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Football Recognizes Dedicated Student Athletes at Banquet

March 3, 2016

– The Lafayette football team gathered on Feb. 27 in Marquis Hall to wrap up the 2015 football season.

The positional most valuable player awards were giving out at the banquet. Junior Connor Staudle was named the MVP of the offensive line. The left guard has started 17 games over his three-year career, six of which came this past season. The Offensive Back MVP went to tailback DeSean Brown. The sophomore played his best ball late in the season, rushing for 146 yards and three touchdowns against rival Lehigh. Sophomore Matt Mrazek garnered Receiver MVP honors despite missing three and a half games with an injury. Mrazek finished the season with 44 catches for 495 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Junior Matt Rothrock earned Defensive Line MVP for his 27 tackles (four for loss) in a season when he started every contest. Sophomore Brandon Bryant was the Linebacker MVP, finishing with 144 tackles. Bryant has started all 30 games in his first two years and earned Special Teams MVP during his freshman campaign. Senior Jared Roberts earned his second Defensive Back MVP honor after a season in which he finished fourth on the team in tackles and had an interception. Freshman Jacob Bissell rounded out the individual MVP awards with his special teams efforts that included five field goals of 40-plus yards. Bissell earned All Patriot League Second-Team honors as well as two Patriot League Player of the Week awards.

The Most Improved Player Award was earned by two sophomores, linebacker Robert Hinchen and tight end Dylan Wadsworth. Hinchen made 27 tackles while being a valuable part of the Lafayette defensive rotation for all 11 games this past season. Wadsworth hauled in 15 catches for 217 yards in 2015.

Freshman linebacker Troy Dixon and freshman wide receiver Chris Granjean were the recipients of the Scout Team Award, representing a unit that plays a vital role in preparing the team for Saturdays.

Lafayette awarded three players with the Rookie of the Year Award. Defensive back Jerry Powe earned this honor on the defensive side of the ball for his 44 tackles, three pass breakups and a fumble recovery in 10 games. Wide receiver Joey Chenoweth led the team with 49 receptions and two touchdowns on his way to 389 yards. Chenoweth also spent time as a kick and punt returner. The other offensive recognition went to Kevin Zataveski who started all 11 games at right guard.

The Unsung Hero Award is given to those who contribute to the program in ways that extend beyond the field. This season’s recipients were seniors Darrell Crawford and Matt Anderson, who made exceptional sacrifices by switching back and forth from offense to defense in their senior seasons.

The David Nelson ’06 Award of Valor is presented to the player who displays an exceptional amount of heart and courage. Its namesake co-captained the 2005 Patriot League Champion team after overcoming a near-fatal stabbing in Boston before his senior season to start every game at fullback. This year’s winner, Bobby DePietro, started five of Lafayette’s first six games before suffering a knee injury which required surgery. The senior captain worked his way back from injury to start at tight end during the season finale at Lehigh.

George McGaughey, an outstanding football player at Bucknell and later a coach at Lafayette, is honored each year through an award established by gifts from his friends at each institution. The McGaughey Memorial Award is presented annually to the outstanding players on both teams in the Lafayette-Bucknell game as selected by the coaching staffs. Freshmen C.J. Amill received this award after running for 69 yards on three carries to go along with 124 kick-return yards.

The final award of the banquet was the Hugh H. “Stoney” Jones ’27 Award. Cornerback Matt Smalley garnered Team MVP honors coming off a senior campaign in which he started in all nine games he played, finishing fifth on the team in tackles (44) while adding an interception. Smalley was a three-year starter and four-time All-Patriot League First-Team honoree during his career. He started in 30 of the 42 games he played in, while adding seven career interceptions.

The Maroon and White will open spring practice on March 29, winding up a month later on April 28. They open the 2016 season on Sept. 2 at Central Connecticut State.