SEWARD, Neb. – A total of seven Bulldog football players received first or second team all-conference recognition and another 10 were named honorable mention, as announced by the GPAC on Tuesday (view full list at bottom). Representing Concordia on the first team are sophomore running back Bryce Collins, junior kicker Adam Meirose and senior offensive lineman Josh Powell.
Second team all-conference accolades went to sophomore tight end Seth Fitzke, freshman receiver Jared Garcia, senior defensive lineman Kyle Rakow and freshman defensive back Tarence Roby. Meanwhile, Concordia record-setting quarterback Von Thomas appeared on the list of honorable mentions.
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.
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 rises to the first team following second team honors as a sophomore. In his career, Meirose has converted on 71 of 75 extra point attempts and 15 of 21 field goal attempts.
Powell, a second team choice 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.
A big part of that record-breaking offense was Garcia, a transfer from Stephen F. Austin. The native of Humble, Texas, eclipsed a school record of his own by hauling in 11 touchdown passes. He also topped Concordia with 44 receptions for 650 yards – both numbers that rank in the top 10 on Concordia single-season lists. Garcia burst onto the scene with 184 receiving yards at Hastings in week two. The following week he caught three touchdown passes in a win over Midland.
On the defensive side of the ball, no Bulldog enjoyed a more productive statistical season than Rakow. 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. 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.
With junior Josh Slechta sidelined for the first half of the season, sophomore Seth Fitzke stepped into a starting role and impressed the coaching staff with his ability as a blocker. The former Seward High School standout also caught 15 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Thomas earned his third-straight honorable mention accolade. 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).
2014 Concordia football all-conference selections:
Bryce Collins, RB
Adam Meirose, K
Josh Powell, OL
Seth Fitzke, TE
Jared Garcia, WR
Kyle Rakow, DL
Tarence Roby, DB
Adam Aschenbrenner, OL
Ben Balduc, OL
Sandy Fisher, P
Michael Gill, DL
Michael Hedlund, LB
Glenn Manninger, OL
Landon Oelke, DB
Logan Otte, WR
Tait Sibbel, DB
Von Thomas, QB