Special to The Sun
KANSAS CITY, Mo. —
Offensive stars Joshua Birmingham and Marquez Clark led the way as 10 Central Oklahoma players earned recognition on the All-Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Football Teams that were released Tuesday by the conference office.
Birmingham is a repeat first-team selection at running back, while Clark made the first-team unit at wide receiver as well as being a second-team choice at kick returner.
The Bronchos had two other second-team picks in offensive lineman Cameron Pound and defensive tackle Kenny Allen, with quarterback Adrian Nelson, wide receiver Christian Hood, offensive lineman Brandon Waggoner, defensive lineman Tyler Newton, linebacker Adrian Shoecraft and place-kicker Seth Hiddink all receiving honorable mention honors.
Birmingham, a senior from Luther, became just the third player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season three times after finishing with 1,071 yards and 19 touchdowns on 202 carries. He added 350 yards on 29 receptions and 269 yards on 19 kickoff returns in finishing with 1,690 all-purpose yards.
Birmingham ended his stellar four-year career as UCO’s all-time leader in carries (807), touchdown runs of 50-plus yards (eight), touchdowns (64), points (384) and all-purpose yards (6,319) while finishing second in rushing yards (4,276) and receptions (155).
Clark, one of 28 nominees for the Harlon Hill Trophy that goes to the NCAA Division II Player of the Year, put together a spectacular season for the Bronchos. He caught a school-record 82 passes for 1,348 yards — third on UCO’s single-season list — and five touchdowns while adding 326 yards and two touchdowns on punt returns and 532 yards on 23 kickoff returns.
The junior from Texarkana, Texas racked up a single-season school record 2,249 all-purpose yards and had three of the top-10 games in UCO history this fall. Clark ranks second in all-purpose yards per game (224.9), third in punt return average (18.1) and fourth in receiving yards per game (134.8) in the national statistics heading into the start of the Division II playoffs.
Pound was the driving force behind an offensive line that paved the way for the Bronchos to average 459.9 yards a game in total offense this season. The senior center from Moore played every snap for a unit that allowed only 17 sacks in 369 pass attempts and Central Oklahoma rolled up 500-plus yards in a school-record four games this fall.
Allen had a dominating season on the defensive front for the Bronchos, leading the MIAA in sacks (9.5 for minus-67 yards) and tackles for loss (17.5 for minus-80 yards) in finishing with 54 tackles. The Perkins sophomore had seven of those sacks in the final three games in finishing with 9.5, which is the fourth-best single-season total at UCO.
Nelson completed 100-of-169 passes for 1,488 yards and five touchdowns despite missing three full games and most of another during his senior campaign. Hood was UCO’s second-leading receiver as the junior hauled in 37 passes for 483 yards and two TDs.
Waggoner joined Pound in leading the offensive line as the true freshman didn’t miss a play at his left tackle spot. Hiddink enjoyed a tremendous redshirt freshman year, hitting 13-of-15 field goals — including nine straight to end the season — and 33-of-37 extra points.
Shoecraft led the Bronchos in tackles for the second straight season, with the senior piling up 72 stops along with breaking up four passes. Newton had 28 tackles during his junior season, including 5.5 for loss with 2.0 sacks.