Three Beavers named first team All-HCAC
Crosier, Trotter and Hubbard earn first team All-HCAC honors
November 16, 2011
BLUFFTON, Ohio - Ten Bluffton University football players were recently honored by the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference for their play during the 2011 season. The athletes were selected by the Heartland Conference coaches following the completion of the regular season. Bluffton placed three players on the first team for the first time since 2007 while four seniors were selected to the second team.
Senior Justin Crosier (Columbus/Hamilton Township) took home his second consecutive first team All-Heartland Conference honor after leading the Beavers to their best season since 2004. For the second straight year, Crosier led the HCAC in tackles-for-a-loss (16.5) and he was second in the conference with six sacks. The pre-season All-American nose tackle equaled Jake Luthy for second on the team with 56 stops after topping the Beavers (63 tackles) in 2010. He ended his career first all time with 50.5 TFL's and seventh all time with 219 total tackles. Crosier also finished with 15.5 sacks, six quarterback hurries, four forced fumbles and two blocked kicks. He was a three-time All-HCAC performer, earning honorable mention as a sophomore.
Senior Todd Trotter (Cincinnati/Aiken University) collected his third straight first team All-Heartland Conference award this season. He again handled the kickoff returns, racking up 583 yards on 28 attempts. Trotter also started as a slot receiver, hauling in 29 receptions for 380 yards (13.1 yards per catch). He had one touchdown and a career-long 67-yard reception as a senior. The standout returner ended his career first all time with 98 returns and 2,081 yards. His 21.2 average per return is eighth all time. Trotter also moved up to 11th on the all-time list with 1,004 career receiving yards.
For the second time in three years, Shane Hubbard (Johnstown/Big Walnut) led Bluffton in tackles with 59 stops. The senior, who paced the Beavers with 84 tackles in 2009, was honorable mention All-HCAC the past two seasons before earning first team acclaim as a senior. Hubbard had 4.5 TFL's and two interceptions this year while also forcing a fumble. His 244 career tackles place him fourth all time at Bluffton. Hubbard tallied 10 TFL's and five breakups for his career.
Jason A. Johnson (Lansing, Mich./Lansing Eastern) earned his first All-HCAC honor following an outstanding senior campaign. Johnson improved each season, capping his career with 30 catches for 569 yards while being named second team All-HCAC. He scored seven touchdowns, including a 74-yarder. His seven TD receptions were just one off the Bluffton all-time single-season mark of eight (Jim Sommer and Eric Metz). Johnson finished his career with 1,161 receiving yards (8th all time) and 12 touchdown receptions (6th all time).
Russell Krouse (Huntsville/Indian Lake) took home his second straight All-HCAC second team award. Krouse, Bluffton's left tackle, paved the way for a Beaver offense that saw four players rush for over 370 yards each. The Beavers went for 180.2 yards per game, their best rushing attack since 2005, while their 345.7 yards of total offense was the best since 2002. A four-year starter, Krouse has been instrumental in Bluffton's steady improvement on offense.
Geoff Yost (North Canton/Jackson), who was honored as second team All-HCAC for 2011, tallied 37 tackles for the Beavers. The senior linebacker forced a conference-high four fumbles and added two TFL's. Yost finished his career with 121 tackles, including 62 of the solo variety.
Jake Luthy (Ida, Mich) finished an outstanding career by earning his second piece of All-HCAC hardware. The senior linebacker piled up 56 tackles, including 28 solos. Luthy led Bluffton with four hurries and his 6.5 TFL's were second to Crosier. He forced a fumble, recovered two and picked off a pass. Luthy, who finished ninth on Bluffton's all-time list for tackles, came up just one stop shy of 200 career tackles, including 21.5 TFL's. He racked up 7.5 sacks, 10 breakups and three forced fumbles for his career.
Senior Oscar Vazquez-Dyer (Findlay/Carey) picked up his first All-HCAC award following the 2011 season. The honorable mention selection moved from cornerback to free safety following Steve Sealscott's season-ending injury and Vazquez-Dyer flourished in his new role, topping Bluffton with eight breakups. Vazquez-Dyer also came up with two pickoffs and his 10 passes defended were the third best in the conference. He wrapped up his career with 100 tackles and his six interceptions are tied for 20th on the all-time list.
Junior Justin Hahn (Rocky River) stuffed the opposition with 54 tackles from his safety position. He had five TFL's, picked off two passes and broke up four more en route to being named honorable mention All-HCAC. Hahn blocked a kick, forced a fumble and recovered one as well. He led the team with 36 solo tackles. For his career, Hahn has 127 tackles, seven TFL's, three interceptions and three breakups.
Senior signal-caller Chris Byrd (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Univ. Prep.) saved his best for last as he helped guide the Beavers to their best record since 2004. He completed 71 of his 140 passing attempts for 1,076 yards while churning out 372 more on the ground. Byrd threw for nine touchdowns and added four rushing scores. For his efforts, Byrd was an honorable mention All-HCAC selection. His 1,869 career passing yards place him seventh all time and his 15 touchdown passes are also seventh all time. Byrd is 15th on the career list for total offense with 2,664 yards.
In conjunction with the All-HCAC selections, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference also announced the All-HCAC Sportsmanship Team for the fall of 2011. Senior Ben Hatfield (Spencerville) was selected to the All-Sportsmanship Team from Bluffton. This award has been developed as part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative. Members of the All-HCAC Sportsmanship team are selected by the coaches and their teammates as individuals who demonstrate the ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field/court of competition.
Bluffton finished 5-5 overall and 5-3 in the Heartland Conference after winning five of its last six games. The Beavers claimed a share of second place in the conference along with Hanover, Mount St. Joseph and Rose-Hulman. It marks only the second time in school history that Bluffton has won five games in the HCAC, the first being in 2000 when Bluffton earned a share of the conference title. Full statistics and information on the 2010 football season are available online at www.blufftonbeavers.com/football.