Bennett Selected by AFCA to Play in 2007 Aztec Bowl

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

WACO, TEX. -- Willamette senior offensive tackle Brandon Bennett (San Marcos, CA/La Costa Canyon HS) has been selected to play for the American Football Coaches Association’s Division III all-star team that will represent the United States against the Mexican National Team in the 2007 Aztec Bowl on Dec. 8 in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Bennett was named First Team All-Northwest Conference three consecutive seasons, after earning Honorable Mention All-NWC recognition as a freshman. He was selected for the AFCA All-America Team as a junior in 2006.

This season, Bennett led Willamette's offensive line, as the Bearcats gained 343.0 total yards and 250.0 rushing yards per game. During his four-year career, Bennett helped Willamette rush for a total of 8,960 yards (229.7 yards per game) and 94 touchdowns.

In addition to receiving AFCA All-America honors last year, Bennett was named Third Team A.P. Little All-America in 2006. He earned Honorable Mention All-America recognition from D3Football.com in 2005 and 2006. He was chosen Third Team All-West Region by D3Football.com in 2005 and was named Second Team All-West Region in 2006.

Bennett is one of 50 NCAA Division III seniors from around the country who will make up this year’s team. Former Widener, Delaware Valley and LaSalle Head Coach Bill Manlove will coach the team. The 2007 Aztec Bowl is
scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m. (CST)/4 p.m. (PST) on Dec. 8 at Estadio Olimpico Universitario in Chihuahua.

The Aztec Bowl is the traditional season-ending game for Mexico’s college football season. The game has been played 36 times since 1947 with the last 10 contests featuring the United States-Mexico match-up. The United States is 9-1 in the series and defeated Mexico, 28-7, in the 2006 game in Aguascalientes.

USA Football, the sport’s national governing body leading its development on a grassroots level, will team with the American Football Coaches Association for the first time to co-sponsor the United States Division III National Team at the Aztec Bowl.

USA Football’s involvement is part of its broader international program that includes organizing the first U.S. senior national team in the sport of football earlier this year. That team captured the gold medal at the 2007 World Championship of American Football in Kawasaki, Japan. Five members of the 2006 Aztec Bowl squad were members of that team.

Chitwood Sports Media of Jefferson, Texas, will provide a live webcast of the Aztec Bowl in 2007. Along with the game webcast on Dec. 8, announcers Charlie Chitwood and Ned Fratangelo will provide 90-minute preview shows on Dec. 5, 6, and 7. The preview shows will originate from the Team USA hotel and will begin each night at 6:30 p.m. (CST)/4:30 p.m. (PST).

The preview shows and game webcast can all be accessed via the AFCA’s website at www.afca.com and via the Aztec Bowl website at www.aztecbowl.com. Postgame results will also be available at www.afca.com.

The AFCA was founded in 1922 and currently has more than 10,000 members around the world ranging from the high school level to the professional ranks. According to its constitution, the AFCA was formed, in part, to “maintain the highest possible standards in football and in the coaching profession” and to “provide a forum for the discussion and study of all matters pertaining to football.

Brandon Bennett has been chosen to play for the NCAA Division III all-star team in the 2007 Aztec Bowl.

Brandon Bennett has been chosen to play for the NCAA Division III all-star team in the 2007 Aztec Bowl.