Football

Kitchens and Walker Highlight Football All-SAC Awards

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ROCK HILL, S.C. (TheSAC.com) -- Catawba linebacker Kyle Kitchens was one of eight Catawba Indians named to the 2015 All-South Atlantic Conference Football Teams, highlighting the list by being named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as announced by the league on Wednesday.  He was joined on the All-SAC first team by offensive lineman Lewis McCormick, defensive lineman CJ Barksdale and defensive back Case Woodard.  Second team All-SAC honors went to running back Cary Littlejohn, defensive lineman Johnathan Jean, linebacker Jamal Lackey and defensive back Mark McDaniel. Curtis Walker was picked as the SAC Coach of the Year.

Other top SAC awards went to Carson-Newman running back Damian Baker, who was tabbed as the Offensive Player of the Year, Gilbert Johnson, of Mars Hill, who was named the SAC Offensive Freshman of the Year and Kyle Dugger, from Lenoir-Rhyne, who was tabbed the Defensive Freshman of the Year.  Lenoir-Rhyne offensive lineman Joe Ray garnered the Jacobs Blocking Trophy.

Kitchens, a sophomore from Decatur, Ga., closed out the 2015 regular season slate with three fumble recoveries to rank No. 9 in Division II.  He is also currently No. 13 in the nation with 1.9 tackles for loss per game, while ranking No. 15 with 0.91 sacks per contest.  His 10 total sacks was good for No. 1 in the South Atlantic Conference. Kitchens piled up 60 total tackles in 2015, including 42 solo stops.  Kitchens’ only interception on the season was a big one as he returned the pick 90 yards for a touchdown in the win over Mars Hill on Oct. 17.  He posted seven games with multiple tackles for loss and was in on a sack in eight contests.

Walker, in just his third season at the helm of Catawba College, coached the Catawba Indians to their first championship since the 2007 season.  The Catawba Indians boast one of the nation’s top defenses as they are currently ranked No. 5 in the nation in scoring defense with 14.8 points per game.  Catawba is also ranked No. 9 in the country in red zone defense allowing a score in just 63 percent of opponent’s trips to the red zone.  Catawba leads the conference in sacks at 2.27 per game to go along with a league-best 6.7 tackles for loss per game.

McCormack has started all 44 games at Catawba over his four years.  He has helped pave the way for nine 100-yard rushers in 2015.  Barksdale is third on the team with 65 tackles which includes six for losses and two sacks.  He has also forced and recovered a fumble.  Woodard leads the league with five interceptions and has added an additional 10 break ups.  He has a sack and three stops for losses among his 48 tackles.

Littlejohn enters the playoffs just 24 yards shy of 1,000 on the season as he leads the Catawba rushing attack.  He averages 5.2 yards per carry with five touchdowns and has went over 100 yards four times.  Jean has been in on 54 tackles with a pair sacks and four for losses.  He has forced two fumbles and recovered three.  Lackey leads the team with 77 tackles, making 11 stops for losses and four sacks.  He forced two fumbles and has two recoveries.  McDaniel has three interceptions and nine break ups on the year.  He has posted 38 tackles with four going for losses.

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
Quarterback – De’Andre Thomas, Carson-Newman
Running Back – Damian Baker, Carson-Newman
Running Back – Romelo Doctor, Newberry
Running Back – Lawrence Pittman, Wingate
Wide Receiver – Keshaun Taylor, Mars Hill
Wide Receiver – Gilbert Johnson, Mars Hill
Wide Receiver – Justin Houston, Tusculum
Tight End – Marquez Williams, Mars Hill
Offensive Line – Derek Evans, Carson-Newman
Offensive Line – Lewis McCormick, Catawba
Offensive Line – Joe Ray, Lenoir-Rhyne
Offensive Line – Landon Martin, Newberry
Offensive Line – Mathu Gibson, Wingate
Return Specialist – Kristaan Ivory, Lenoir-Rhyne
Long Snapper – Andrew Smith, Newberry and Dusty Nance, Carson-Newman
Placekicker – Will Tommie, Tusculum

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
Defensive Line – C.J. Barksdale, Catawba
Defensive Line – Alstevis Squirewell, Newberry
Defensive Line – Jalen Hunter, Newberry
Defensive Line – Andre Foulks, Wingate
Linebacker – Kyle Kitchens, Catawba
Linebacker – Taylor McDonnell, Newberry
Linebacker – Brandyn Bartlett, Tusculum
Linebacker – Eric Mapoles, Wingate
Defensive Back – Xavier McFadden, Carson-Newman
Defensive Back – Case Woodard, Catawba
Defensive Back – Chris Shaffer, Lenoir-Rhyne
Defensive Back – Tay Otis, Wingate
Punter – Kyle Clark, Newberry

SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
Quarterback – Raleigh Yeldell, Newberry
Running Back – Cary Littlejohn, Catawba
Running Back – Kristaan Ivory, Lenoir-Rhyne
Running Back – Shaikel Davis, Mars Hill
Wide Receiver – TraShaun Ward, Carson-Newman
Wide Receiver – Ken Funnye, Tusculum
Wide Receiver – Jordan Berry, Wingate
Tight End – Zach Edmunds, Newberry
Offensive Line – Josh Turner, Brevard
Offensive Line – Dan Gallman, Carson-Newman
Offensive Line – Joe Hillin, Mars Hill
Offensive Line – Hayden Wilks, Newberry
Offensive Line – Billy Munker, Tusculum
Placekicker – Carson Wise, Carson-Newman
Return Specialist – TraShaun Ward, Carson-Newman

SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
Defensive Line – Phalen Booker, Carson-Newman
Defensive Line – Johnathan Jean, Catawba
Defensive Line – Johnny Maxey, Mars Hill
Defensive Line – Placid Ajoku, Lenoir-Rhyne
Linebacker – Sha’Heem Stupart, Carson-Newman
Linebacker – Jamal Lackey, Catawba
Linebacker – Jordan Forney, Lenoir-Rhyne
Linebacker – Carl Mattox, Mars Hill
Defensive Back – Mark McDaniel, Catawba
Defensive Back – Trey Clark, Mars Hill
Defensive Back – Arnez Gray, Newberry
Defensive Back – Cameron Thomas, Tusculum
Punter – Michael DeStephens, Lenoir-Rhyne

PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Offensive Freshman Of The Year – Gilbert Johnson, Mars Hill
Defensive Freshman Of The Year – Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
Offensive Player Of The Year – Damian Baker, Carson-Newman
Defensive Player Of The Year – Kyle Kitchens, Catawba
Jacobs Blocking Trophy – Joe Ray, Lenoir-Rhyne
Coach Of The Year – Curtis Walker, Catawba

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