Morningside's Nixon and Ryan claim GPAC awards - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports


Morningside's Nixon and Ryan claim GPAC awards

Morningside quarterback Joel Nixon has been named the offensive player of the year in the GPAC. Morningside quarterback Joel Nixon has been named the offensive player of the year in the GPAC.

Morningside College's Joel Nixon, a 6-0, 205 lb. senior quarterback from Wakefield, Neb., has been named the Hauff Mid-America Sports/Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Offensive Player of the Year to highlight the Mustangs' representatives on the 2012 All-GPAC Football Team as selected by the league's head coaches.

Morningside's Steve Ryan was named the Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Coach of the Year after he guided the Mustangs to a perfect 10-0 regular season record and a second consecutive GPAC championship. Ryan, who also received GPAC Coach of the Year honors in 2004, 2005, and 2011, has a career record of 95-30 for a .760 winning percentage at Morningside and has led the team to nine consecutive appearances in the NAIA Championship Series. The Mustangs will host Montana Tech in a first round game this Saturday.

Nixon, a converted wide receiver, has excelled in his first season as the Mustangs' starting quarterback and was named the GPAC Offensive Player of the Week four times during the regular season. He is the NAIA national leader with a pass efficiency rating of 185.1 and is second in the nation with an average of 328.3 yards total offense per game and sixth with an average of 276.7 yards passing per game. He has completed 180 of 279 pass attempts (64.5 percent) for 2,767 yards and 37 touchdowns. His 2,767 yards passing is the sixth highest single-season total in school history and his 37 touchdown passes are four shy of the Morningside record of 41 TD passes in a season set by Craig Fobbe in 2005 and matched by Ian Gilworth in 2008. Aside from his passing exploits, Nixon is also the Mustangs' leading rusher with 516 yards in 94 attempts for an average of 5.5 yards per carry.

Nixon is one of 10 Morningside players named to the All-GPAC first-team. He is joined on the first team by Kyle Schuck, Joel McCabe, Austin Klett, Cole Albright, Marcus Smith, Jared Goforth, Colby Henderson, Chris Calvillo, and Aaron Roberg.

 Henderson, a 5-11, 180 lb. senior from Wakefield, Neb., received first-team All-GPAC honors as both a defensive back and as a kick return specialist. He has 40 tackles, five pass breakups, and two interceptions for a Morningside defense that leads the nation in scoring defense with an average of 5.7 points per game. Henderson has 11 kickoff returns for 391 yards for an average of 35.5 yards per return. He had a 98-yard touchdown return against Dordt College for the longest kickoff return in Morningside history.

Schuck, a 6-2, 180 lb. junior wide receiver from Cherokee, Iowa, has 42 pass receptions for 679 yards and a team-high 15 touchdowns for an average of 16.2 yards per catch. Schuck, the Mustangs' leading scorer with 90 points, tied a school record with four touchdown receptions in the Mustangs' 41-0 victory against Dordt.

McCabe, a 6-1, 225 lb. junior J-back from Jefferson, S.D., is the Mustangs' leading pass receiver with 60 catches for 970 yards and 14 touchdowns for an average of 16.2 yards per catch.

Klett, a 6-3, 230 lb. junior tight end from Everly, Iowa, has nine pass receptions for 88 yards and one touchdown for an average of 9.8 yards per catch.

Albright, a 6-2, 295 lb. senior offensive lineman from Bronson, Iowa, is a blocking standout for a Morningside offense that is averaging 45.7 points, 207.1 yards rushing, and 503.4 yards total offense per game.

Smith, a 6-0, 210 lb. junior defensive lineman from Crete, Neb., has 32 tackles and leads the Mustangs with 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 33 yards, 4.5 quarterback sacks, three quarterback hurries, and four fumble recoveries.  

Goforth, a 6-0, 195 lb. senior defensive back from Polk City, Iowa, has 53 tackles and leads the Mustangs with seven interceptions and nine pass breakups to go along with three tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 22 yards and a quarterback sack.

Calvillo, a 6-2, 220 lb. senior linebacker from Sioux City, has 84 tackles, including a team-high 36 solo stops. He has 10.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 19 yards, one quarterback sack, two pass breakups and two quarterback hurries.

Roberg, a 6-0, 225 lb. junior linebacker from Grand Island, Neb., is the Mustangs' leading tackler with 29 solos and a team-high 57 assists for 86 total tackles. Roberg also leads the team with 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 35 yards to go along with two quarterback sacks, two interceptions, three pass breakups, and two fumble recoveries.

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