MVFC Honors 14 UNI Players, Former Wartburg Coach
The Panthers received five first-team nods and five second-team selections, while four players were named to the honorable mention team. UNI has had 46 first-team selections since 2007, the most in the league.
Senior Jacob Rathmacher was named to the offensive first-team, while Karter Schult, Brett McMakin, Deiondre’ Hall and senior Tim Kilfoy all earned defensive first-team honors.
Hall was voted the league's Defensive Player-of-the-Year after leading the MVFC with six interceptions during the regular season, two of which were returned for touchdowns. He broke UNI’s record for career interception returns for touchdowns (4) and ranks fifth all-time at UNI in career picks (13). While starting games at corner and free safety, he recorded 69 total tackles in UNI's first 11 games, which included 48 solo and six for loss.
UNI quarterback Aaron Bailey earned MVFC Newcomer of the Year honors and was one of five Panthers named to the second team. Center Robert Rathje joined Bailey on the offensive unit, while Isaac Ales, Makinton Dorleant and Sam Kuhter were chosen to represent the defense.
Rounding out UNI’s All-Conference selections were Tyvis Smith, Braden Lehman, Michael Schmadeke, Trent Simpson and Dorleant, who received honorable mention as a return specialist along with his second-team defensive back honors.
Bailey, Rathmacher, Rathje, Smith and Lehman are all part of a UNI offense that has excelled at the run game this season, ranking No. 16 in the FCS and third in the Valley. UNI team captains Rathmacher, Rathje and Lehman have been integral in allowing the Panthers to rush for 2,745 yards, which ranks fifth all-time in school history.
UNI was one of five MVFC teams selected as an at-large qualifier for the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs this season. The Panthers won their first-round game Saturday, beating Eastern Illinois 53-17 at the UNI-Dome. Their second-round game is this weekend at Portland State.
The other top honors in the Missouri Valley Football Conference this season went to Illinois State running back Marshaun Coprich (voted Offensive Player-of-the Year for a second-straight season) and South Dakota defensive end Andrew Van Ginkel (Freshman-of-the-Year).
Coprich leads the MVFC in several categories, including rushing yards (1,720) and touchdowns (20).
The league's Coach-of-the-Year honor was given to Bob Nielson of Western Illinois, who guided the Leathernecks to a third-place finish in the conference race despite playing the nation's toughest scheduled. They were picked to finish eighth in the MVFC preseason poll.
Nielson is in his third year at Western Illinois. He's a Wartburg College graduate who coached his alma mater from 1991 to 1995. Nielson compiled a 39-14 record during his five-year tenure at Wartburg and guided the Knights to two NCAA Division-III playoff appearances.
2015 All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Team
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: RB Marshaun Coprich, Illinois State
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DB Deiondre' Hall, UNI
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: QB Aaron Bailey, UNI
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: DE Andrew Van Ginkel, South Dakota
‘BRUCE CRADDOCK’ COACH OF THE YEAR: Bob Nielson, Western Illinois
QB -- Mark Iannotti - Southern Illinois
QB -- Tre Roberson - Illinois State
RB -- Marshaun Coprich - Illinois State
RB -- Nikko Watson - Western Illinois
FB -- Andrew Bonnet - North Dakota State
WR-- Anthony Warrum - Illinois State
WR-- Jake Wieneke - South Dakota State
TE -- Dallas Goedert - South Dakota State
OL -- Joe Haeg - North Dakota State
OL -- Zack Johnson - North Dakota State
OL -- Jacob Rathmacher - UNI [Story City (Iowa) / Roland-Story]
OL -- Mark Spelman - Illinois State
OL -- Ethan Wirth - Southern Illinois
PK -- Zak Kennedy - Youngstown State
LS -- Joshua Appel - Indiana State
DL -- Greg Menard - North Dakota State
DL -- Derek Rivers - Youngstown State
DL -- Karter Schult - UNI [Tripoli (Iowa)]
DL -- Andrew Van Ginkel - South Dakota
LB -- Dylan Cole - Missouri State
LB -- Nick DeLuca - North Dakota State
LB -- Brett McMakin - UNI [Overland Park (Kan.)]
LB -- Pat Meehan - Illinois State
DB-- LeRoy Alexander - Youngstown State
DB -- Deiondre' Hall - UNI [Blue Springs (Mo.)]
DB -- Tim Kilfoy - UNI [Davenport (Iowa) / Assumption]
DB -- CJ Smith - North Dakota State
P -- Ben LeCompte - North Dakota State
RS -- Deion Holliman - Missouri State
QB -- Aaron Bailey - UNI [Bolingbrook (Ill.) High]
RB -- King Frazier - North Dakota State
RB -- Jody Webb - Youngstown State
FB -- Brady Tibbits - Illinois State
WR -- Lance Lenoir, Jr. - Western Illinois
WR -- Billy Reed - Southern Illinois
TE -- Luke Albers - North Dakota State
TE -- Adam Fuehne - Southern Illinois
OL -- Kyle Avaloy - Illinois State
OL -- Jacob Judd - Western Illinois
OL -- Jeremy Kelly - North Dakota State
OL -- Jacob Ohnesorge - South Dakota State
OL -- Robert Rathje - UNI [Van Horne (Iowa) / Benton Community]
PK -- Miles Bergner - South Dakota
LS -- James Fisher - North Dakota State
DL -- Isaac Ales - UNI [Muscatine (Iowa)]
DL -- Teddy Corwin - Illinois State
DL -- Cole Langer - South Dakota State
DL -- David Perkins - Illinois State
LB -- Chase Allen - Southern Illinois
LB -- T.J. Lally - South Dakota State
LB -- Brett Taylor - Western Illinois
LB -- Lee Wright - Youngstown State
DB -- Makinton Dorleant - UNI [Naples (Fla.)]
DB -- Jimmie Forsythe - South Dakota State
DB -- Kenny James - Southern Illinois
DB -- Travis Starks - Indiana State
P -- Sam Kuhter - UNI [Toledo (Iowa) / South Tama]
RS -- Daquan Isom - Southern Illinois
HONORABLE MENTION SELECTIONS
QB: Trenton Norvell, WIU; Carson Wentz, NDSU; RB: Shane Kuhn, YSU (FB);Tyvis Smith, UNI; WR: Robert Tonyan, Jr., INS; RJ Urzendowski, NDSU; TE: Cam Jones, SDSU; Braden Lehman, UNI; OL: Derek Chancellor, USD; Jake Notario, SIU; Riley Shantz, MSU; Justin Spencer, YSU; Dakota Vermillion, INS; PK: Michael Schmadeke, UNI; LS: Trent Simpson; UNI; DL: James Barnes, MSU; Kris Harley, WIU; Eddy Holtschlag, WIU; Dalton Keene, ILS; Nate Tanguay, NDSU; LB: Jesse Bobbit, SDSU; Armand Dellovade; YSU; Alex Donnelly, ILS; Keyen Lage, USD; Kendall Walker, INS; Brandon Williams, SIU; DB: Je Ryan Butler, SDSU; Tyson Graham, USD; Alec Kocour, ILS; P: Miles Bergner, USD; Derek Mathewson, SIU; Chris Sullens, MSU; RS: Makinton Dorleant, UNI; Lance Lenoir, Jr., WIU