Kitchens Named SAC Defensive Player of Year; Dozen Make All-SAC


ROCK HILL, S.C. ( -- The South Atlantic Conference announced its 2017 All-SAC football teams and award winners on Tuesday with Catawba’s Kyle Kitchens claiming the Defensive Player of the Year honor. Wingate running back Lawrence Pittman was tabbed the Offensive Player of the Year and Joe Reich was named Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to the championship. In addition, Jerko’ya Patton, of Limestone, was named the Offensive Freshman of the Year and Earl Adams, of Mars Hill, was tabbed the Defensive Freshman of the Year. Daniel Owens, of Mars Hill, won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy.

Catawba put 12 players on the all-conference teams and led the way with eight first-team picks. Kitchens was joined on the first team by Lee Brackman, Trey Evans, Sam Mobley, Patrick O’Brien, Jourdan Osinskie, Cris Page and Quinzavious Sands. Second team honors went to Brandon Floyd, Jordan Hemingway, Eamon Smart and Omar Staley.

Kitchens becomes just the third player to twice be named the conference Defensive Player of the Year as he also won the honor in 2015. The last to achieve this was Stanley Tootoo of Elon in 1981 and 1982 and the other was Mars Hill’s Steve Campbell in 1979 and 1980.
Kitchens finished the regular season as the league-leader in sacks and tackles for loss. His 13 sacks rank seventh nationally, while he stands 18th in tackles for loss. The senior recorded sacks in eight of Catawba’s 11 games this season. Kitchens totaled 53 tackles with a forced fumble, fumble recovery, five pass break-ups and 16 quarterback pressures.

Evans joins Kitchens as a first team linebacker. The senior led Catawba in tackles this year, posting 79 over his 11 games. Among those tackles was 11 for losses, including a pair of sacks. Evans posted a pair of interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and broke up four other passes. Page, a sophomore defensive back, rounds out the first team defensive picks as led the Indians with three interceptions on the year with one for a score. He also posted a dozen pass break-ups. Page notched 45 tackles and was in on one for a loss.

O’Brien was one of four first team picks on offense. The graduate quarterback threw for 2,546 yards on the season, competing 63.3% of his attempts. O’Brien tossed 24 touchdown passes and was intercepted just five times. His 157.7 efficiency rating topped the SAC.

Mobley set a school record with his 1,046 receiving yards this season. The senior wide out caught 56 passes with eight going for touchdowns. Another O’Brien target was Jourdan Osinskie, who was named All-SAC for the first time. The junior was one of the top receiving tight ends in the country with 30 catches for 400 yards. He had three touchdowns. Sands, a junior, started a right guard and helped pave the way for a rushing attack that averaged 160 yards a game. Catawba allowed just 13 sacks on the year.

Brackman, a kicker, is the last of the eight first-team selections. The sophomore totaled 76 points on the season, connected on 12 of 15 field goals and making 40 of his 43 point-after tries. He hit on a season-long 43-yard field goal in the finale against Lenoir-Rhyne. Brackman excelled at kicking off, putting 37 of his 66 boots into the end zone for touchbacks.

Smart garnered second team honors at running back after putting up 917 yards with six touchdowns on the ground. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry and added nine catches for 63 yards. One of his catches went for a score. He finished his career ranked 13th all-time at Catawba with 1,871 yards. Another second-team pick on offense was Floyd at right tackle. The senior was part of unit that allowed just 13 sacks.

Juniors Hemingway and Staley earned second team honors on the defense line. Hemingway recorded 25 tackles with a pair of sacks. He also broke up a pass. Staley notched five sacks among his 35 tackles. He also blocked a kick.

QB – Patrick O’Brien, Catawba
RB – Jared Dillingham, Carson-Newman
RB – Nelson Brown, Lenoir-Rhyne
RB – Lawrence Pittman, Wingate
WR – Sam Mobley, Catawba
WR – Keshaun Taylor, Mars Hill
WR – Craig Rucker, Mars Hill
OL – Phil McDowell, Carson-Newman
OL – Quinzavious Sands, Catawba
OL – Brandon Berridge, Mars Hill
OL – Dakota Mozingo, Newberry
OL – Daniel Owens, Wingate
TE – Jourdan Osinskie, Catawba
PK – Lee Brackman, Catawba
LS – Will Brasington, Limestone
RS – BJ Muckelvene, Wingate

DL – Montel Presley, Carson-Newman
DL – Jamarcus Henderson, Newberry
DL – Keito Jordan, Newberry
DL – Auntrell Mack, Wingate
LB – Sha’Heem Stupart, Carson-Newman
LB – Trey Evans, Catawba
LB – Joe Blue, Newberry
LB – Kyle Kitchens, Catawba
DB – Darius Williams, Carson-Newman
DB – Desmond Fairell, Carson-Newman
DB – Cris Page, Catawba
DB – Martez Thompkins, Tusculum
P – Hunter Cantrell, Tusculum
P – Alex Haynes, Limestone

QB – Derrick Evans, Carson-Newman
QB – David Salmon, Mars Hill
RB – Eamon Smart, Catawba
RB – Jerko’ya Patton, Limestone
RB – Blake Hayes, Wingate
WR – Dorren Miller, Carson-Newman
WR – Markell Castle, Newberry
WR – Vyncint Smith, Limestone
OL – Jordan Seal, Carson-Newman
OL – Brandon Floyd, Catawba
OL – Jalen Soto, Lenoir-Rhyne
OL – Tyler Anderson, Newberry
OL – Connor Baroniunas, Wingate
TE – Jake Jensen, Wingate
PK – Nick Smith, Limestone
LS – Ian O’Grady, Tusculum
RS – Jay Boyd, Tusculum

DL – Brian Bembry, Carson-Newman
DL – Omar Staley, Catawba
DL – Jordan Hemingway, Catawba
DL – Kelvin Atkins, Limestone
DL – Cardell Rawlings, Wingate
LB – Sherrod Williams, Lenoir-Rhyne
LB – Evan Patrick, Limestone
LB – L’Keith Brown, Tusculum
LB – Robbie Wallace, Wingate
DB – Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
DB – Jawanza Adams, Newberry
DB – Dee Alford, Tusculum
DB – Kam Johnson, Wingate
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Lawrence Pittman, Wingate
OFFENSIVE FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Jerko’ya Patton, Limestone
COACH OF THE YEAR: Joe Reich, Wingate

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