Findlay, Ohio – Just two days before Findlay is set to play its first ever NCAA Division II Playoff game, the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) released their all-conference and individual awards for the 2017 season. The list, released on Thursday, Nov. 16, saw senior Andrew Alten earn Offensive Lineman of the Year, senior Johnny Hopkins earn Defensive Lineman of the Year, and senior Aaron Ivory earn Defensive Back of the Year. Along with the three Players of the Year, Findlay placed six other athletes on first team, nine on second team, and six on honorable mention. In total, the Oilers had 25 players receive an all-conference award, the most of any team in the Great Midwest.
Players of the Year
Andrew Alten, a Lindy's Preseason All-American, earned distinction as the Great Midwest's best offensive lineman by anchoring an offensive line that, prior to Alten's injury in Week 9, protected their quarterback better than any o-line in the country, allowing just 0.33 sacks per game at that time. In Alten's nine games, Findlay rushed for 292.3 yards per game (fourth in the country), scored 47.7 points per game (third in the country), and picked up 248 first downs (second in the country). Along with Offensive Lineman of the Year, Alten earns first team all-conference, the second time in his career he has earned that distinction (2016 First Team All-GLIAC).
A redshirt senior from Radcliff, Kentucky, Johnny Hopkins has had the best year of his career en route to his spot as the G-MAC's Defensive Lineman of the Year and First Team All-Great Midwest. Hopkins led Great Midwest defensive lineman with 13 tackles-for-loss and five solo sacks (5.5 sacks overall), both of which were career-highs. He also tied for first among the conference's d-lineman with two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. He finished the regular season with 43 tackles, a career-high. This is the first all-conference award of Hopkins' career.
It's hard to argue that any player on the defensive side of the ball had a bigger impact on game day than senior Aaron Ivory, and for that he has earned Great Midwest Defensive Back of the Year and First Team All-Great Midwest. Ivory was a highlight reel in the secondary for a defense that led the conference in defensive touchdowns. That was thanks, in large part, to the work of Ivory who ended the regular season tied for the conference lead with four interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns, the most in the G-MAC. Ivory tied for the conference lead with ten passes defended for a conference-best average of one per game. The Cleveland, Ohio native also chipped in 33 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, and a blocked kick. This is the second all-conference award of Ivory's career (2016 GLIAC Honorable Mention).
First Team All-Great Midwest
Senior running back Daouda Sylla has been the best tailback in the conference since the season began and has earned a spot on the Great Midwest First Team. In the regular season, Sylla, a native of Ypsilanti, Michigan, led the conference in carries (186), yards (1,266), and yards per game (126.6) while finished second in the league with 17 touchdowns scored and sixth in the league in total offense (1,266 yds). He rushed for at least 100 yards in seven of ten games in which he played and was an incredibly safe bet to run the ball, losing just two fumbles all year. Sylla, who earned Great Midwest Offensive Player of the Week in the first week of the season, has been the major piece to an offense that has rushed for 274.1 yards per game, best in the conference and seventh-best in the nation. This is the first all-conference award of Sylla's career.
Another part of that rushing attack has been junior Michael Campbell who has also earned a spot on the Great Midwest First Team. Campbell finished the 2017 regular season with career-highs in carries (111), yards (762), yards per carry (6.9), and touchdowns (14). His 14 rushing touchdowns ranked third in the conference while his 6.9 yards per carry ranked led the Great Midwest among backs with at least 50 carries. This is the first all-conference award of Campbell's career.
Junior wide out Jason Moore has become one of the most decorated wide receivers in Findlay history and he adds to a laundry list of accomplishments with a First Team All-Great Midwest award. Moore finished the regular season with 843 receiving yards, 13 touchdowns, and 55 receptions. His touchdowns ranked second in the league while his yards and receptions ranked fifth. Moore tied his own record for receiving touchdowns in a game, catching three touchdowns in a game on three separate occasions this season. This year, Moore, a Lindy's Preseason All-American, took the top spot in Findlay's record books in career receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. This is the second all-conference award of Moore's career (2016 First Team All-GLIAC).
At 6-5, 264 pounds, sophomore Luke Stuffel was literally and figuratively a big part of the Oilers offense and has earned a spot on the Great Midwest First Team. The Canton, Ohio native has the size and skill to help block for one of the best rushing offenses in the country while also possessing the ability to catch a key pass when need be. This year, Stuffel caught 11 balls for 120 yards and one touchdown. This is Stuffel's first all-conference award.
Sophomore Isaac Miles was a force at linebacker and caused havoc in many a backfield this season. For his efforts, he has eared First Team All-Great Midwest. In the regular season, Miles finished with 6.5 tackles-for-loss, four sacks, and 50 tackles, all career-highs. The Indianapolis, Indiana native also forced one fumble, recovered two, and broke up three passes while appearing in all 11 games this season. This is the first all-conference award of Miles' career.
Oilers junior Francis Cutchember was the team's leading tackler all season and has earned a spot on the Great Midwest First Team. The Dublin, Ohio native finished the regular season with a team-high 55 tackles and a career-high 4.5 tackles-for-loss. Cutchember had one interception this season and tied for the conference lead with ten passes defended. Findlay's talented junior also had a pair of kick returns this season, one of which went 95 yards for a touchdown. This is the first all-conference award of Cutchember's career.
Second Team All-Great Midwest
Junior Rhys Gervais, the school's all-time leader in nearly every passing category, junior Jacob Hill, and sophomore Andrew Dickinson each earned spots on the Great Midwest Second Team Offense. Hill, who tallied 573 kick return yards including a pair of touchdowns this season, also earned second team for special teams.
Punter Patrick Rusher earned second team all-Great Midwest as he led the nation in net punting at 41.2 yards per punt. His led also helped the Oilers lead the nation in punt return defense at -3.2 yards per return.
Great Midwest Honorable Mention
Jacob Boucher - Junior - Tight End/Full Back
Neal Davis - Sophomore - Offensive Line
Ashton Elmore - Senior - Defensive Line
Airion Kosak - Senior - Wide Receiver
Tyler Lee - Sophomore - Defensive Back
Christian Olmstead - Junior - Offensive Line