2018 CWRU Football Season Recap

2018 CWRU Football Season Recap

The Case Western Reserve University football team combined a high-powered passing offense with an aggressive defense to win eight games and finish second in both the Presidents' Athletic Conference and the University Athletic Association during the 2018 season.

The Spartans finished the campaign with an 8-2 record, improving to 28-4 over the last three seasons.  It was the fourth-straight winning season overall for CWRU, and the team was ranked as high as 18th in the D3football.com Top-25 during the campaign, marking the fourth-straight year the Spartans have been featured in the organization's rankings.

Case Western Reserve went 7-2 in PAC play, finishing a game behind Washington & Jefferson and tied with Westminster for second-place in the conference.  In addition, CWRU went 1-1 in UAA games, finishing a game behind Carnegie Mellon for the league championship.

CWRU was led by American Football Coaches Association All-America Second Team defensive end Cameron Brown, who finished the year second among Division III players with 1.5 sacks per game, and set a program record with 15.0 total sacks, breaking the previous mark of 13.0, set by Derek Messmer in 1995.  The senior also became the first Spartan to be named the PAC Defensive Most Valuable Player since CWRU rejoined the league as a football affiliate member in 2014.  In addition, he was selected to the D3football.com All-South Region First Team, and named the UAA Defensive Player of the Year.

Offensively, freshman quarterback Drew Saxton emerged to lead the Spartans' passing offense, which ended the year ranked sixth among Division III teams with 328.9 passing yards per game.  Saxton set a freshman record with 3,033 passing yards (the third most overall in a single season in program history), while matching the Dan Whalen's single-season Spartan record with 34 passing touchdowns during the year.  Saxton became the first player in conference history to be named the UAA Offensive Player of the Year and the Rookie of the Year in the same season, while also earning D3football.com All-South Region Third Team honors and the PAC Newcomer of the Year Award.

Sophomore Colt Morgan became one of the top receiving threats in the country, earning selection to the D3football.com All-South Region Second Team, and securing a spot on the All-PAC and All-UAA First Teams.  Morgan finished the year second in the country with a program record setting 18 touchdown receptions, while notching the second-most receptions (79) and receiving yards (1,094) in a single-season by a Spartan player.  In addition, freshman kicker Robertson Albrecht was named the UAA Special Teams Player of the Year and the First Team kicker on the All-PAC team, after going a perfect nine-for-nine on field goal attempts and 48-of-49 on extra point tries.

A total of 13 Spartans earned All-PAC honors at the end of the season, with senior tackle Steven Bachie and junior safety Patrick Crossey joining Brown, Saxton, Morgan and Albrecht on the first team, and junior inside linebacker Isaac Withrow securing second team honors.  Twenty-two Spartans were named to the All-UAA team after the season's conclusion.

The Spartans sprinted to a 4-0 start to the campaign, scoring at least 35 points in each game.  After a 38-10 victory at home against Rochester to open the season, Case Western Reserve earned a 49-23 road win over Grove City, during which, Morgan matched a program single-game record with four touchdown receptions, and Saxton threw for 361 yards and five total touchdowns.  The Spartans returned home to defeat Thiel 63-20 behind Saxton's second-straight five touchdown game, matching the second-most points scored in a game in team history.  CWRU capped off its strong start with a 35-14 victory at Westminster (Pa.), outscoring the Titans 21-0 in the second half to secure the win.

The Spartans rose to as high as 18th in the D3football.com Top-25 during their hot start, and entered a key matchup at 12th-ranked Washington and Jefferson on October 6th ranked 19th.  The game proved to be a battle, with Saxton throwing for 414 yards (the second-most by a freshman in program history and the fourth-highest single-game mark ever by a Spartan), including 13 passes for 190 yards to Morgan, who matched the program record again with four touchdown catches.  However, two long touchdowns in the fourth quarter by the Presidents proved to be too much for the Spartans to overcome, as CWRU dropped a 44-36 decision in the end.

Case Western Reserve had a quick and strong rebound from its first loss of the season, led in part by the emergence of Brown as one of the top pass rushers in the country.  The senior defensive end began a stretch of 9.5 sacks in three games with 4.5 sacks during a 37-7 Homecoming win over Saint Vincent on October 13th, which marked both a program record and the most in a single game by a Division III player in 2018.  Morgan added a record-setting receiving day on Homecoming, catching a program-record matching 15 passes for a CWRU record 281 yards, while his three touchdown receptions pushed him past Bryan Erb's 13 in 2015 for the most in a single season in program history.

The Spartans claimed victories in their final two road games of the year, defeating Geneva 27-14 and Bethany 34-3, before returning home for their final two games of the regular season.  A 41-17 win over Waynesburg on November 3rd raised the team's record to 8-1, and put the Spartans in position to secure both a share of the PAC Championship and the UAA title outright with a win over Carnegie Mellon in the 33rd-Annual Academic Bowl.  The Spartans jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the game, and carried a 20-16 advantage into the fourth quarter.  The Tartans grabbed their first lead of the game on a fourth quarter touchdown, before a field goal from Albrecht tied the game at 23-23, helping to send the contest into overtime.  Ultimately, the Tartans were able to prevail in the first extra session, as the Spartans ended the campaign with just their second loss of the year.

The Spartans ended the year atop the PAC in scoring offense (38.3 points per game), total offense (466.8 yards per game), red zone offense (90.9%), passing offense, and team completion percentage (63.3%).  In addition the Spartans were the least penalized team in the league, and had the third fewest penalties per game of any Division III team.

In addition to the team's success on the field during the 2018 campaign, sophomore guard Dee Gose, and All-UAA First Team selection, was also named to the Google Cloud Academic All-America Second Team for his academic and athletic achievements during the year.  Twenty-eight members of the CWRU football team received UAA Fall All-Academic recognition, including sophomore linebacker Michael Amadio, sophomore wide receiver Jacob Berg, sophomore linebacker Brett Carney, sophomore defensive back Steven Clark, Crossey, sophomore wide receiver Joe Dinko, sophomore quarterback Mason Gee-Montgomery, Gose, sophomore running back Zach Hall, junior quarterback Peter Hontas, junior running back Sam Jenkins, sophomore linebacker Travis Johnston, sophomore offensive lineman Ryan Jones, sophomore defensive back Nick Kadlecik, sophomore defensive back Corey King, junior defensive lineman Andrew Lease, junior linebacker Brett Marcus, Morgan, junior defensive lineman Adam Poltrack, sophomore linebacker Austin Subler, sophomore running back Kyle Tucovsky, sophomore linebacker Brian Victor, sophomore linebacker Skyler Wadas, sophomore long snapper Jack Williams, Withrow, sophomore wide receiver/ punter Chase Witte, sophomore defensive end Dylan Zegers and junior tight end Adam Zybko.

CWRU football players won the following awards during the 2018 season:

 

American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-America

Cameron Brown

Senior

Defensive Line

Westlake, Ohio / Westlake

Second Team

 

Cliff Harris Award Finalist

Cameron Brown

Senior

Westlake, Ohio / Westlake

 

D3football.com All-South Region Team

Cameron Brown

Senior

Defensive End

Westlake, Ohio / Westlake

First Team

Colt Morgan

Sophomore

Wide Receiver

Wooster, Ohio / Wooster

Second Team

Drew Saxton

Freshman

Quarterback

South Fayette, Pa. / South Fayette

Third Team

 

Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) Defensive Most Valuable Player

Cameron Brown

Senior

Westlake, Ohio / Westlake

 

PAC Newcomer of the Year

Drew Saxton

Freshman

South Fayette, Pa. / South Fayette

 

University Athletic Association (UAA) Players of the Year

Drew Saxton

Freshman

South Fayette, Pa. / South Fayette

Offense

Cameron Brown

Senior

Westlake, Ohio / Westlake

Defense

Robertson Albrecht

Freshman

Aurora, Ohio / Aurora

Special Teams

 

UAA Rookie of the Year

Drew Saxton

Freshman

South Fayette, Pa. / South Fayette

 

All-PAC

Robertson Albrecht

Freshman

Kicker

Aurora, Ohio / Aurora

First Team

Steven Bachie

Senior

Offensive Line

Berea, Ohio / Berea-Midpark

First Team

Cameron Brown

 Senior

Defensive End

Westlake, Ohio / Westlake

First Team

Patrick Crossey

Senior

Defensive Back

Pittsburgh, Pa. / Plum

First Team

Colt Morgan

Sophomore

Wide Receiver

Wooster, Ohio / Wooster

First Team

Drew Saxton

Freshman

Quarterback

South Fayette, Pa. / South Fayette

First Team

Isaac Withrow

Junior

Linebacker

Winfield, W. Va. / Winfield

Second Team

Kevin Chrissis

Junior

Defensive Back

Pittsburgh, Pa. / Upper St. Clair

Honorable Mention

Luke DiFrancesco

Senior

Wide Receiver

Johnstown, Pa. / Bishop McCort

Honorable Mention

Justin Phan

Senior

Wide Receiver

Atlanta, Ga. / Greater Atlanta Christian

Honorable Mention

Joey Spitalli

Senior

Wide Receiver

Roselle, Ill. / Lake Park

Honorable Mention

Thomas Strayer

Junior

Offensive Line

Mentor, Ohio / Mentor

Honorable Mention

 

PAC Sportsmanship Team

Joey Spitalli

Senior

Roselle, Ill. / Lake Park

 

All-UAA

Robertson Albrecht

Freshman

Kicker

Aurora, Ohio / Aurora

First Team

Steven Bachie

Senior

Tackle

Berea, Ohio / Berea-Midpark

First Team

Cameron Brown

 Senior

Defensive Line

Westlake, Ohio / Westlake

First Team

Kevin Chrissis

Junior

Cornerback

Pittsburgh, Pa. / Upper St. Clair

First Team

Patrick Crossey

Senior

Safety

Pittsburgh, Pa. / Plum

First Team

Luke DiFrancesco

Senior

Wide Receiver

Johnstown, Pa. / Bishop McCort

First Team

Dee Gose

Sophomore

Guard

Lewisburg, Pa. / Lewisburg Area

First Team

Ian Henderson

Senior

Defensive Line

Detroit, Mich. / Detroit Country Day

First Team

Travis Johnston

Sophomore

Inside Linebacker

Zanesville, Ohio / Bishop Rosencrans

First Team

Colt Morgan

Sophomore

Wide Receiver

Wooster, Ohio / Wooster

First Team

Drew Saxton

Freshman

Quarterback

South Fayette, Pa. / South Fayette

First Team

Thomas Strayer

Junior

Center

Mentor, Ohio / Mentor

First Team

Isaac Withrow

Junior

Linebacker

Winfield, W. Va. / Winfield

First Team

Tyler Bushman

Senior

Defensive Line

Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North

Honorable Mention

Derek Clontz

Junior

Tackle

North Fayette, Pa. / West Allegheny Senior

Honorable Mention

Zach Hall

Sophomore

Running Back

New Albany, Ohio / New Albany

Honorable Mention

Sam Jenkins

Junior

Running Back

Medina, Ohio / Highland

Honorable Mention

Justin Phan

Senior

Wide Receiver

Atlanta, Ga. / Greater Atlanta Christian

Honorable Mention

Anthony Polizzi

Sophomore

Guard

Brockport, N.Y. / Brockport

Honorable Mention

Colin Schuster

Freshman

Cornerback

Minooka, Ill. / Minooka Community

Honorable Mention

Joshua Smith

Sophomore

Safety

Atlanta, Ga. / Benjamin E. Mays

Honorable Mention

Skyler Wadas

Sophomore

Outside Linebacker

Clovis, N.M. / Clovis

Honorable Mention

 

Google Cloud Academic All-America

Dee Gose

Sophomore

Offensive Line

Lewisburg, Pa. / Lewisburg Area

Second Team

 

Google Cloud Academic All-District

Dee Gose

Sophomore

Offensive Line

Lewisburg, Pa. / Lewisburg Area

First Team

 

D3football.com Team of the Week

Cameron Brown

 Senior

Defensive Line

Westlake, Ohio / Westlake

Oct. 16, Oct. 30

Ian Henderson

Senior

Defensive Tackle

Detroit, Mich. / Detroit Country Day

Sep. 25

Colt Morgan

Sophomore

Wide Receiver

Wooster, Ohio / Wooster

Oct. 16

 

PAC Athlete of the Week

Cameron Brown

 Senior

Westlake, Ohio / Westlake

Defense

Oct. 15, Oct. 22, Oct. 29

Robertson Albrecht

Freshman

Aurora, Ohio / Aurora

Special Teams

Oct. 29, Nov. 5

Drew Saxton

Freshman

South Fayette, Pa. / South Fayette

Offense

Sep. 17, Nov. 5

Patrick Crossey

Senior

Pittsburgh, Pa. / Plum

Defense

Oct. 1

Colt Morgan

Sophomore

Wooster, Ohio / Wooster

Offense

Oct. 15

 

PAC Rookie of the Week

Drew Saxton

Freshman

South Fayette, Pa. / South Fayette

Sep. 4, Sep. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 15

Colin Schuster

Freshman

Minooka, Ill. / Minooka Community

Oct. 29

 

UAA Athlete of the Week

Drew Saxton

Freshman

South Fayette, Pa. / South Fayette

Offense

Sep. 17, Sep. 24, Oct. 22, Nov. 5

Cameron Brown

 Senior

Westlake, Ohio / Westlake

Defense

Oct. 15, Oct. 22, Oct. 29

Patrick Crossey

Senior

Pittsburgh, Pa. / Plum

Defense

Sep. 4, Oct. 1, Nov. 5

Robertson Albrecht

Freshman

Aurora, Ohio / Aurora

Special Teams

Oct. 29, Nov. 12

Colt Morgan

Sophomore

Wooster, Ohio / Wooster

Offense

Oct. 8, Oct. 15

Luke DiFrancesco

Senior

Johnstown, Pa. / Bishop McCort

Offense

Oct. 29

Justin Phan

Senior

Atlanta, Ga. / Greater Atlanta Christian

Offense

Sep. 4, Oct. 1

Chase Witte

Sophomore

Cincinnati, Ohio / Milford

Special Teams

Oct.15

 

 

The following were the Spartans' team leaders during the 2018 season:

 

Passing Yards

Drew Saxton

3,033

Passing TDs

Drew Saxton

34 *

Rushing Yards

Sam Jenkins

399

Rushing TDs

Zach Hall & Ryan Coolidge

3

Receptions

Colt Morgan

79

Receiving Yards

Colt Morgan

1,094

Receiving TDs

Colt Morgan

18 *

Tackles

Isaac Withrow

87

Sacks

Cameron Brown

15.0 *

Interceptions

Colin Schuster & Kevin Chrissis

3

 

* School record