Ithaca Football Cleans Up Liberty League Yearly Awards

Ithaca Football Cleans Up Liberty League Yearly Awards

TROY, NY- The Liberty League released its yearly awards for the 2002 football season and 16 members of the nationally ranked No. 9/10 Bombers were honored on one of three teams, while Michael Toerper and his staff were named Coaching Staff the Year. Along with that, AJ Wingfield, Matt DeSimpliciis and Nicholas Bahamonde were named Players of the Year.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: AJ WingfieldSenior, Quarterback, Ithaca College

Ithaca College senior quarterback AJ Wingfield earned Liberty League Offensive Player of the Year honors following a regular season in which he threw for 1,744 yards and recorded 16 touchdowns. He leads the conference in completion percentage (70.1) and tied for a league-best 16 touchdowns. He was second among league leaders in passing yards. Wingfield, a two-time Liberty League Offensive Performer of the Week selection this season, also rushed for 194 yards to go along with three rushing touchdowns.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Matt DeSimpliciisSenior, Linebacker, Ithaca College

Ithaca College senior linebacker Matt DeSimpliciis was voted the Liberty League Defensive Player of the Year. A defensive starter in all 10 games, he leads the Bombers in tackles (74) and sacks (5.5-37). He anchors Ithaca’s defense that finished the regular season ranked second in the Liberty League for total defense and scoring defense, holding opponents to 241.5 yards and 9.9 points per game respectively. DeSimpliciis currently leads the league in sacks and is among the top-ten in tackles. He also recorded 8.5 tackles-for-loss, one interception and recovered two fumbles.

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Nicholas BahamondeKicker, Ithaca College

For the third consecutive season, Ithaca College kicker Nicholas Bahamonde was named the Liberty League Special Teams Player of the Year. He was 13-for-19 in field goals this season, including a long of 48 yards. He paces the Liberty League in field goals and is currently ranked second in Division III for field goals per game (1.30). The four-time Liberty League Special Teams Performer of the Week also leads the league in scoring, totaling 85 points through 10 games. Bahamonde also accounted for 72 kickoffs for the Bombers, averaging 58.4 yards per kickoff.

COACHING STAFF OF THE YEAR: Ithaca College, Michael Toerper – Head Coach

Ithaca College head coach Michael Toerper and his coaching staff have been selected as the Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year in a vote by the league’s head coaches. Toerper, in his first year as head coach, directed Ithaca to an undefeated regular season of 10-0, the school’s first undefeated campaign since 1986 and the Bombers’ first outright Liberty League Championship title since joining the conference in 2017 (Ithaca claimed a share of the Liberty League title in 2017, 2018 and 2021). Ithaca earned the league’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament with an unblemished mark of 6-0 against conference foes. The Bombers return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014 and will host UMass-Dartmouth in the opening round. Ithaca is currently averaging a league-best 38.3 points per game while holding opponents to 9.9 points per game, ranking them second in the conference. Nationally, they are ranked ninth in scoring defense and 31st in scoring offense. Toerper is assisted by mike hatcher (QB/WR), Trevor Warner (DC/DB), Sean Reeder (OC/OL), Kerry Grigsby (DL), Tom Biscardi (LB), Gary Bucci (RB), Josh Kowalczyk (WR), Ryan Shippa (OL), Zach Kinter (TE) and KP McClain (Offensive Wizard).

ALL-LIBERTY LEAGUE FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
QB- AJ WingfieldSr., Ithaca
WR- Michael AndersonSr., Ithaca
YOU- Jon CrowleySr., Ithaca
OL- Jake VillanuevaSr., Ithaca

Anderson led IC with 52 catches for 611 yards and four touchdowns this year. He recorded a long reception of 59 yards and caught at least two passes in every game and went over 100 yards receiving twice.

Crowley emerged as a receiving threat towards the latter part of the season and has been one of the best blockers for IC all season. He finished the regular season with eight catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

Villanueva, a 2021 All-American, once again was a reliable lineman at his guard position. He anchored a line that allowed just four sacks all season and opened holes for the Bombers to average more than 193 yards rushing per game.



ALL-LIBERTY LEAGUE FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
LB- Matt DeSimpliciisSr., Ithaca
DB- Anthony RobinsonSr., Ithaca
DB- Michael RoumesGr., Ithaca
DB- Derek SlywkaSr., Ithaca

Robinson, now a two-time first-team honoree, played in six games this season and made 17 tackles with four pass breakups and one interception. He was tasked each week with locking down each opponent’s top wide receiver.

Roumes earns another all-league honor as he ranks second on the squad with 55 tackles, to go along with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He notched six tackles for loss and two sacks.

Slywka appeared in all 10 games as a safety and made 33 tackles on the year with five breakups, one interception and 2.5 tackles for loss.



ALL-LIBERTY LEAGUE FIRST TEAM SPECIALISTS
PK- Nicholas BahamondeSr., Ithaca
RS- Anthony D’AddettaSr., Ithaca

D’Addetta is one of the nation’s leading kick returners with an average of 30.5 yards per return in 19 attempts. He has one touchdown on the season, which was a school-record return of 96 yards. He also took one back 87 yards in the Cortaca Jug.



ALL-LIBERTY LEAGUE FIRST SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
RB- Jake WilliamsJr., Ithaca
OL- JoJo PuckeySr., Ithaca

Williams has been the go-to back all season for the Bombers and finished the year with 682 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had 15 receptions for 129 yards and one touchdown.

Puckey started eight games at center this season and is another main reason for the protection of Wingfield at the prowess of IC’s running game.



ALL-LIBERTY LEAGUE SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
DL- Michael BlanchardJr., Ithaca
LB- Miles HaynesSr., Ithaca

Blanchard played in nine games this year and made 26 tackles, including 5.0 for loss and 2.5 sacks. He also notched one interception.

Haynes has been a contributor on defense for his entire career at IC and adds another postseason award to his resume. He made 37 tackles this season with 2.5 for loss.



ALL-LIBERTY LEAGUE SECOND TEAM SPECIALISTS
RS- Michael AndersonSr., Ithaca

On top of his duties as the No. 1 receiver, Anderson is one of the best punt returners in DIII. He ranks 16th nationally with an average of 13.2 yards per return and has taken two punts back for scores this year.



ALL-LIBERTY LEAGUE HONORABLE MENTION DEFENSE
DL- Jordan SosaSr., Ithaca
LB- Jason HaberSr., Ithaca

Sosa produced 21 total tackles on the defensive line this season with one pass breakup and 0.5 tackles for loss. He was a key piece to the line that allowed the linebackers to pursue opponents all season long.

Haber was a threat in his outside linebacker position as he made 48 total tackles and led IC with 9.0 tackles for a loss of 40 yards. He also had 1.5 sacks this season, to go along with five breakups and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

 

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