Bearcat Football Places 19 Players on All-Northwest Conference Team

Rowan is Selected as NWC Special Teams Player of the Year

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University placed a total of 19 players on the 2011 All-Northwest Conference Football Team in voting by the NWC head coaches. Eight Bearcats earned First Team All-NWC honors, while five received Second Team recognition and six were chosen for Honorable Mention. Senior punter and place-kicker Mitch Rowan (Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) was named NWC Special Teams Player of the Year.

Overall, 90 players from the seven conference teams received All-NWC honors. Thirty-one athletes were chosen for the First Team, with 28 athletes on the Second Team and 31 athletes receiving Honorable Mention.

Willamette's First Team selections on offense were senior tailback Jamiere Abney (Bremerton, WA/Bremerton HS), junior wide receiver Jake Knecht (Issaquah, WA/Skyline HS/Illinois State Univ.), junior offensive tackle Taylor Reeder (Salinas, CA/Palma HS and senior center Kenny Miller (Woodland, WA/Woodland HS).

Players chosen for the First Team from Willamette's defense were Rowan, senior defensive end Ryan Bourke (Bothell, WA/Archbishop Murphy HS), senior outside linebacker Harmon Bruno (Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) and junior safety Cody Pastorino (Glenn, CA/Willows HS).

WU athletes named to the Second Team on offense were junior flanker Jake Turner (Ontario, OR/Ontario HS) and junior offensive guard Zane Wise (Sweet Home, OR/Sweet Home HS). Second Team choices from the WU defense were junior defensive end Ben Lyons (Anchorage, AK/South Anchorage HS), junior inside linebacker Wes Wenzel (Portland, OR/Sunset HS) and junior safety Dominic David (Salem, OR/Salem HS/Portland State Univ.).

Named Honorable Mention from the Bearcat offense was senior fullback Scott Perlin (Alpine, CA/Steele Canyon HS).

Players chosen Honorable Mention from the WU defense were junior defensive tackle Mark Meek (Gladstone, OR/La Salle HS/Western Oregon Univ.), senior defensive tackle Ron Carter (Atwater, CA/Buhach Colony HS), sophomore inside linebacker Jaden Rosselli (Santa Rosa, CA/Santa Rosa HS), senior cornerback Alex Holland (Mercer Island, WA/Mercer Island HS) and sophomore cornerback Tyson Giza (Salem, OR/Sprague HS).

In addition to naming Rowan as the NWC Special Teams Player of the Year, the NWC head coaches chose quarterback Keith Welch from Lewis & Clark as the NWC Offensive Player of the Year, named defensive back Drew Fisher from Linfield College as the NWC Defensive Player of the Year and selected Linfield Head Coach Joe Smith as the NWC Coach of the Year.

Willamette played one of the toughest schedules in NCAA Division III this season and finished 4-6 overall, 3-3 in the NWC (4th place tie). The Bearcats took on three teams that were nationally ranked and played up two divisions to take on Portland State University from NCAA Division I (FCS).

WU Head Coach Mark Speckman concluded the year with a career record of 82-59 (.582). He needs just two wins to tie Roy S. "Spec" Keene, 84-51-6, for second on Willamette's list of coaching victories. Ted Odgahl is the all-time leader with a 98-64-10 record.

First Team All-NWC

Jamiere Abney (Sr., TB) was named All-NWC for the third year in a row. He was chosen Second Team All-NWC in 2009 and was Honorable Mention All-NWC in 2010.

This year, Abney led the Bearcats with 552 rushing yards on 100 carries for an average of 5.5 yards per carry with a long run of 61 yards. He scored three touchdowns on the ground. Abney also caught 10 passes for 82 yards and one touchdown. He rushed 26 times for 146 yards and one touchdown against Hardin-Simmons University on Sept. 10, 2011.

During his Willamette career, Abney rushed for 1,186 yards on 210 carries (5.6 avg.). He scored a total of eight rushing touchdowns.

Jake Knecht (Jr., WR) topped the Bearcats in pass receiving with 35 catches for 679 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged a team-high 19.4 yards per catch and ranked third in the NWC in touchdowns receiving.

In two seasons at WU, Knecht has caught 48 passes for 935 yards and nine touchdowns. His career average with the Bearcats is a solid 19.5 yards per reception. He tied the WU single game record with four touchdown catches against Lewis & Clark College on Nov. 5, 2011, while setting a personal career-high with 199 receiving yards. He earned a career-high 7 catches against the University of Puget Sound on Oct. 15, 2011.

Taylor Reeder (Jr., OT) started all 10 games this season at offensive tackle. He helped the Bearcats rush for 220.9 yards per game and 354.0 total yards per game. His blocking also contributed to WU completing 57.3% of its passes (106 of 185).

During his three year at WU, Reeder has played in a total of 19 games. Over the three seasons, Willamette has scored 85 rushing touchdowns, while reaching the end zone 45 times on passing plays for 130 overall touchdowns on offense.

Kenny Miller (Sr., C) was named First Team All-NWC for the second consecutive year. He started all 10 games in 2010 and also started all 10 games this season. Overall, he played in 30 games with 20 starts during his Willamette career.

This season, Miller was a key blocker as the Bearcats achieved 3,540 total yards and 174 first downs. Willamette averaged 5.5 yards per play. During the four years he competed at Willamette, the Bearcats rushed for 9,930 yards and averaged 236.4 rushing yards per game. WU attained a 30-12 record over the four years.

Mitch Rowan (Sr., P/PK) received the NWC Special Teams Player of the Year honor for his exceptional punting and solid place-kicking efforts throughout the season. He averaged 36.7 yards per punt, while forcing the opponents to take over inside their own 20-yard line 15 times on his 47 punts.

With an additional 16 punts resulting in fair catches and four reaching the end zone for touchbacks, opponents had just 13 punt returns. His longest punt covered 60 yards against Puget Sound on Oct. 15, 2011. He averaged 56.6 yards per kickoff and went 2 of 4 as Willamette's lengthy field goal specialist. He tied his career long of 40 yards twice during the season.

Rowan is WU's record holder for season and career extra points. His records are 62 of 66 extra points in 2008 and 115 of 127 extra points during his career. He was 108 of 117 in his first two years before focusing on longer kicks. He was chosen Second Team All-NWC in 2009.

Ryan Bourke (Sr., DE) earned All-Conference honors for the second year in a row. He was named Second Team All-NWC in 2010. This year, he achieved 31 total tackles (17 solo), including 7.0 tackles for losses (34 yards lost) and 3.0 sacks (25 yards lost). He tied for the team lead in tackles for losses and ranked third in sacks. He also forced two fumbles.

He played in 38 games in his WU career, including starts in all 20 games the past two seasons. He concluded his career with 72 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for losses (73 yards lost) and 7.5 quarterback sacks (56 yards lost).

Harmon Bruno (Sr., ILB) ranked second on the team this season with 63 total tackles, as he earned First Team All-NWC recognition for the second year in a row. Including Honorable Mention status as a sophomore in 2009, he was named All-NWC three times. He played in all 42 games the past four years and started all 20 games as a junior and a senior.

In 2011, he tied for first place on the team with 7.0 tackles for losses (26 yards lost). He forced one fumble and earned 1.5 sacks for 16 yards in losses. His career totals included 218 tackles (100 solo, 118 assists), 26.0 tackles for losses of 132 yards, 10.5 sacks for 76 yards lost, two interceptions, two blocked kicks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Cody Pastorino (Jr., S) registered 58 tackles this season, with 37 unassisted tackles and 21 assists. He earned 3.5 tackles for losses of 15 yards and intercepted two passes, which he returned a total of 37 yards.

Pastorino has played in 28 games with 12 starts over the past three years, and has attained 107 career tackles (71 unassisted). He has intercepted six passes in his career, while breaking up eight other passes. His has excelled on special teams and has blocked a eight kicks in his career, including two this season. He was chosen Second Team All-NWC in 2010.

Second Team All-NWC

Jake Turner (Jr., FL) carried the ball 56 times for 329 yards and four touchdowns this season. He averaged 5.9 yards per rush. He also caught 17 passes for 159 yards and one score. In the season finale against Pacific Lutheran University, he caught 9 passes for 99 yards and rushed 8 times for 40 yards.

For his career, Turner has rushed 87 times for 515 yards over the past three years. He has scored nine touchdowns while averaging 5.9 yards per carry. He has played in a total of 24 games.

Zane Wise (Jr., OG) started all 10 games in 2011 at offensive tackles, as he helped the Bearcats average 354.0 total yards and 26.6 points per game. The Bearcats earned 108 first downs rushing, 53 first downs passing and another 13 first downs by penalty. WU gained 4.8 yards per running play and 7.2 yards per pass attempt.

Wise has seen action in 20 games in his career, with 14 starts. He played in one game as a freshman. He competed in nine games with four starts as a sophomore in 2009 before securing a regular starting roll in 2011.

Ben Lyons (Jr., DE) was a strong presence in the opposing backfield for Willamette this fall. He achieved 6.0 tackles for losses of 28 yards and recorded a team-high 4.0 quarterback sacks for 25 yards lost. He also was credited with a three QB hurries. He provided WU with 32 total tackles.

In his three years at WU, Lyons has played in 26 games, while earning 54 total tackles (29 unassisted). He has accumulated 11.5 tackles for losses (51 yards lost) and has contributed 9.5 sacks (48 yards lost).

Wes Wenzel (Jr., ILB) led the Bearcats in 2011 with 65 tackles, including a team-high 42 assists. He supplied 4.0 tackles for losses (20 yards) and 3.5 sacks (19 yards). He broke-up two passes, had two QB hurries, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble. He produced nine tackles against Hardin-Simmons on Sept. 10 and against Pacific Lutheran on Nov. 12.

Wenzel started all 10 games this fall, giving him 25 career appearances. He has made 79 tackles in his career, including 49 assists, to go with four pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.

Dominic David (Jr., S) registered 56 tackles during the season, including 30 unassisted stops. He tied for the team lead with four interceptions, which he returned 32 yards. He broke up four passes and earned one fumble recovery. He provided numerous solid tackles.

In two seasons at Willamette, David has played in 19 games and contributed 85 tackles. He has intercepted five passes for 61 yards and has registered 10 pass break-ups. He achieved a career-high 10 tackles against Lewis & Clark on Nov. 12, 2011. He was Honorable Mention All-NWC in 2010.

Honorable Mention All-NWC

Scott Perlin (Sr., FB) played in four of the first five games this year, but missed part of the fifth game and all of the sixth. He returned to action for the last four games. He provided quality blocking throughout the season and also carried the ball six times for 28 yards (4.7 avg.). He scored a touchdown against Pacific University on Oct. 8.

His contributions helped Willamette rush for 2,209 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. He competed in 14 games during his career.

Mark Meek (Jr., DT) played very well for the Willamette defense, as he supplied 16 tackles this season. He earned 1.5 tackles for losses and broke up two passes. He recovered a fumble against the University of Puget Sound on Oct. 15 and blocked an extra point attempt against Portland State University on Oct. 22.

He has played in 22 games with seven starts during his career, while achieving 31 total tackles. He has registered 5.0 tackles for losses (18 yards lost).

Ron Carter (Sr., DT) played in all 10 games in 2011 and finished his career with 41 games played, including 33 starts. In his career, he achieved 62 tackles, with 31 unassisted tackles and 31 assists. He achieved 8.0 career tackles behind the line of scrimmage, forcing opponents into 16 yards in losses.

This fall, he registered six tackles and helped direct plays toward Willamette's linebackers. He was named First Team All-NWC in 2009, when he earned 23 tackles, had 3.0 tackles for losses and recorded one sack.

Jaden Rosselli (So., ILB) excelled after becoming a starter when Matt Parr (Jr., ILB, Lihue, HI/Kauai HS) suffered an injury. Rosselli played in nine games with six starts, and produced 60 tackles to rank third on the team. He made 3.5 tackles for losses and had 1.5 sacks. He broke up five passes, returned an interception 34 yards and forced two fumbles.

He was selected to the Team of Week twice this season and was named NWC Defensive Player of the Week once. In his two years at WU, he has seen action in a total of 13 games.

Alex Holland (Sr., S) missed two games due to injury, but still achieved 21 total tackles with 3.0 tackles for losses of 15 yards. He intercepted a pass against Puget Sound and returned the ball 40 yards for a touchdown. He led the Bearcats with seven pass break-ups and had one forced fumble.

Known for his quality pass coverage and hard-hitting tackles, he played in 21 games in his career and earned 35 career tackles (22 solo). He also attained 10 career pass break-ups.

Tyson Giza (So., S) played in nine games with eight starts this season. He missed one game due to injury. He tied for the team lead with four interceptions and also contributed 29 total tackles with 18 unassisted stops. He broke up four passes and forced one fumble. He also averaged 22.9 yards on 22 kickoff returns.

Giza missed the 2009 season with an injury, but played in nine games in 2010. Over the past two seasons he has played in 18 games and earned 43 tackles (26 unassisted). He is one of the hardest-hitting tacklers on the WU defense.

Mitch Rowan was named NWC Special Teams Player of the Year after placing 15 of 47 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Mitch Rowan was named NWC Special Teams Player of the Year after placing 15 of 47 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Jamiere Abney led the Bearcats with 552 rushing yards on 100 carries this season.

Jamiere Abney led the Bearcats with 552 rushing yards on 100 carries this season.

Harmon Bruno achieved 63 total tackles during the season, including 7.0 tackles for losses.

Harmon Bruno achieved 63 total tackles during the season, including 7.0 tackles for losses.