December 6, 2010

Nicolini and Irwin Headline Bulldog Football’s 14 All-Conference Honorees

More news about: Redlands

It was announced last week that the University of Redlands football program gained 14 total All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) selections with senior defensive back Mike Nicolini (Novato, CA) and freshman wide receiver Taylor Irwin (Rocklin, CA) highlighting the awards with top individual honors. Nicolini wraps up his four-year career as the SCIAC Defensive Player of the Year, while Irwin's inaugural season culminates in the conference's Newcomer of the Year award.

Throughout the season, Nicolini served as formidable force in the Bulldog secondary. Against conference foes, he notched 41 total tackles while tying for the conference lead with 10 tackles for a loss of 46 yards. This ball hawk also led the team with eight break-ups to go along with a pick-six play for 61 yards against conference foe Cal Lutheran University. In addition to his defensive honor, Nicolini lands on the All-SCIAC Second Team as a special-teams player. This senior captain led the conference with 20 punt returns for a total of 253 yards, highlighted by his 58-yard scoring run during the Bulldogs' 51-7 dismantling of Occidental College. This year's honors mark Nicolini's fifth and sixth All-Conference accolades of his career.

Irwin made an immediate impact in his first campaign with the Bulldogs by collecting six receiving touchdowns against conference foes, which tied him for the SCIAC lead. He pulled in 25 grabs for 379 total yards, posting an impressive 15.2 yards per reception in the process. The wide receiver enjoyed a breakout game against the Sagehens of Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, registering three touchdowns for a Redlands season-high performance. He then followed up that showing with a season-best 150 receiving yards during the next week's game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges.

Junior offensive lineman Chris Radtke (Grand Terrace, CA) garners his inaugural All-SCIAC award with Redlands' only spot on the First Team for offense. He helped the Bulldogs put up 30.8 points per game against SCIAC opponents, which ranks second-best within the conference. In addition, the junior's pass protection played a major role in the Bulldogs' air attack, which amassed more than 224 yards per conference contest.

The Bulldog offense also produced three Second-Team members, including sophomore running back Brad Crisanty (Granite Bay, CA), senior wide receiver Evan Reuter (Cameron Park, CA) and senior offensive lineman Rick Albrecht (Yorba Linda, CA).

Crisanty pounded out a team-leading 418 total rushing yards, highlighted by a long of 22 yards, while punching in four touchdowns during SCIAC games. He ground out a team-best 109 rushing yards in the Bulldogs' 26-14 victory over Whittier College.

The veteran of the receiving corps, Reuter led the Redlands players with 50 catches, 650 receiving yards and 81.2 yards per game during the 2010 season. In each of his conference appearances, he tallied more than 85 total receiving yards, which included a long of 52 into the Occidental end zone. Reuter also crossed the goal line on two other occasions during SCIAC competition.

Crisanty and Reuter gain their first All-Conference awards, while Albrecht notches his second consecutive Second-Team selection as a core member of the offensive line. The big bruiser played an instrumental role in the Bulldogs leading the SCIAC in sacks allowed with only four. He also helped clear the way for 2,093 yards of total offense, which ranks third in the conference.

Redlands accounted for three First-Team selections on defense as senior defensive lineman Alexander Ouji (Chula Vista, CA), sophomore linebacker Jordan Garcia (Carlsbad, CA), and junior defensive back Josh Herrera (Vista, CA) gained this year's honor.

In only his first season with the Bulldogs, Ouji collected nine tackles in SCIAC play, including four behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of 18 yards. He successfully impinged upon opponents' quarterbacks, racking up three sacks and a team-high three quarterback hurries in conference competition.

Garcia led the Bulldogs and ranked among the top ten within the conference for total tackles, earning 42 in six conference match-ups. He consistently pushed past opponents' line of scrimmage, racking up a team-high 3.5 sacks and seven tackles for a loss of 39 yards. This team captain also recorded one interception for a return of 30 yards to go along with two fumble recoveries.

One of the primary safeties for the Maroon and Gray, Herrera provided strong leadership and determination to the Bulldog secondary. During conference games, he recorded 29 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss of six yards. He also snatched an interception for a 43-yard return against Cal Lutheran University. This marks Herrera's second All-SCIAC nod after landing on the Second Team in 2009.

Junior defensive lineman Brett Hutter (Ontario, CA), junior linebacker Tony Santini (San Jose, CA), senior defensive back Rudy Vidales (Los Angeles, CA), and junior defensive back Vince Aiello (Fullerton, CA) earned Second-Team awards for the Bulldogs.

Hutter led the defensive line with 20 tackles and amassed five tackles for a loss of 16 yards, which were highlighted by two sacks on opposing play-callers. In his first year with Redlands, he blocked a field-goal attempt by CMS, which eventually led to a Maroon and Gray touchdown late in the game.

The first-year starter Santini made an immediate impact by collecting 27 tackles in conference action, including 4.5 for a loss of 15 yards. This well-rounded defender also nabbed one interception, earned two quarterback hurries, and posted one pass break-up. In addition, he forced one fumble and recovered another for a 20-yard return. One of his more memorable plays came when he blocked a punt and then scooped it up for a touchdown during the Bulldogs' rout of Occidental.

With 30 tackles, Vidales averaged five per SCIAC contest and added his second career sack during the 2010 campaign. This strong pass defender garnered two break-ups to go along with an interception return for 30 yards. In addition, he recorded a quarterback hurry, forced a fumble and blocked a kick for the Maroon and Gray.

Aiello ranks third among SCIAC defenders for pass break-ups in conference play with seven to complement one scoring pick, which came against the University of La Verne. He also posted 14 tackles, including 1.5 for a loss of two yards.

Beyond Nicolini, the Redlands special teams gained an All-SCIAC honoree in junior punter Wes Norris (San Jose, CA), who receives the second Second-Team selection of his career. He ranked second-best in the conference with an average of 36.5 yards per punt on 20 total attempts, highlighted by a long of 61 yards against Whittier. He nailed 12 inside the 20-yard line and motivated seven fair catches by opponents.

As a team, the Bulldogs posted an 8-1 overall record for their best showing since 1978. Redlands finished second in the SCIAC standings with a 5-1 mark.

Pomona-Pitzer Colleges' senior quarterback Jacob Caron and senior wide receiver RJ Maki rounded out the individual awards with the SCIAC Offensive Player of the Year and the John Zinda Award, respectively.

The seven head football coaches of the conference nominate and vote upon the All-SCIAC awards, basing their selections on performances during conference competition.

For a complete list of all of the All-SCIAC honorees please visit www.thesciac.org

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