Eleven Dukes Earn Northeast Conference Honors
Nov. 25, 2011
PITTSBURGH - A total of 11 Duquesne players were honored by the Northeast Conference's football coaches with the release of annual postseason awards this week.
Junior safety Serge Kona (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) was named NEC Defensive Player of the Year and a league-high six Dukes - including three of the four members of a secondary that leads the FCS in pass defense - were named first team All-Northeast Conference.
Junior running back Larry McCoy (Wytheville, Va./George Wythe), senior offensive lineman Ron Dunn (Abington, Mass./Milford (N.Y.) Academy) and Kona - who were all named preseason All-NEC - earned spots on the postseason first team along with grad student receiver Connor Dixon (South Park, Pa./South Park) and senior cornerbacks Aaron Fitzpatrick (Erie, Pa./McDowell) and Jared Williams (Pittsburgh, Pa./Perry Traditional Academy).
Duquesne (9-2), which finished tied with Albany for the league title with a 7-1 record, had five players named second team all-conference.
Second team picks include junior quarterback Sean Patterson (Toledo, Ohio/St. John Jesuit), senior defensive linemen Alex Inda (San Fernando, Calif./St. Genevieve) and Mike Passodelis (Allison Park, Pa./North Allegheny), senior linebacker Chris Oliver (Washington, D.C./Calvin Coolidge) and punter Charlie Leventry (Johnstown, Pa./Richland).
The Dukes led the NEC in rushing offense behind the blocking of Dunn and the running of McCoy who were both second team all-league picks last year. Dunn, who started a team-high 42 consecutive games, helped clear the way for an offense that averaged 212.8 yards per game. Dunn also helped McCoy post a school record nine 100-yard games in 2011. McCoy, who ranks ninth nationally in rushing finished with 1,381 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Dixon, who gained a rare sixth year of eligibility the day before the season opener, tied the DU single-season record with 16 touchdown receptions. The Michigan State transfer finished with 40 catches for 792 yards. His 72 yards per game average was the second-best in the NEC. The 2010 second team All-NEC pick caught a pass in every game (26 in a row) after moving from quarterback to receiver eight games into the 2009 season.
Fitzpatrick and Williams held down the corners for a secondary that gave up just 139.3 yards per game. Williams, a Temple transfer, led the NEC with five interceptions. His 1.09 passes defended per game were second-best in the league.
Fitzpatrick's 45 tackles (26 solo) were second to Kona's 48 in the DU secondary.
Kona, who moved from linebacker to safety in the spring, was a catalyst for the defense from his free safety spot. Kona finished the year with 48 tackles (28 solo) including 4.0 tackles for loss. He intercepted two passes and forced three fumbles for the Dukes who led the NEC in total defense, scoring defense, pass defense and pass efficiency defense.
Patterson, who completed 57.3 percent of his passes for 2,011 yards and 23 touchdowns, emerged as a dual-threat under center with 552 yards rushing including four TDs. The Toledo, Ohio native ranked second in the NEC in total offense with 233 yards per game. Patterson, who is 13-3 as a starter in his past 16 games, is just the third quarterback in school history to throw for over 2,000 yards in multiple seasons. He is the first QB to rush for 100 yards in game - a feat he accomplished twice in 2011 - since the Dukes moved to the FCS level in 1993.
Passodelis, who had 54 tackles from the nose tackle spot despite being routinely double teamed, finished with 5.5 tackles for loss including 3.0 sacks.
Inda, a defensive end who like McCoy, Dunn and Kona was a preseason All-NEC pick, added 45 tackles including 2.5 sacks and three pass break ups.
Oliver, who entered the season with 34 career tackles, amassed a team-high 91 stops (31 more than any other Duke). The Washington, D.C. native, who did not post a tackle for loss in his first three seasons at DU, led the team with 9.0 (for -32 yards). Oliver, who totaled eight or more stops in eight games, led the team in tackles six times.
Leventry, who also handled placekicking duties, placed 22 of his 48 punts inside the 20 while averaging 36.8 yards per punt.
Duquesne, which just finished its seventh season under head coach Jerry Schmitt, finished tied for first in the NEC in just its fourth season as an associate member. The Dukes had a total of two all-conference players in their first two seasons in the league (finishing 6th and tied for 7th). Last year, DU had six all-league players in finishing third with a 5-3 record.
The Dukes will return a total of nine starters - five on offense and four on defense - in 2012.