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Raiders land conference honors

WHITEFISH, Mont. — The All-Frontier Conference football lists were released Wednesday by the league office, and Southern Oregon University garnered more accolades than any other team with 13 mentions.

The seventh-ranked Raiders (9-2), who finished second with an 8-2 record in the Frontier, were represented seven times on the first team by Dylan Bratlie (offensive line) Thomas Giddens (punter), Karrington Jones (defensive back) Tylor King (offensive line), Joseph Lealofi (defensive line), Matt Retzlaff (receiver) and Julius Rucker (defensive back).

Six Raiders were second-team selections: Jaylenn Hart (defensive back), Jeremy Scottow (receiver), Tanner Trosin (quarterback), David Weider (defensive line), Sam Woods (offensive line) and Retzlaff again as a punt returner.

Retzlaff, a junior who was one of three players named twice on the list, has now been an All-Frontier player three straight years. Giddens, Jones and Lealofi joined him as repeat all-stars.

Despite missing three games due to injury, Retzlaff finished the regular season with 27 catches for 437 yards and three touchdowns to bring his career TD-reception total to 24 — tied for the fifth-most in SOU history. He returned 11 punts for 222 yards, including a 91-yarder in the season-opener at Carroll that went down as the longest punt return for a TD in SOU history. Scottow, a fellow Medford native, has compiled career-highs of 28 catches and 391 reception yards for two TDs during his senior season, including a 37-yard score in the first round of the playoffs last Saturday against Kansas Wesleyan.

The Raiders did not have an all-conference running back, but Bratlie and King received credit for their part in a successful ground game that has produced 239 yards per game, 5.8 yards per rush and 39 rushing TDs — 14 more than through the first 11 games of 2014. The line has also allowed SOU's quarterbacks to be sacked just 13 times (20 fewer sacks than the Raider defense has recorded).

In his first year as SOU's starting quarterback, Trosin has proven to be one of the most dangerous dual-threats in the NAIA. He's netted 66.3 rushing yards per game for a team-high 10 rushing TDs, and he's completed 66 percent of his passes (176-of-266) for 2,057 yards and 13 TDs with just four interceptions. Last week he completed 26 of 32 attempts for a season-high 365 yards and three scores, and rushed nine times for 90 yards and a TD.

Lealofi, Weider and Woods have led a formidable defensive line that has allowed four yards per rush — SOU's lowest mark in the Craig Howard era — and helped produce 33 sacks. Lealofi is third on the team with 60 tackles and first with 11 for losses, including five sacks. Woods owns a team-high 7 sacks to go with 50 tackles, and Weider has recorded 33 tackles and two sacks.

In the secondary, Rucker leads the team with 82 tackles (66 solo) from the safety position to bring his career total to 196. He's also broken up seven passes, intercepted one and brought home a 94-yard fumble recovery for a TD. Jones ranks second in the NAIA with six interceptions, has broken up a team-high 11 passes, has recovered two fumbles, forced one and owns 31 tackles. Hart has 47 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and six pass break-ups to his name.

And at punter, Giddens has put together a senior campaign worthy of All-American consideration with an NAIA-best 43.3 yards per try. Of his 42 punts, 17 have landed inside opponents' 20-yard-lines and eight have traveled 50-plus yards. His season-best was a 61-yarder that was the seventh-longest in Raider history.

The Frontier players of the year were Montana Tech running back Nolan Saraceni on offense — he'll be the conference's nominee for NAIA player of the year — and Montana Western linebacker A.J. Wilson on defense. Tech's Chuck Morrell was voted coach of the year.