a three-time UAA Athlete of the Week in 2018.  He was also an All-PAC First Team selection, marking the third time in his career he has been an All-PAC selection, and the second-straight year he was named to the first team.

Saxton is the program's first PAC Rookie of the Year, as was also named the first team quarterback on the All-PAC team.  He matched a program record with 34 touchdowns, the third-most among all Division III quarterbacks this year.  He also led all conference quarterbacks with a 62.4% completion percentage (33rd in DIII), 22.1 completions per game (16th in DIII), a 161.0 quarterback efficiency (17th in DIII), and 3,033 passing yards (ninth in DIII).  Saxton was named a two-time PAC Athlete of the Week selection, a four-time UAA Athlete of the Week, and a four-time PAC Rookie of the Week.

Morgan, a first time All-PAC honoree, had one of the best single seasons in program history by a wide receiver, setting a program record 18 receiving touchdowns (the second-most among DIII receivers in 2018), while catching 79 passes for 1,094 yards, each the second-highest total in CWRU history.  He was named to the Team of the Week after catching 15 passes for a program-record 281 yards and three touchdowns against Saint Vincent.  Morgan was named the PAC Athlete of the Week once, and the UAA Athlete of the Week twice during the year.

Crossey claimed All-PAC recognition for the second-straight year, after being named an honorable mention in 2017.  The team co-captain was second on the team with 82 tackles (49 solo), while intercepting two passes, breaking up five others, and forcing one fumble.  He notched three games of 10 or more tackles during the year, including a career-high 16 against Carnegie Mellon on November 10.  Crossey was named the PAC Athlete of the Week once and the UAA Athlete of the Week on three occasions.

Albrecht made an immediate impact with the Spartans, accounting for 75 points during his first season of collegiate football.  He was a perfect nine-for-nine on field goal attempts (the most in program history without a miss), including a season-long 37 yard kick against Waynesburg, and finished the year 27th in Division III and led the PAC with 0.90 field goals per game.  He was also 48-of-49 (98.0%) on extra point tries during the year.  Albrecht was selected as the UAA and PAC Special Teams Athlete of the Week twice, each.

Bachie, a first team honoree, and Strayer, an honorable mention, helped form one of the more formidable offensive lines in the conference during the year.  Each started all 10 games (Bachie at right tackle and Strayer primarily at center) for the team during the year, and helped lead an offense that paced the PAC in total offense with 466.8 yards per game (16th among all Division III teams) and scoring offense with 38.3 points per game (31st in Division III).  It was the first career All-PAC honor for each player.

Withrow was the team's lone second team honoree, after starting all 10 games at inside linebacker and leading the team 87 total tackles and 54 solo stops.  He recorded 3.5 tackles for a loss and half-a-sack, while breaking up a pair of passes and forced one fumble.  Withrow notched 10 or more tackles five times during the year, including a career-high 12 against Geneva.

Two players on the defensive side of the football claimed All-PAC Honorable Mentions.  Henderson secured an All-PAC award for the second-straight season, starting all 10 games and finishing the year with 22 tackles (seven solo), including three for a loss and 2.5 sacks.  He earned a spot on the Team of the Week on September 25th for the second time in his career.  Chrissis totaled three interceptions during the year, including two against Carnegie Mellon (one returned for a touchdown), while breaking up two passes and recording 12 tackles, and claimed his first career All-PAC honor.

A trio of Spartan receivers earned All-PAC honorable mentions.  DiFrancesco notched career-highs with 45 receptions, 663 yards and seven touchdowns, and was named the UAA Athlete of the Week on October 29th.  Phan finished the campaign with 54 catches for 588 yards and three touchdowns, and was selected as the UAA Athlete of the Week twice.  Spitalli added 32 catches for 388 and four touchdowns.  It was the second-straight season that Phan has earned All-PAC recognition, while DiFrancesco and Spitalli each claimed the award for the first time.

Spitalli was also selected as the Spartans' winner of the PAC Sportsmanship Award.

Highlighting the list of UAA honorees were three CWRU players who swept the individual awards, Saxton, Brown and Albrecht.  Saxton made conference history by becoming the first freshman in UAA history to earn a Player of the Year honor.  It marks the third-straight year a Spartan quarterback has earned the UAA Offensive Player of the Year award, after former Spartan Rob Cuda claimed the award each of the last two years, and it is the eighth time overall a CWRU player has claimed the award.  He is also the first CWRU player to earn UAA Rookie of the Year award since Manny Sicre in 2011, and the sixth Spartan to earn the award since it was first issued in 2000.

Brown is the ninth player overall in program history to be named the UAA Defensive Player of the Year and the first since Adam Watson in 2012, while Albrecht was the first Spartan to be named the UAA Special Team Player of the Year since Sean Lapcevic in 2013 and the fifth overall in program history.

Also earning a spot on the All-UAA First Team were Bachie, DiFrancesco, sophomore offensive lineman Dee Gose, Morgan, Strayer, Chrissis, Crossey, Henderson, sophomore linebacker Travis Johnston, and Withrow.  Claiming honorable mentions to the All-UAA team were junior offensive lineman Derek Clontz, sophomore running back Zach Hall, junior running back Sam Jenkins, Phan, sophomore offensive lineman Anthony Polizzi, senior defensive end Tyler Bushman, freshman cornerback Colin Schuster, sophomore safety Joshua Smith and sophomore linebacker Skyler Wadas.

It was the fourth time in his career that Phan had been recognized by the UAA, while Bachie, Brown and Henderson each received All-UAA recognition for the third time in their careers.  Crossey claimed All-UAA honors for the second-straight season.

The Spartans finished the 2018 season with an 8-2 overall record, including a 7-2 mark in PAC games and a 1-1 ledger in the UAA.