Tigers Receive GPAC Honors, Dunn Earns Top Honor
The Tiger football team, completing their best season since 2002, saw 20 players receive 21 All-Conference honors. Doane finished the year with an 8-2 mark and 7-2 conference record.
Leading the way for the Tigers was the GPAC Offensive Player-of-the-Year, Anthony Dunn. Dunn, a senior from Papillion, also received First Team honors at quarterback as he finished the year with 2,701 passing yards and 25 touchdowns. He completed 64-percent of his passing attempts and averaged 270.1 yards per game. He finished in the Top 3 of several career and single season marks.
Jeremiah Saffold was named First Team wide receiver and Second Team kick return specialist. Saffold, a senior from Papillion, finished the year with 875 receiving yards on 51 receptions and 10 touchdowns. He led the NAIA in all-purpose yards per game with 163.7. On kickoff returns, Saffold returned 28 opportunities for 659 yards and one touchdown. He also collected some punt returns, taking 10 punts for 88 yards and a touchdown. Saffold finished towards the top of the Doane charts in several categories as well.
Dillon Carmichael was named First Team offensive line for Doane. Carmichael, a sophomore from Loomis, was instrumental in helping the Doane offense produce 405.1 yards per game, 17th best in the NAIA.
On the defensive side, Dalton Ryba was the lone Tiger selected to the First Team. Ryba, a senior from Grand Island, ranked 6th in the NAIA in fumbles forced per game (.30). He led the team with 76 total tackles and three sacks while sitting second on the team in tackles for loss with eight.
Andrew Nielsen was named First Team All-GPAC at kicker. Nielsen, a senior from North Platte, finished the year with 71 points, second most by a Tiger kicker in school history for a single season. (record is 72 points) He converted 11-of-17 field goal attempts and 38-of-42 extra point attempts.
Earning Second Team All-GPAC honors on the offensive side of the ball were Alex Dose and Jake Conley. Dose, a sophomore running back from Hampton, averaged 77.0 yards per game rushing for the Tigers with seven touchdowns. He also had 14 receptions for 148 yards and a score. Conley, a senior offensive lineman from Omaha, helped the Tigers average 124.8 yards rushing per game.
On the defensive side, Josh Milz was recognized in the secondary. Milz, a senior from Papillion, was sixth on the team in total tackles with 50. He recovered two fumbles, intercepted a pass and broke up three passes.
Twelve players received honorable mention honors. On the offensive line, Kevin Roehrich (Jr., Grand Island) and Nick Kuxhausen (Sr., Mitchell), were honored after starting every game this year.
Devon Niewohner (Sr., Bancroft), made 16 receptions for 197 yards and a touchdown from his tight end position. Receivers Tyrone Curry (Jr., Lincoln) and Jesse Ver Velde (Jr., Omaha) combined for eight touchdowns and 965 yards receiving.
Phil Thramer (So., Chambers) led the Doane punters with an average of 37.5 yards per punt attempt with 15 of those punts downed inside the opponent's 20 yard line.
Defensively, defensive back Cody Fanning (Jr., Wauneta) posted 51 total tackles with one interception that was returned for a touchdown.
Linebackers Joe Knott (Jr., Ogallala) and Lance Shifflet (Sr., Cambridge) were third and fourth, respectively, on the team in tackles. Shifflet had five fumble recoveries, including one returned for a touchdown in the final game of the year. Also joining the linebacker corps was Jeremy Wallace (So., Omaha). Wallace led the Tigers with 10.5 tackles for loss and was second in total tackles with 74.
Defensive linemen Cason Christensen (Jr., Raymond) and Clayton Kolling (Sr., Crawford) were also honored and battled through injuries throughout the year. They played big roles in the Tigers improvement in run defense from a year ago.