SEWARD, Neb. – A total of five Concordia University football players were named to the 27-member Omaha World-Herald NAIA All-Nebraska football team and another four garnered honorable mention status, as announced on Christmas day. Headlining Bulldog selections were running back Bryce Collins, kicker Adam Meirose, offensive lineman Josh Powell, defensive lineman Kyle Rakow and defensive back Tarence Roby.
Honorable mention went to tight end Seth Fitzke, receiver Jared Garcia, defensive lineman Michael Gill and quarterback Von Thomas.
Despite missing two games, Collins became the fifth 1,000-yard rusher in program history on the strength of six 100-yard performances on the season. The native of Boerne, Texas, ran for a career high 157 yards in a win over Dordt on Oct. 4. Also a threat in the kick return game and as a pass catcher out of the backfield, Collins piled up 1,559 all-purpose yards and eight total touchdowns. In two seasons as a Bulldog, Collins has rushed for a combined 1,720 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was named first team all-conference.
Also a Capital One Academic All-District selection, Meirose broke his own record for successful extra point tries in 2014, going 40-for-42 on PATs and 6-for-8 on field goals (long of 36). The Lincoln North Star High School product has already has first and second team all-conference awards to his credit. In his career, Meirose has converted on 71 of 75 extra point attempts and 15 of 21 field goal attempts.
Powell, a first team All-GPAC choice in 2014 and second team in 2013, helped pave the way for Collins from his right guard spot. The Kennesaw, Neb., native anchored an offensive line that helped the Bulldogs rank second in the GPAC with an average of 203.8 rushing yards per game. In addition, Concordia’s average of 401.6 total yards of offense broke the former program record held by the 2004 team.
On the defensive side of the ball, no Bulldog enjoyed a more productive statistical season than Rakow, a second team all-conference performer. He far surpassed career highs with team-leading totals of 79 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and seven quarterback hurries. Rakow, who hails from Pleasant Dale, Neb., recorded at least one tackle for loss in nine of 11 games on the way to earning his first career all-conference honor.
Roby, also a first-year Bulldog, emerged as a playmaker in the defensive backfield and on special teams in a second team all-conference campaign. The Rockford, Ill., native earned two GPAC player of the week honors and scored touchdowns on a 45-yard fumble return (vs. Midland) and on a 90-yard kickoff return (vs. Northwestern). Roby finished the season with 51 tackles, five interceptions, eight pass break ups and two fumble recoveries. He totaled 277 yards on nine kickoff returns.
Thomas earned his third-straight honorable mention all-conference accolade in 2014. The Miami native completed his four-year career with program single-season records for touchdown passes (21), total offense (2,508), completions (197), passing attempts (334) and completion percentage (59.0). He owns program career records for total offense (7,260), passing touchdowns (49), total touchdowns (65), completions (510) and pass attempts (960).
OWH NAIA All-Nebraska Team
WR Connor Zumpfe, Nebraska Wesleyan Sr.
WR Kail Walker, Midland Jr.
TE Jordan Wallman, Hastings Sr.
OL Tanner Paxton, Hastings Sr.
OL Josh Powell, Concordia Sr.
OL Trey McCluskey, Midland Sr.
OL Blake Bunner, Doane Jr.
OL Landon Arnold, Hastings Jr.
QB Matt Overmiller, Hastings Sr.
RB Bryce Collins, Concordia So.
RB Alex Cornist, Midland Sr.
Honorary captain: Connor Zumpfe, Nebraska Wesleyan
DL Phil Latimer, Nebraska Wesleyan Sr.
DL Aaron Hanlin, Doane So.
DL Kyle Rakow, Concordia Sr.
DL Cory Valasek, Doane Sr.
LB Erik Wylie, Hastings Sr.
LB Garrett Borcher, Doane Jr.
LB Josh Seiler, Midland Sr.
LB Shane Lloyd, Peru State Sr.
DB Ben Muff, Doane Jr.
DB Seth Wardyn, Nebraska Wesleyan Sr.
DB Tarence Roby, Concordia Fr.
DB Lucas Schawang, Midland Jr.
Honorary captain: Phil Latimer, Nebraska Wesleyan
K Adam Meirose, Concordia Jr.
P Andrew Gelb, Nebraska Wesleyan So.
KR Clayton Moore, Doane Sr.
PR Josh Boggs, Doane Sr.
Honorable mention: Seth Fitzke, Jared Garcia, Michael Gill, Von Thomas, Concordia; Nate Meier, Nick Reed, Andy Tatum, Alex Trevino, Doane; Ramiro Flores, Noah Housh, Josh Johnson, Jacob Reynoso, Hastings; Lane Heinert, Andre Jenkins, Christian Pulusian, Vaughn Smith, Midland; Tyler Francis, David Jennings, Ryan Larsen, Kalen Vandenberg, Nebraska Wesleyan; Dillon Bruggeman, Jon Draeger, Logan Paben, Cody Sullivan, Peru State.