MONMOUTH, Ill. – Back-to-back Midwest Conference football titles has earned Monmouth College’s Chad Braun his third consecutive MWC Coach of the Year award in a vote of the league’s coaches. Two Fighting Scots were named the league’s South Division Most Valuable Players as Monmouth placed 14 student-athletes on the All-South Division list.
Braun – now in his third year guiding the Scots – earned the MWC South Division Coach of the Year award after leading Monmouth to a 9-1 regular season, posting the team’s first back-to-back league titles since 2008 and 2009. Monmouth ran the table in the MWC’s South Division and then claimed the conference crown with a 9-6 overtime win over St. Norbert. In just three seasons, Braun has won two league titles, earned a pair of NCAA playoff berths and posted a 27-4 record.
Sophomore Joe Krall (New Berlin, Ill./New Berlin) and senior linebacker Kyle Schultz (Heyworth, Ill./Heyworth) were named the South Division MVPs for the offensive line and defensive skills positions, respectively.
Joining Krall and Schultz on the South Division first team were: senior offensive linemen Devon Brooks (Orange Park, Fla./Orange Park) and Logan Thiele (Pittsfield, Ill./Pittsfield); senior tight end Konnor O’Keefe (Tremont, Ill./Tremont); junior defensive linemen Lamar Watson (Pembroke Township, Ill./Momence) and Thomas Lesniewski (Algonquin, Ill./Marian Central); senior defensive backs Micam Smith (Annawan, Ill./Annawan) and Ryne Daum (Toulon, Ill./Stark County); junior running back DeAndre Wright (DeKalb, Ill./Momence); junior wide receiver Yansay Williams (Normal, Ill./West); and sophomore kicker Joey Biel (Spokane, Wash./Northwest Christian).
Second team honors were awarded to: sophomore linebacker Clark Gaden (Chatham, Ill./Chatham); senior defensive lineman Zach Hoekstra (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way North); and senior defensive back D.J. Frank (Bloomington, Ill./Normal).
Krall – who switched from the defensive line to the offensive line this season – led Monmouth to a near sweep of the first team offensive line with Brooks, Thiele and O’Keefe. Monmouth’s offense churned out over 400 yards – more than 200 on the ground – and 37 points per game.
A pair of business majors, Krall is the son of Connie Krall and Michael Krall, and O’Keefe is the son of Mark and Heidi O’Keefe. Exercise science majors, Brooks is the son of Christina Brooks and Donnie Brooks, and Thiele is the son of Mark and Annette Thiele.
In earning his first league MVP award, Schultz turned in a career- and team-high 104 tackles from his linebacker position to earn his second all-conference award. The senior also recorded a pair of interceptions and six tackles for loss.
A business and economics double major, Schultz is the son of Tony and Daria Schultz.
Watson – originally a linebacker – and Lesniewski were named to the unit for the second straight year. Watson’s 39 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks were all team-best for Scots linemen. Lesniewski totaled 23 tackles with 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and three pass breakups despite missing a large portion of the season with an injury.
A business major, Watson is the son of Lorre Autman. Lesniewski is a political science major and the son of Jreneusz and Joanna Lesniewski.
Smith – who earned his third all-league award – and Daum accounted for half the all-conference awards in the secondary. The tandem recorded 38 and 37 total tackles, respectively. Smith led the team with four interceptions, one more than Daum, a first-time all-league selection.
A business major, Smith is the son of Amy Rieder and Chad Imler. A business and economics double major, Daum is the son of Duane and Cheryl Daum.
Wright earned his third all-league status after becoming just the third back in Monmouth history to post two consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He averaged over five yards per carry to finish the regular season with 1,053 yards and a team-high 12 touchdowns. An exercise science major, he is the son of Umeka Wright.
Williams was named to the all-league first team after garnering second team honors last season. He had team receiving highs of 35 catches for 542 yards and 11 TDs. A wellness administration major, Williams is the son of Fred Owens and Pennie Williams.
Biel – who did double duty as a kicker and punter – earned his first all-conference award as a kicker. The left-footer was third on the team in scoring with 64 points after connecting on eight field goals and making good on 40 of 43 PATs. Biel averaged over 62 yards on his 64 kickoffs, with 22 touchbacks. A business major, he is the son of Rick and Bethany Biel.
Gaden, Hoekstra and Frank each picked up their first all-conference awards. Gaden was second on the Scots defense with 75 tackles which included 5.5 tackles for loss. Hoekstra tallied eight tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks among his 32 tackles. Frank was Monmouth’s third-leading tackler with 52 stops. He also recorded two interceptions, 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack.
A business and accounting double major, Gaden is the son of Kevin and Jodi Gaden. Hoekstra is a wellness administration major and the son of Paul and Denise Hoekstra. Frank, an exercise science major, is the son of William and Rebecca Frank.
In the last two seasons – both conference championship years – the Scots have placed a total of 31 players on the all-conference squad.
Monmouth’s season will continue this weekend with a road contest at Trine University in the first round of the NCAA playoffs.