Snitker Named IIAC Defensive MVP, Zweifel Earns IIAC Coach of Year as 17 Spartans Honored
Nov 19, 2015
Official IIAC Release
DUBUQUE, Iowa - The University of Dubuque football team set a new school record with 17 All-Iowa Conference performers including senior linebacker Blaine Snitker, who was named Iowa Conference Defensive MVP, and Coach Stan Zweifel, who collected his second IIAC Coach of the Year honor en route to the 2015 Iowa Conference Championship.
Snitker, a 2013 and 2014 First Team All-IIAC selection, played six games and compiled 52 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, one interception, and one pass breakup in anchoring a Spartan defense that finished first in scoring defense (15.4 ppg) and total defense (314.7 ypg) during seven IIAC games. After sitting out the first three games of the season, the Waukon, Iowa native debuted with a bang after corralling a career-high 21 tackles in UD’s IIAC opening victory over Luther. For his efforts, the senior was named the IIAC’s Male Athlete of the Week for his second career weekly IIAC honor.
Off the field, Snitker is a two-time Academic All-IIAC award winner and two-time First Team CoSIDA Academic All-District.
Head Coach Stan Zweifel claimed his second Iowa Conference Coach of the Year award and his second IIAC Championship after the Spartans finished undefeated in IIAC play for the first time since 1979. UD was ranked for the first time since 2011 and ended up No. 25 in the AFCA Coaches poll and No. 18 according to D3Football.com.
In his seventh year at the helm, the man known as Coach Z improved his record at UD to 40-31, 32-20 IIAC. His Spartans will look to add another win this Saturday, November 21 in their second NCAA Tournament berth under Coach Z.
Besides Snitker, the Spartan defense was represented by four other Spartans, DL Larry Harleston, LB Trevor Stauner, DB Oscar White, and DB Michael Joseph, all first-time, first-team award winners. Linemen Tanner Bronkema, and Pat Cusack teamed with TE Trenton Grana-Curry on the First Team Offense.
Harleston was a disruptive force on the line after racking up two forced fumbles, two sacks, 4.0 tackles for loss, and 36 total tackles in seven conference wins. The Racine, Wis. native was third in the IIAC in forced fumbles and totaled a season-high 11 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss in 31-24 victory at Simpson.
Stauner led the Spartan defensive with 73 tackles in conference play and also added 2.0 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. The Milwaukee, Wis. native accumulated 10+ tackles in three games, including 15 in a 37-21 win at Coe and a season-high 19 in IIAC-opening victory over Luther, 16-14.
White and Joseph made up half of the All-IIAC First team secondary after sporting the IIAC’s top passing defense that forced the most interceptions (12) and allowed the fewest touchdowns (9). Both wreaked havoc on the Kohawks thanks to White’s blocked PAT return to the house for two points and two pass breakups while Joseph’s third interception of the IIAC season set up the Spartans fourth touchdown of the day and gave UD a 23-6 lead in 37-21 win over Coe.
White totaled 24 tackles, one forced fumble, one interception, eight pass breakups (5th in IIAC), and one blocked kick. Joseph finished the IIAC season with 22 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, one forced fumble, a team-high three interceptions (2nd in IIAC), and two pass breakups.
Offensively, Bronkema and Cusack protected fellow IIAC honorees QB Rio Johnson and RB Maurece Herrion en route to the league’s third-best total offense and second-highest scoring attack. The Spartans scored 31+ points, totaled 123+ yards, and added 1+ TD rushing in six of their seven IIAC games while topping 500 total yards twice.
Grana-Curry earned his first IIAC honor after snagging 19 catches for 323 yards and two touchdowns in six IIAC games. The Beach Park, Ill. native’s 33-yd TD pass was UD’s final score in 16-14 victory over Luther and he followed with a career-best performance of six receptions and 139 yards a week later in win over Simpson.
Junior transfer QB Rio Johnson led a quartet of Spartans on offense with WR Chris Bagley, WR Dylan Schultz, and OL Dominique Ravenell following suit. Defensive lineman Zach Marotta was the lone Second Team selection on defense.
Johnson progressed as the season went on and earned the IIAC’s Male Athlete of the Week after completing 22 of 26 passes for 295 yards and four touchdown performance in 38-16 win over Central. The Atlanta, Ga. ended the IIAC season 118-for-173 (68.2%) for 1689 yards and 13 touchdowns with an IIAC-leading 172.7 pass efficiency.
Bagley caught at least one touchdown in the last five games and ended with 35 catches for 637 yards and an IIAC-high eight touchdowns.
Schultz surged late with one touchdown in each of the last two games and finished with 33 receptions for 395 yards and three touchdowns.
Ravenell claimed his second-straight, Second Team All-IIAC honor after starting all seven games for the IIAC’s second-highest scoring offense and third-best total offense.
Standout running back Maurece Herrion, LB Dylan Hastings, and OL Ben DeLange claimed Honorable Mention honors for the Spartans.
Herrion topped the 100-yard mark four times and recorded at least 73 yards and one touchdown in six IIAC games. The freshman finished with 689 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns (2nd most in IIAC) on 142 carries.
Hastings was the third Spartan linebacker named All-IIAC and totaled 49 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, one fumble recovery, one quarterback hit, and one blocked kick in seven IIAC games.
DeLange started six IIAC games at center and combined with other Spartan lineman honorees Bronkema, Cusack, and Ravenell to lead one of the league’s best offenses.
Spartan All-IIAC Honorees
Defensive MVP – LB Blaine Snitker
Coach of the Year – Stan Zweifel
First Team – OL Tanner Bronkema, OL Pat Cusack, TE Trenton Grana-Curry, DL Larry Harleston, LB Blaine Snitker, LB Trevor Stauner, DB Oscar White, DB Michael Joseph
Second Team – OL Dominique Ravenell, QB Rio Johnson, WR Chris Bagley, WR Dylan Schultz, DL Zach Marotta
Honorable Mention – OL Ben DeLange, LB Dylan Hastings, RB Maurece Herrion