Mules football earns 16 All-MIAA honors

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.)The Central Missouri Mules football team put 16 players on the All-MIAA Team, including three first team selections as announced by the league office on Tuesday morning.
Senior running back LaVance Taylor, junior offensive lineman Brian Berzanski and senior defensive lineman Ramond Hunter were all named to the conference’s first team. Taylor was also named to the third team as a kick returner.
Second team honors went to senior tight end Cullen Rosine, junior linebacker Ricky Spratley and senior defensive back Connor Smith. Earning third team accolades were senior quarterback Hayden Hawk, junior offensive lineman Tycie Linneman, senior placekicker Will Mondragon, Taylor and junior defensive end Jason Venckus, while honorable mention honors went to freshman wide receiver Kyle Echols, senior fullback Sean Gorman, senior defensive lineman Russell Allen, senior linebacker Alex Perlin, senior defensive back Zach Leinbaugh and sophomore defensive back Diaron Rhodes.
Taylor earns his third straight all-MIAA honor as a running back and the second as a kick returner. He led the MIAA and was fourth in NCAA-II  with 1,654 rushing yards, that number also set a new UCM single-season rushing record. His 206.1 all-purpose yards per game are third best in NCAA-II and his 2,267 all-purpose yards this season are also a new single-season school record. He averaged 22.8 yards per kickoff return and ran one kick back for a touchdown, tying him for first place on UCM’s career kickoff returns for touchdowns list with three.
Berzanski earns his second straight all-league honor after starting every game at left tackle for an offense that ranked third in the MIAA in scoring, total offense, rushing offense and fourth in passing.
Hunter also earned his second straight all-conference honor after second team honors a season ago. He finished with 48 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a blocked field goal.
Rosine earned second team honors after being named honorable mention last year. He was second on the team with 30 catches for 373 yards and two touchdowns. He was also named a First Team Academic All-Region honoree earlier in the season.
Spratley earns his second straight second team nod after starting in 10 of 11 games and leading the Mules and finishing ninth in the MIAA in tackles with 92 tackles. He had 8.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and an interception and fumble recovery.
Smith earned his first all-league honor after tying for the MIAA lead with four interceptions on the season. He was fourth on the team in tackles with 56 and also registered three tackles for loss.
Hawk earned his second straight third team all-conference honor after throwing for 2,373 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was second in the MIAA with 215.7 passing yards per game, fourth in total offense and fifth in pass efficiency.
Linneman earned the first all-conference award of his career after starting every game at center for an offense that ranked third in the MIAA in scoring, total offense, rushing offense and fourth in passing.
Mondragon earned his first all-conference award as well. He was 12-of-17 in field goal attempts with a long of 37 this season. He averaged 56.5 yards per kickoff and recorded 21 touchbacks.
Venckus earned third team honors after finishing second in the MIAA with 13.5 tackles for loss and ninth in the league with 4.5 sacks. He totaled 51 tackles to rank fifth on the team.
Echols earned honorable mention honors in his first season with UCM. He had 24 receptions for a team-best 516 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 21.5 yards per catch and was ninth in the MIAA in receiving yards per game at 46.9.
Gorman earned the first All-MIAA honor of his career as a senior. He caught 12 passes for 147 yards and also scored a rushing touchdown from his fullback position.
Allen also earned his first all-league award as a senior. He started every game at defensive tackle for UCM and registered 28 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss and three quarterback sacks.
Perlin played in 10 of 11 games and was second on the team with 77 tackles. He had 7.5 tackles for loss with a sack and two pass breakups en route to his first All-MIAA award.
Leinbaugh played in nine games this season, recording 25 tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception. The honorable mention honor is the first of his career.
Rhodes also earned his first all-league nod after registering 46 tackles, three tackles for loss and an interception return for a touchdown and a blocked punt return for a TD. He set a new UCM single-season record with 15 pass break-ups.
The Mules finished the regular season at 7-4 overall and in MIAA play and in fourth place in the league standings. It is Central Missouri’s eighth straight winning season and the 16th in the last 17 years.