By: Kaleb Center
CSC Sports Information Director
COLORADO SPRINGS -- November 20, 2019 -- Chadron State College football garnered 10 total all-conference selections, with two going to the same player, when the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference issued its annual award release at RMACSports.org on Wednesday. In addition, two CSC players earned honorable mention.
Three were named to the All-RMAC First Team, keeping alive the Eagles' streak of 29 consecutive seasons with at least one first team honoree. The CSC football program is the only one in the league to have produced a first team selection every year since it began RMAC play in 1991.
As always, the league's coaches select the teams, each one prohibited from voting for their own players.
Senior wide receiver Tevon Wright (Miami, Fla.), junior offensive tackle Justin Calderon (Levittown, N.Y.), and senior offensive lineman Jared Maciejczak (Box Elder, S.D.) received top billing on the all-league squads.
Wright, a starter for the Eagles since his sophomore season in 2017, had one of the greatest seasons for a wide receiver in an Eagle uniform in 2019. In CSC's 10th game of the season, at home against South Dakota Mines, he became the third 1,000-yard receiver in school history, breaking the single season and career marks for receiving touchdowns in the process. Wright finished the fall with 74 receptions for 1,146 yards and 16 scores, and ranked among the top 10 in NCAA Division II for both yards and touchdowns.
Calderon and Maciejczak both were leaders on an offensive line that powered one of the most prolific offenses in the nation and tied for first in the league with only 17 sacks allowed. The Eagles completed the 2019 season averaging 457.7 yards of total offense and 37.1 points per game, ranking 21st and 26th in Division II, respectively. CSC's passing offense was 19th in the nation, and the rushing offense produced one of the top 20 running backs in the game this season.
Chadron State Head Football Coach Jay Long, who specializes with the offensive line, now has five All-RMAC First Team blockers in the past three years.
Listed with the second team are three offensive names, two on defense, and two on special teams.
On offense, the Eagles have three second teamers slated to return next year with juniors Dalton Holst and Cole Thurness, plus sophomore Elijah Myles.
Holst, CSC's quarterback all season from Gillette, Wyoming, became the school single-season record holder passing for both passing yards and passing touchdowns, throwing for 3,106 yards and 33 scores. Both numbers were the best in the NCAA South Central Region and top 10 figures nationally. He is a nominee for the Harlon Hill trophy, which goes to the best player in Division II.
Along with Wright, another of Holst's top targets was Thurness, a native of Rapid City, South Dakota. Thurness's 64 receptions this year are No. 2 in the conference, and his 814 yards and eight scoring catches are both fourth. Additionally he was named to the All-RMAC Second Team as a punt returner, after averaging 13.1 yards per return with a 42-yard touchdown.
Myles, from Hawthorne, California, had a breakout season at running back, going for 1,077 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was the third-highest scorer, at any position, in the conference. In Myles' nine complete games, he scored in all but one, and went over 100 yards rushing seven times. He ranked 17th in Division II for yards per game and was 23rd in scoring on the ground.
Seniors Tyler Lewis and DeAndre Barthwell were CSC's defensive all-stars.
At linebacker, Lewis forced more turnovers than all but one other player in the RMAC, recording three interceptions and five forced fumbles. He was fifth in the league with 96 tackles, and he added 12 tackles for loss and four total sacks. Lewis, from Arvada, Colorado, is now a two-time all-conference player after earning second team honors in 2018.
Barthwell earned the respect of opponents around the league as one of the premier cornerbacks. He capped his career at CSC off with a fantastic senior season, registering two interceptions and two forced fumbles to go along with nine pass breakups and 31 tackles, nearly all of which were solo. A native of Westland, Michigan, Barthwell will finish as the No. 6 player all-time for career passes defended, with 36 over four seasons.
Finally, in addition to Thurness's punt return award, Stevann Brown of Casper, Wyoming, also earned an all-conference certificate for his kick returning in 2019. The No. 2 kick returner in the league, Brown accumulated 512 yards on 21 kickoff returns for a 24.4 yard average. He was eighth in the league for all-purpose yardage after combining kickoffs with his 430 yards rushing, 67 yards receiving, and 76 yards on punt returns.
Senior tight end Matthew Vargas (Modesto, California), who made the second team last year, was awarded honorable mention for receiving votes on the coaches' ballots. Redshirt freshman Juan Estrada-Sanchez of Denver, who started all 11 games at right tackle, was also recognized on the list.
Tariq Bitson of Adams State was the 2019 RMAC Offensive Player of the Year, while Defensive Player of the Year went to Jackson Wibbels of CSU-Pueblo and Special Teams Player of the Year to Justin White of Colorado Mesa.
The Defensive Freshman of the Year was Brandin Obrecht of Adams State, and the Offensive Freshman was John Matocha of Colorado School of Mines.
Mines' Gregg Brandon took Coach of the Year honors.