The South Atlantic Conference Announces Football Annual Awards

The South Atlantic Conference Announces Football Annual Awards



ROCK HILL, S.C. ( – No. 16 Wingate running back Lawrence Pittman was tabbed the 2017 South Atlantic Conference Football Offensive Player of the Year, while Catawba linebacker Kyle Kitchens was tabbed the League's Defensive Player of the Year.  In addition, Jerko'ya Patton of Limestone was named the SAC Offensive Freshman of the Year and Earl Adams of Mars Hill was tabbed the Defensive Freshman of the Year.  Wingate offensive lineman Daniel Owens garnered the Jacobs Blocking Trophy and the Bulldogs' mentor Joe Reich picked up South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year honors, the League announced today.


Pittman, a senior from Charlotte, N.C., led the SAC with 1147 rushing yards. Pittman also led the league in rushing yards per game (114.7). He has seven 100+ yard games this year with 165 versus UNC Pembroke, 158 versus Mars Hill and 155 versus Catawba. His 2017 stat ledger includes 246 carries, 1147 yards, 11 rushing TDs, 4.7 yards per rush, 116.4 all-purpose yards per game and 114.7 total offense average per game.


Kitchens, a senior from Decatur, Ga., led the league with 13 sacks, which ranks among the top 10 in the nation, and 18 tackles for losses. He produced three sacks in two outings, coming against Mars Hill and St. Augustine's, where he grabbed SAC Player of the Week honors. The senior forced one fumble, recovered one and broke up five passes. He finished his Catawba career with a school-record 38.5 sacks.  With the honor, Kitchens becomes just the third player to win two SAC Defensive Player of the Year honors in League history.


Patton, a running back from Charlotte, N.C., posted 907 yards and eight touchdowns during his rookie season. Patton, who registered three 100-yard games during the 2017 campaign, averaged 4.5 yards per carry while ranking fourth in the SAC in yards per game with 90.7 and sixth in rushing touchdowns


Adams, a freshman from Clayton, N.C., started in all 10 games at defensive tackle for the Lions as a true freshman. He recorded 46 tackles that placed him eighth on the team in that category. He led the team with 10.5 tackles-for-loss and was sixth in the SAC in tackles-for-loss.  He also tallied three sacks and ranked 21st in the SAC in assisted tackles.


Owens, a redshirt senior from Cherryville, N.C., has been a four-year starter who has started every game during his Wingate Bulldog career. In 2017, Owens has played 750 snaps through 10 games. He has graded out at 87 percent overall (combining mental, technical and effort grades) with a 98 percent effort grade. Owens has 35 knockdowns while allowing only one sack. The Bulldog O-Line helped Lawrence Pittman and Blake Hayes combine for 1877 yards during the regular season.


Reich led his Bulldog squad to their first South Atlantic Conference Championship since the 2010 season.  His team is currently ranked No. 16 in Division-II and ranked as high as No. 12 during the season.  Offensively, the Bulldogs top the SAC with 41 red-zone scores, while ranking No. 1 with 21.8 first downs.  On the defensive side of the ball, Wingate finished the regular season No. 1 in the League with 14 picks and the special teams set the SAC punt return standard with 20.4 yards per return.  The award marks his third SAC Coach of the Year plaudit in his career.


Catawba finished No. 1in the League with eight first-team selections.  Carson-Newman placed six on the first-teams, while Newberry and Wingate put four players on the first team.  Mars Hill had three first-team picks and Limestone and Tusculum each recorded two.  Lenoir-Rhyne rounded out the list with one on the first-team.


Quarterback – Patrick O'Brien, Catawba
Running Back – Jared Dillingham, Carson-Newman
Running Back – Nelson Brown, Lenoir-Rhyne
Running Back – Lawrence Pittman, Wingate
Wide Receiver – Sam Mobley, Catawba
Wide Receiver – Keshaun Taylor, Mars Hill
Wide Receiver – Craig Rucker, Mars Hill
Offensive Line – Phil McDowell, Carson-Newman
Offensive Line – Quinzavious Sands, Catawba
Offensive Line – Brandon Berridge, Mars Hill
Offensive Line – Dakota Mozingo, Newberry
Offensive Line – Daniel Owens, Wingate
Tight End – Jourdan Osinskie, Catawba
Placekicker – Lee Brackman, Catawba
Long Snapper – Will Brasington, Limestone
Return Specialist – BJ Muckelvene, Wingate


Defensive Line – Montel Presley, Carson-Newman
Defensive Line – Jamarcus Henderson, Newberry
Defensive Line – Keito Jordan, Newberry
Defensive Line – Auntrell Mack, Wingate
Linebacker – Sha'Heem Stupart, Carson-Newman
Linebacker – Trey Evans, Catawba
Linebacker – Joe Blue, Newberry
Linebacker – Kyle Kitchens, Catawba
Defensive Back – Darius Williams, Carson-Newman
Defensive Back – Desmond Fairell, Carson-Newman
Defensive Back – Cris Page, Catawba
Defensive Back – Martez Thompkins, Tusculum
Punter – Hunter Cantrell, Tusculum AND Alex Haynes, Limestone


Quarterback – Derrick Evans, Carson-Newman AND David Salmon, Mars Hill
Running Back – Eamon Smart, Catawba
Running Back – Jerko'ya Patton, Limestone
Running Back – Blake Hayes, Wingate
Wide Receiver – Dorren Miller, Carson-Newman
Wide Receiver – Markell Castle, Newberry
Wide Receiver – Vyncint Smith, Limestone
Offensive Line – Jordan Seal, Carson-Newman
Offensive Line – Brandon Floyd, Catawba
Offensive Line – Jalen Soto, Lenoir-Rhyne
Offensive Line – Tyler Anderson, Newberry
Offensive Line – Connor Baroniunas, Wingate
Tight End – Jake Jensen, Wingate
Placekicker – Nick Smith, Limestone
Long Snapper – Ian O'Grady, Tusculum
Return Specialist – Jay Boyd, Tusculum


Defensive Line – Brian Bembry, Carson-Newman
Defensive Line – Omar Staley, Catawba
Defensive Line – Jordan Hemingway, Catawba
Defensive Line – Kelvin Atkins, Limestone AND Cardell Rawlings, Wingate
Linebacker – Sherrod Williams, Lenoir-Rhyne
Linebacker – Evan Patrick, Limestone
Linebacker – L'Keith Brown, Tusculum
Linebacker – Robbie Wallace, Wingate
Defensive Back – Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
Defensive Back – Jawanza Adams, Newberry
Defensive Back – Dee Alford, Tusculum
Defensive Back – Kam Johnson, Wingate


OFFENSIVE FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR – Jerko'ya Patton, Limestone
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Lawrence Pittman, Wingate
JACOBS BLOCKING TROPHY – Daniel Owens, Wingate
COACH OF THE YEAR – Joe Reich, Wingate


Statistical Champions
Rushing Yards Per Game: Lawrence Pittman, Wingate (114.7)
Passing Yards Per Game:  David Salmon, Mars Hill (276.6)
Total Offense Per Game: David Salmon, Mars Hill (267.7)
Receptions Per Game: Keshaun Taylor, Mars Hill (6.4)
Receiving Yards Per Game: Keshaun Taylor, Mars Hill (128.1)
All-Purpose Yards Per Game: Keshaun Taylor, Mars Hill (152.20)
Passing Efficiency Rating: Patrick O'Brien, Catawba (157.7)
Punt Return Avg.: BJ Muckelvene, Wingate (25.1)
Kick Return Avg: Chance Walker, Newberry (26.9)
Punting Avg: Alex Haynes, Limestone (42.1)
Scoring Average (TDs): Derrick Evans, Carson- Newman (9.8)
Scoring Average (K): Freddy McCollum, Wingate (7.4)
Field Goals Per Game: Freddy McCollum, Wingate & Nick Smith, Limestone (1.2)
Field Goal Percentage: Lee Brackman, Catawba (.800)   
Tackles Per Game: Robert Wallace, Wingate (9.5)
Sacks Per Game:  Kyle Kitchens, Catawba (1.14)
Tackles for Loss Per Game: Kyle Kitchens, Catawba (1.6)
Interceptions Per Game:  Darius Williams, Carson-Newman (0.5)
Team Scoring Offense:  Carson-Newman (33.1)
Team Scoring Defense: Catawba (17.6)
Team Passing Offense: Mars Hill (302.9)
Team Passing Defense: Tusculum (170.1)
Team Rushing Offense:  Carson-Newman (274.5)
Team Rushing Defense: Carson-Newman (95.7)
Team Total Offense: Mars Hill (413.5)
Team Total Defense: Carson-Newman (277.9)