ASHLAND — The Southern Oregon University football team was represented by nine players on the All-Frontier Conference teams, which were voted on by the coaches and released Wednesday by the league office.
The Raiders' first-team selections were sophomore linebacker Devvon Gage, senior offensive lineman Tylor King, sophomore kicker Marcus Montano, senior receiver Matt Retzlaff and senior safety Julius Rucker. Junior center Christmas Aumua, junior linebacker Isiah Carter, junior punter Louis DesPrez and junior safety Keegan Lawrence were second-team picks.
Montana Tech running back Nolan Saraceni repeated as the offensive player of the year. Orediggers safety Gunnar Kayser was named defensive player of the year and Chuck Morrell the coach of the year.
Retzlaff ends his career as a four-time all-conference honoree, and this was his second straight year on the first team. In nine games, he totaled 81 catches for 1,058 yards and 13 touchdowns, recording at least one receiving TD in every outing and going over the 100-yard mark five times. He led the NAIA in catches per game (nine) and ranked fourth in receiving yards per game (117.6). During the season, he also broke SOU career records for catches (247), receiving yards (3,373) and receiving TDs (40).
King, a three-year starter at tackle, made the first team for the second year in a row. He and Aumua anchored a line that allowed its quarterbacks to be sacked just 17 times throughout the season and helped Raider running back average 4.6 yards per carry.
Rucker also repeated as a first-team performer and finished sixth on SOU's career tackles list (284) with 61 in 2016. Gage led the team with 100 tackles and 13 for losses — he ranked third among Frontier Conference defenders in those categories — while also forcing two fumbles, recovering one and collecting an interception.
Carter was second on the team with 80 tackles, including 67 solo and 4 for losses. Lawrence, who broke into the starting lineup a few games into the season after moving from running back, had 68 tackles, a pair of interceptions and eight pass deflections.
As a placekicker, Montano converted 47 of 48 point-after attempts and nine of 14 field goals with a long of 42. He averaged 58.7 yards on 68 kickoffs and forced touchbacks on 19 of them. At punter, DesPrez averaged 42.5 yards per attempts — the fourth-best clip in the NAIA. Of his 49 punts, 11 went for 50-plus yards and 15 were stuck inside opponents' 20-yard lines.