The Dalton Ritchey-to-Kyle Warner passing combination has been crucial to Pacific Lutheran's football success in 2012, and Northwest Conference coaches apparently noticed as the PLU sophomores both earned First Team All-NWC honors as announced Tuesday.
A total of 18 Pacific Lutheran players received first team, second team or honorable mention recognition.
Lutes quarterback Ritchey (Onalaska, Wash. / Onalaska HS) and wide receiver Warner (Tumwater, Wash. / Tumwater HS) were two of seven Pacific Lutheran players to earn first team all-conference honors in a vote of the league coaches. Joining that duo on the first team were junior offensive guard Chris Edison (University Place, Wash. / Curtis HS), junior defensive lineman Mychael Tuiasosopo (Everett, Wash. / Mariner HS), junior linebacker Jordan Patterson (Lakewood, Wash. / Lakes HS), senior defensive back Tayler Angevine (Kent, Wash. / Kentlake HS), and junior defensive back Sean McFadden (Honolulu, Hawaii / Punahou HS).
PLU players named second team all-conference are senior offensive lineman Kyle Hofmann (Orcas Island, Wash. / Univ. of Montana), junior linebacker Ben Kaestner (Snohomish, Wash. / Glacier Peak HS) and sophomore defensive back Greg Hibbard (Olympia, Wash. / Capital HS).
Named to the honorable mention list are sophomore wide receiver Kellen Westering (Puyallup, Wash. / Rogers HS), senior running backs Brandon James (Gig Harbor, Wash. / Peninsula HS) and Cody Pohren (Mount Vernon, Wash. / Sedro-Woolley HS), sophomore tight end Lucas Sontra (Everett, Wash. / Everett HS), sophomore offensive lineman Tevon Stephens-Brown (Tacoma, Wash. / Wilson HS), junior defensive lineman Sam Lavis (Spokane, Wash. / Gonzaga Prep), senior linebacker Erik Hoium (Centralia, Wash. / Centralia HS), and junior defensive back Jonny Volland (Auburn, Wash. / Thomas Jefferson HS).
Of that group, only McFadden and Angevine had previously earned all-conference recognition at any level. McFadden was a first team honoree in 2010 as a freshman and a second team choice in 2011, while Angevine made the honorable mention list in 2011.
Ritchey, who led the Lutes in total receptions as a wide receiver during the 2011 season, has started all nine games for the Lutes this season. He is 163-for-273 (.597 percent) for 2,439 yards with 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Ritchey is also the team's fourth-leading rusher with 189 yards and six touchdowns on 86 carries.
Warner is Ritchey's favorite target with 55 receptions for 1,059 yards and eight touchdowns. The 6-foot 3-inch wide receiver averages 19.3 yards per reception and 117.7 yards per game.
Edison has started all nine games at right guard for the Lutes, who average 33.5 points and 412 yards per game.
Tuiasosopo, who plays in the middle of PLU's three-man front, has 42 tackles including 10 for losses of 42 yards. He has recorded 4.5 quarterback sacks, has both forced and recovered one fumble, and also returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown against Pacific.
Patterson, one of PLU's linebackers in the team's 3-4 base defense, leads the Lutes with 66 tackles, including a team-best 13 for losses of 69 yards. He has three quarterback sacks and two forced fumbles.
A cornerback, Angevine is tied for the conference lead with five interceptions - one of which he returned 80 yards for a touchdown - and has 41 total tackles. Angevine has broken up five passes and also has four tackles for loss.
McFadden, who plays safety, is third on the team with 55 tackles and also has two interceptions and a fumble recovery. The PLU defense allows 21.7 points and 336.7 yards per contest.
Hofmann has been a two-year starter at offensive tackle for the Lutes after transferring from the University of Montana. Kaestner leads Pacific Lutheran with 5.5 quarterback sacks among his 38 tackles, and he also has an interception and two fumble recoveries. Hibbard, a safety, ranks second on the Pacific Lutheran defense with 57 tackles, and he has an interception and fumble recovery to his credit.
Westering, who has returned to the field from a knee injury, has 29 receptions for 484 yards and four touchdowns in seven games. James is PLU's leading rusher with 490 yards, followed by Pohren with 264 yards. Both have scored four rushing touchdowns. Sontra has 17 receptions for 176 yards this season, and Stephens-Brown has started all nine games at left guard for the Lutes.
Defensively, Lavis has 25 tackles and 3.5 quarterback sacks, Hoium has contributed 24 tackles and an interception return for a touchdown, and Volland has four interceptions and 22 tackles.
Pacific Lutheran, 7-2, makes its first appearance in the NCAA Division III postseason since 2001 when it faces Northwest Conference champion Linfield at noon on Saturday in McMinnville, Ore. Linfield defeated PLU, 31-24, in Puyallup on Sept. 29 in a game that eventually decided the conference championship.
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