Bearcats have 17 players honored by the Northwest Conference

Seventeen Willamette football players were honored by the Northwest Conference on Tuesday. The Bearcats landed eight players on the NWC first team, four on the second team and five on the honorable mention list.

Willamette players named to the first team include: running back Drew Ecklund (Sr., San Luis Obispo HS, Calif.); slotback Greg Reed (Jr., Vanden HS, Calif.); offensive linemen Isaac Parker (Sr., Kamehameha HS, Hawaii), Billy Joe Murray (Jr., Eldorado HS, Nev.), Morgan Smith (Jr., Kentwood HS, Wash.); defensive lineman Nate Matlock (So., Capital HS, Idaho); defensive back Marcus Boards (Jr., Vista HS, Calif.) and kicker Duncan Libby (Sr., Seattle Prep HS, Wash.).

Named to the NWC second team were: running back Justin Peterson (Sr., Mercer Island HS, Wash.); offensive lineman Nate Oltmans (Jr., Boulder HS, Colo.); linebacker Ken Halpin (Jr., North Medford HS) and defensive back Trebor Struble (Jr., Capital HS, Idaho).

Earning honorable mention recognition by the NWC were: wide receiver Brett Meyer (So., Oregon City HS); defensive lineman Josh Vierra (Jr., Oak Grove HS, Calif.); linebacker John McDowell (Sr., McKenzie HS), defensive lineman Blake Cam (So., Eagle Point HS) and defensive back Kefense Hynson (Sr., St. Mary’s HS, Oakland, Calif.).

The Bearcats finished the season 6-4 overall and in a three-way tie for second place in the NWC at 3-2. Two of Willamette’s losses came to undefeated teams (10-0 Mary Hardin-Baylor and 9-0 Linfield), a third to an NCAA Division III team (Humboldt State) and a fourth to Whitworth in overtime.

Willamette finished second in Division III in per-game rushing (350.0). The Bearcats also were 12th in total offense (359.5) and 18th in scoring offense (37.5).

After playing six road games in 2002, the Bearcats will play six home games next fall. Coach Mark Speckman could have as many as 16 starters back for 2003.

Willamette’s 2002 statistics can be found on the web at: