Nine players named All-HCAC; Chris Sommers selected 1st team for third time
By Scott VanEman, SID assistant
November 19, 2003
BLUFFTON, OHIO - Nine Bluffton College football players received Heartland Conference honors for their play during the 2003 season. Heartland Conference honors were voted on at the end-of-the-year HCAC coaches meeting held earlier this week. Bluffton finished the 2003 season with a 2-8 overall record and a 0-6 mark in conference action.
Earning first team honors for Bluffton were senior Chris Sommers (Delphos/Jefferson) and sophomore Ben Dodds (West Liberty/Bellefontaine). The selection is Sommer's third, making him a first team All-HCAC selection in all three of his years at Bluffton after transferring from Tiffin . Dodds' first team selection is the first of his career.
Sommers once again led the Beavers and all HCAC players in tackles, recording 115 for the season. He also posted three tackles for a loss, four pass breakups and one forced fumble during the 2003 campaign. Dodds was Bluffton's leading rusher this season, amassing 1,049 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. Dodds also ranked second on the squad in pass receptions with 34 for 266 yards and one touchdown. Dodds was among the leaders in several offensive categories in the HCAC. He ranked 2nd in rushing, 9th in total offense (1,049), 1st in all purpose yards (1,975), 2nd in kick return average (22.8), and1st in scoring (78 points).
Four Bluffton players took home second team All-HCAC honors including senior Pat Craun (Sidney/Sidney), junior Mark Gable (Alvordton/Hilltop), sophomore Jared Owens (VanWert/Crestview) and junior Scott Steiner (Berne, Ind./South Adams). It is the first selection for Craun, Gable and Owens and the second consecutive second team All-HCAC selection for Steiner.
Craun ranked fourth on the team in tackles this season with 58 and tied for second on the team in sacks with three. He also added seven tackles for a loss, one interception, four pass breakups and two fumble recoveries during the 2003 season. Gable led the Beavers in pass receptions this season with 35 for 518 yards and two touchdowns. Owens posted 1,388 passing yards and four touchdowns for the campaign, completing 57.2 percent of his passes for a 110.96 pass efficiency rating. He also added 445 yards and six touchdowns on the ground this season. Steiner ranked third in tackles this year with 65 and tied for first on the team with nine tackles for a loss. He also added one sack, and five pass breakups during the 2003 season.
Three Bluffton players notched All-HCAC honorable mention selections including senior Bill Fisher (Oregon/Clay), freshman Brian Lloyd (Elida/Bath) and junior Andy Tabler (Columbus Grove/Columbus Grove). It is the first All-HCAC selection for all three players.
Fisher was third on the team in receiving this year, hauling in 23 passes for 332 yards and one touchdown. He also led Bluffton in punting returning with nine returns for 73 yards, averaging 8.1 yards per return. Lloyd recorded 30 tackles in eight games including four tackles for a loss and two pass breakups. Tabler posted 34 tackles during the 2003 season and tied for second on the team in both sacks with three and tackles for a loss with nine.