MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College football team celebrated its 2014 season, honored 12 individual players with awards and announced the 2015 captains at its annual awards banquet at Sullivan Arena on Sunday.
Senior WR Justin Bernard (Cambridge, Mass.) headlined the award winners as he was selected as the Most Valuable Player. Bernard caught 99 passes for 1,028 yards and six touchdowns this season. It was the third consecutive year going over 1,000 yards receiving for Bernard, who was also chosen as an All-Super Region 1 Second Teamer by both Daktronics and Beyond Sports Network, a Don Hansen's Football Gazette All-Super Region 1 Third Team selection, a Northeast-10 All-Conference First Team pick for the third straight season and an ECAC All-Star.
Bernard ranked fourth in yards and tied for sixth in touchdown grabs, while placing fourth in the nation in receptions per game (9.0) and 28th in receiving yards per contest (93.5). His 99 receptions are the second most in a single season in program history, while the 1,028 yards rank fourth. Bernard already owned Saint Anselm's single-game, single-season and career records for catches, receiving yards and touchdown receptions.
Bernard reeled in his 326th career catch in a 55-24 win at Merrimack on Oct. 4 to become the NCAA Division II all-time leader in receptions. He finished his career with 386 catches and 4,169 yards, which rank first and third, respectively, among active Division II players.
Junior K/P Shane Grayson (Ormond Beach, Fla.) was chosen as the Special Teams Player of the Year for the second consecutive season after serving as both the kicker and punter for the Hawks.
Grayson, who earned BSN All-Super Region 1 Honorable Mention, Don Hansen's Football Gazette All-Super Region 1 Third Team and NE-10 First Team honors, put together a career year for the Hawks. Grayson went 10-for-13 on field goal tries to lead the league with a 77 percent success rating and rank second in field goals made. His 41-yard boot against American International College on Oct. 11 was the third longest field goal in the conference this season and matched his career long, which sits sixth in the program record book. Grayson's 63 points were third best in the league, while his 33 extra points ranked fifth and his 92 percent (33-36) PAT mark was seventh.
Grayson's 63 points are the most made by kicking in a single season in school history, while the 10 field goals are tied for the most in a campaign, while the 33 PATs and field goal percentage are both second.
The Scholar-Athlete Award went to junior DB Nick DiBenedetto (Westford, Mass.). The biology major played in all 11 contests and recorded three tackles.
Senior WR Nick Marcella (North Bridgton, Mass.) earned the Hawk Award, which is given for the outstanding contribution toward Hawks football with great commitment, dedication, and immaculate character; one who overcomes adversity and continues to excel to the standards of the highest integrity. Marcella played in all 11 contests and caught 42 passes for 405 yards and a touchdown.
Senior DL Justin Waltzer (Danbury, Conn.) garnered the Iron Hawk Award, which is given for the outstanding contribution toward Hawks football with great commitment and dedication in the weight room. Waltzer, who was also chosen as the Most Improved Player, put together a career year as he amassed 75 tackles, including 8.0 for a loss and 1.0 sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, while also blocking a kick. Waltzer, who garnered NE-10 Second Team honors, was 17th in the league in tackles, but also altered opponents' game plans by clogging the middle.
Senior WR Ahkeen Williams (DeWitt, N.Y.) captured the Offensive Skill Award for the after making 84 catches for 1,033 yards and four touchdowns this season. He ranked third in school history in yardage and fourth in receptions. For his career, Williams is second in program history in receiving yards, third in catches and fourth in touchdown grabs.
Senior LB Zach Hayes (Chelmsford, Mass.) was the Defensive Skill Award winner. Hayes registered 99 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss, two forced fumbles, two interceptions and a pair of pass breakups. He ranked fifth in the league and led the team in tackles.
Sophomore OL Ryan Barry (West Newbury, Mass.) was named the Offensive Line Player of the Year after starting all 11 contests. Barry was part of an offensive line that paved the way for a Saint Anselm rushing attack that set a new program record with 23 rushing touchdowns and finished tied for second with 1,324 rushing yards. Barry helped the Hawks set a new single-season record for total offense (4,746) and also aided in pass protection as their 3,429 passing yards were just one shy of matching the program record.
Senior DL Andrew Lebowitz (Andover, Mass.) took home Defensive Line Player of the Year honors. Lebowitz tallied 64 tackles, including 10.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Freshman LB Eric Mercer (Melrose, Mass.) was selected as the Freshman of the Year. Mercer garnered an NE-10 All-Rookie accolade after tallying 44 tackles, including 4.0 for a loss, and a forced fumble in his first collegiate campaign.
Sophomore WR A.J. King (Franklin, Mass.) was chosen as the Offensive Attack Player of the Year. King saw action in a trio of games.
Freshman LB Matt Bremis (Plymouth, Mass.) was the Attack Player of the Year on the defensive side of the ball. Bremis appeared in games and made one tackle.
The Hawks will have a new set of leaders next season as rising seniors DB Carroll Bailey (Clinton, Mass.), DB Tyler Lindsay (Temple Hills, Md.) and LB Joel Jorgensen (Eldersburg, Md.), as well as rising junior QB Yianni Gavalas (Manhasset, N.Y.), were chosen as 2015 captains.
Seniors Bernard, Marcella, Waltzer, Williams, Hayes, Lebowitz, DB Matt Yopp (Bristol, Conn.), DB Chad O'Neill (Herndon, Va.), LB Mike Tatro (N. Adams, Mass.), OL James Murphy (Nashua, N.H.), OL Brady Myers (Westminster, Md.), LB Mike Harper (Methuen, Mass.), DB Larry Harlow (Billerica, Mass), WR Brian DeAngelis (Peabody, Mass.), OL James Gibbons (Brick, N.J.), WR Brandon Gomes (Providence, R.I.), OL Zach Lombard (Manchester, Conn.), WR James Hyde (Saugus, Mass.), DL Josh Cheever (Lynn, Mass.) and DB Tyrel McDonald (Leominster, Mass.) were also honored.