Panther football players, coach receive top honors
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College football coach Bob Ritter was named NESCAC coach of the year, and senior quarterback McCallum Foote earned NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year honors for the second straight season.
Seven other Panthers also earned postseason honors when the NESCAC all-league teams were announced. Joining Foote on the first-team were senior offensive lineman Jack Allard, senior tight end William Sadik-Khan and sophomore receiver Matthew Minno.
Junior offensive lineman Blake Shapskinsky and junior receiver Brendan Rankowitz were named second-team All-NESCAC, as were junior defensive back Matthew Benedict and sophomore linebacker Tim Patricia. Earning second-team special teams honors was Panther junior punter Michael Dola. The group helped lead the team to a 7-1 mark and a share of the NESCAC Championship.
Ritter, a 1982 Middlebury graduate, earned NESCAC Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his 13 years at the helm. The 7-1 Panthers finished the season on a five-game winning streak to help Middlebury claim a share of its third conference title since 2000.
Ritter was previously recognized by his peers in 2007, when the Panthers won the NESCAC crown with a 7-1 record. He boasts an overall record of 64-40 with a .615 winning percentage, which ranks second in Middlebury history.
Foote’s statistical accomplishments pepper both the NESCAC and Middlebury record books. For the third straight season as a first-team quarterback, he led the NESCAC in passing yards (2,766), touchdown passes (26), and completions per game (32.38). He currently leads the nation in completions per game and is second in all of Division III in passing yards per game (345.8). He is one of three players in NESCAC history to win the conference’s Player of the Year twice
Allard, a high school teammate of Foote, anchored the offensive line at left tackle for three seasons at Middlebury, earned first-team recognition along with Shapskinsky, a second-team selection at left guard.
Sadik-Khan had a breakout performance at tight end in 2013, catching a NESCAC-leading 12 touchdown passes, with 59 catches for 633 yards for an average of 79.1 yards — each good for second place in the conference as a receiver.
Minno finished the season leading the NESCAC in receiving yards (677). He was second in touchdowns (eight) to Sadik-Khan and was third in receptions (50), but owns the longest reception of the season in the NESCAC, a 77-yard touchdown against Colby.
Rankowitz was fourth in the NESCAC in receptions (50) and receiving yards (552).
Patricia, the NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2012, earned his second nod as a second-team linebacker, racking up a team-best 78 tackles, placing him fourth in the conference. He also added 2.5 sacks, four tackles for loss and an interception.
Joining Patricia on the second unit for defense is Benedict as a safety. The junior racked up 66 tackles, good for seventh place in the NESCAC, while adding an interception and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Dola averaged 42.2 yards per punt on 28 punts in eight games. His average would lead the NESCAC and be among the nation’s leaders, but unfortunately for Dola, the Panther offense was not forced to punt enough times to qualify him to be among the nation’s leaders.
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