Patriot League Champs Garner 11 All-League Selections
Nov. 26, 2013
EASTON, Pa. - The 2013 Patriot League champion Lafayette Leopards placed 11 student-athletes on the All-Patriot League Football First and Second Teams, it was announced Tuesday morning. The All-League Teams and major award winners are determined by a vote of conference head coaches.
Lafayette put five players on the All-Patriot League First Team, three on offense and three on defense.
Senior wideout Mark Ross (Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell) holds every career receiving mark at Lafayette (192 receptions for 2,780 yards and 27 touchdowns) and is the first receiver in program history to post consecutive 1000-yard seasons. Ross again leads the team in pass catching, snagging 68 balls for 1047 yards and eight touchdowns.
Junior Luke Chiarolanzio (Florham Park, N.J./Delbarton School) has been a steady presence on the offensive line for three seasons. Chiarlanzio, who was a second-team pick in 2012, has started 32 games in his career, including 11 this season at left tackle.
Junior return specialist Matt Smalley (Philadelphia, Pa./Father Judge) has been the primary reason the Leopards are ranked second in the nation in kick returns (26.6 yards per kick). Smalley is fifth individually, averaging 31 yards per kick return on 15 attempts. He ran the opening kickoff of the 2013 season back a school record 98 yards for a touchdown. Against Georgetown, Smalley broke his own mark with a 99-yard kick return.
The Patriot League coaches also recognized Smalley for his strong play at cornerback. Smalley has started 11 games in his second season. He is third on the team in tackles (61) and leads the team with four interceptions and eight pass breakups.
Smalley joins senior middle linebacker Mike Boles (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park) on the All-Patriot League First Team. Boles is the team’s leading tackler for the second straight season, making 80 stops with 4.5 tackles for loss. The Economics major has played in 41 career games with 22 starts.
Junior tailback Ross Scheuerman (Creamridge, N.J./Allentown) tops the list of six All-Patriot League Second-Team selections (four on offense and two on defense). Scheuerman, who was the Patriot League rookie of the year in 2011, earned second-team honors for the third time in his career. He is the first Lafayette player since 2006 to rush for 1000 yards in a season. Scheuerman has 204 carries for 1034 yards and 14 touchdowns and has shown his receiving ability out of the backfield with 30 catches for 311 yards and four scores.
Scheuerman’s backfield mate is fullback Greg Kessel (East Stroudsburg, Pa./East Stroudsburg South). Kessel made the most of limited carries in 2013, carrying 43 times for 169 yards, including a Holy Cross effort when he helped put away the victory with nine carries for 46 yards. The bulk of his work is lead blocking for Scheuerman and pass protecting, but the senior continues to be a key special teams contributor.
Junior Zach Mazur (Bethlehem, Pa./Freedom) just finished his second regular season as the full-time starter at right tackle. Mazur was the team’s most improved lineman in 2012 and the play of the offensive line down the stretch was a reason the Leopards’ run game improved.
Sophomore placekicker Ryan Gralish (Mars, Pa./Mars) has been steady throughout his tenure at Lafayette. Gralish has made 9-of-11 (82%) field goal attempts in 2013 while also handling kickoff and PAT (36-of-38) duties.
Fellow sophomore Steve Mercado (Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers) secured second-team laurels at defensive tackle. Mercado leads the Leopard interior defensive linemen with 34 tackles, including a team-high 7.5 tackles for loss while also adding four sacks. Mercado is one of just three sophomores in the entire Patriot League to achieve All-League distinction with Gralish and Smalley bring the others.
Junior strong safety Jared Roberts (Pennsauken, N.J./Woodbury) takes his spot on the second-team defense for the second straight season. Roberts has been one of the team’s most consistent performers in two seasons and has been especially adept at slowing the run. Roberts is fourth on the team with 53 tackles and is second with three interceptions in 2013, a year after picking off four passes.
Junior QB Michael Nebrich and junior linebacker Stephen Hodge, collected Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively, for Fordham while their head coach, Joe Moorhead, was the Patriot League Coach of the Year. Fordham, which was ineligible for the Patriot League title, ran through the conference foes until the Leopards handed the No. 5 Rams a 27-14 loss on Nov. 16, the only blemish on Fordham’s record. Holy Cross quarterback Peter Pujals was selected as the Rookie of the Year
Lafayette continues its season on Saturday at noon in the first round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs at No. 15 New Hampshire.