Pitt State Football Celebrates 2013 Season With Awards Banquet Saturday

Pittsburg – The Pittsburg State University football team hosted its annual Awards Banquet Saturday evening (Jan. 25). Nearly 400 attendees filled the Crimson & Gold Ballroom at the Overman Student Center to pay tribute to the Gorillas and their 2013 season.

Head coach Tim Beck recognized his squad for its character and work ethic. He awarded All-MIAA certificates and medallions to 17 members of the team, who were voted for conference honors by the league’s coaches in November. Additionally, eight players received All-Super Region Three awards, including six individuals who garnered All-America recognition.

Senior wide receiver/return specialist John Brown was voted by his teammates as the Carnie Smith Award winner as the squad’s MVP. Senior linebacker Nate Dreiling received the Joe Murphy Award as the Defensive MVP, while sophomore running back Jeff Seybold, Jr. won the W.G. Parrot Award as the Offensive MVP. Brown also received the Ronnie West Award as the Special Teams MVP.

Defensive end Heath Wilson was selected for the Ronald Moore Award, which recognizes the team’s most outstanding freshman. Junior linebacker Tyler Disney and senior wide receiver Daniel Rank shared the Richard Stratton Award which recognizes players who display the most sportsmanship, loyalty and inspiration. Senior running back Solomon Watkins, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during preseason drills, received the Heart of a Gorilla Award. Safety Chris Heffern, who graduated in December with a 3.85 GPA in construction engineering technology, earned the Sunflower Award for having the highest GPA among the Gorillas’ outgoing players.

Junior wide receiver Andre Taylor, who redshirted in his first season with the Gorillas in 2013, received the Work Team Offensive Player of the Year award, while freshman linebacker Demetrius Bernard garnered the Work Team Defensive Player of the Year award.

Fifty-eight PSU players were recognized for attaining 3.0 or higher GPAs. Fifteen Gorillas earned Dean’s Scholastic Honors (3.6 GPA or higher) in the Fall 2013 semester, while eight others earned All-A honors.

Junior safety Keeston Terry was recognized for earning Capital One Academic All-America honors, while Dreiling was honored for attaining Capital One Academic All-America® accolades.

KSNF TV sports director Eric Knecht ended the night by paying tribute to Pitt State’s 21 outgoing players – 19 seniors and two underclassmen who graduated and elected to move on with the next chapter of their lives: John Brown, James Caine, Dylan Case, Luke Catloth, Conner Combes, Taylor Counts, Trey Derryberry, Nate Dreiling, Will Grissom, Chris Heffern, Cody Holland, Levi Kuntzsch, Scott Lester, Austin Leake, Israel Maselera, Taylor Peak, Stephen Poston, Daniel Rank, Joe Uzzel, Jared Vinoverski and Joe Windscheffel.

“This senior class represents the first four years of the Tim Beck era at Pittsburg State University,” Knecht said. “This group has compiled a 36-12 record the past four seasons, 30-6 during the past three years – an NCAA Division II National Championship as well as a pair of Division II post-season bowl victories.

“The group includes five All-MIAA performers and three All-Americans. The most prolific wide receiver in the history of the Pitt State program. The all-time tackle leader in not only Pitt State, but also MIAA, history. A two-time National Special Teams Player of the Year, a National Defensive Player of the Year and one of only three four-time All-Americans in program history.

“This group never experienced a loss in the final game of the 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013 seasons. What a rare feat. A group that ended the season on a high note every year. The only other senior group to experience this honor for the Gorillas did so between 1933 and 1936. This accomplishment will live with them for the rest of time.

“The average grade-point-average of this 21-member group: 3.151. Sixteen of these men will be honored as members of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll. One of them received Academic All-America accolades. Among them, future leaders in wide-ranging fields of construction engineering, education, pharmacy, business management, marketing, communications, social work. The list goes on and on.

“This group has been the face of the Pitt State football program the past four years. They will never truly leave us. Rather, they simply and gracefully move aside and join the great host of Gorillas who have paid their dues, reaped their rewards and now await anxiously the new faces of the Pitt State football program to take their rightful places. Those sitting here amongst us, your time is now. Those considering joining the Gorillas, your legacies are waiting to be written. The countless others who will come, in their own time, to live and experience all that makes this football program, this institution and this community so special and so great.”