Nine Jeffs Earn All-NESCAC Honors
Contact: Ben Badua
SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - Nine members of the Amherst football team were named to the 2012 All-NESCAC Football squads, led by offensive lineman John Ceccio ’13, who garnered his third-consecutive first team selection.
Joining the standout center on the first team offense were left tackle Rob Wasielewski ’14 and wide receiver Jake O’Malley ’14. Travis Dickenson ’13 and Michael Aldo ’13 received recognition on the first team defense, while Matthew Sponheimer ’13, Sam Clark ’13 and Danny Chun ’14 earned spots on the second team. James Durham ’13 rounded out the list of Amherst honorees as a second team return specialist.
Anchoring one of the league’s top units, Ceccio and Wasielewski keyed the Jeffs’ third-ranked rushing attack that averaged 191.0 yards per game. Averaging more yards on the ground every season since 2009, the Jeffs posted the squad’s highest rushing average since 2005 (209.0), gaining at least 200 yards on three occasions, including a season-high 376 yards against Hamilton.
Sitting third in the conference in receptions per game (4.86), O’Malley led Amherst in receiving, picking up 380 yards (54.3 ypg) with two touchdowns. Finishing strong, O’Malley hauled in 21 of his team-high 34 catches during the last three weeks of the season, averaging 86.7 yards per game. Hauling in seven balls for a season-high 112 yards against Tufts, he made nine receptions for 61 yards against Trinity. O’Malley closed out the year with five catches for 87 yards in a 23-20 victory over archrival Williams.
Enjoying a stellar senior season, Dickenson finished second on the team in tackles (55, 33 solo), while leading the NESCAC in tackles for loss (13.0). Getting off to a fast start in season opener against Hamilton, the defensive lineman recorded 3.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Making 10 tackles (3.0 TFL) against Bowdoin, he made another 10 stops (including eight solo) against league champion Trinity. Dickenson closed out the year with a solid all-around effort against Williams, recording six tackles, while forcing two fumbles.
Returning to safety after playing his junior season at linebacker, Aldo recorded 33 tackles (21 solo), while forcing two fumbles and nabbing three interceptions. Named the conference’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week after making eight tackles with a forced fumble and pick in a 17-9 win over Little Three rival Wesleyan, Aldo logged an interception in three-straight games against the Cardinals, Tufts and Trinity.
Playing an integral role on one of the league’s best defenses, Sponheimer, Clark and Chun set the tone for Amherst’s solid front seven. A presence in the middle, Sponheimer helped serve as a catalyst to the conference’s top-ranked run defense (110.6 ypg), while Clark and Chun ranked first (56) and third (42) on the team in tackles. The duo also combined for 9.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and three interceptions, with Chun taking a pick back 72 yards for a touchdown against Tufts.
Handling the Jeffs’ kick return duties, Durham averaged nearly 20 yards per kickoff, racking up 238 yards on the season with a long of 37 against Tufts. Also picking up 132 yards on 16 punt returns (8.2 ypr), he logged a season-high 37 yard return against Hamilton in the opener.
First Team Offense
OL - John Ceccio '13
OL - Rob Wasielewski '14
WR - Jake O'Malley '14
First Team Defense
DL - Travis Dickenson '13
DB - Michael Aldo '13
Second Team Defense
DL - Matthew Sponheimer '13
LB - Sam Clark '13
LB - Danny Chun '14
Second Team Specialists
RS - James Durham '13