View complete GPAC football all-conference teams
After one of the program’s most successful campaigns in recent seasons, Concordia football received seven combined first and second team selections on the GPAC all-conference squads, the league announced Tuesday. The list is headed by three first team Bulldog selections in junior safety Darnell Woods, senior kicker Kenny Zoeller and junior punt returner Derek Blessing.
The second team contains four Bulldogs, including a trio of seniors in receiver Colten Quinabo, offensive lineman Adam Faulstich and defensive lineman Michael Voelker and junior linebacker Dylan Heithoff.
Blessing took the conference by storm in 2012 with his electrifying returns. The Ogallala, Neb., native led the NAIA with 388 punt return yards and three punt return touchdowns while averaging 18.5 yards per return. He also topped the Bulldogs in tackles (75), pass breakups (6) and forced fumbles (3). In addition to being named a first team punt returner, Blessing received honorable mention recognition as a kick returner.
Zoeller (2010 honorable mention) emerged as one of the top kickers in college football this season as he connected on 15-of-20 field goal attempts and 27-of-28 PATs. The Spring, Texas, native’s 15 field goals were the second most in the NAIA and his 72 points ranked ninth among all kickers nationally.
Woods (2011 honorable mention) starred as one of the GPAC’s top playmakers in the secondary. He led Concordia with five interceptions and proved to be a major threat with the ball in his hands. The native of Phoenix, Ariz., totaled 176 return yards on his five picks, including a 48-yard interception return for a touchdown in the loss at Doane. He also added 58 tackles.
Quinabo and Faulstich were key pieces of an offense that went from 16.7 points per game last season to 24.0 in 2012. Quinabo caught 47 passes for 567 yards and four touchdowns, while Faulstich was the anchor of the interior of the offensive line at his left guard position.
Defensively, Voelker (2011 honorable mention) and Heithoff were rocks for their respective position groups. Voelker gave opposing offenses headaches up front. The Linn, Kan., native recorded a career high 63 tackles – 8.5 for loss – and put up two sacks and four pass breakups. Heithoff had a successful season moving from the defensive line to outside backer in the 3-4 scheme. He had 71 tackles (9.5 for loss) and four sacks.
The Bulldogs’ seven all-conference honorees are the most for the program since having eight in 2007. The three first team choices are the most since getting four in 2007. Heithoff, a second teamer in 2011, is Concordia’s only repeat selection in 2012.
Eight Concordia student-athletes also received honorable mention honors: Von Thomas (QB), Dylan Klassen (OL), Josh Powell (OL), Langston Jones (LB), Kyle Little (LB), Derek Blessing (KR), Tom Malander (LB) and Tait Sibbel (DB).