LANCASTER, Pa. --- Eleven members of the Moravian College football team have been named to the 2015 Centennial All-Conference teams while Head Coach Jeff Pukszyn was honored as the Centennial Conference Coach of the Year.
Senior defensive lineman Tim McCabe, senior defensive back Anthony Orlando and sophomore kick returner/running back Eli Redmond were selected to the First Team while junior running back Chris Negron, junior wide receiver Jalen Snyder-Scipio, senior offensive lineman Max Neis and senior defensive back Jimmy McCarthy earned nods on the Second Team. Senior tight end Andrew Racobaldo, junior defensive lineman John Snyder, senior linebacker Brendan Downey and senior kicker Jerome Wachter earned spots on the Honorable Mention squad.
Senior running back Luke Gotzon was honored on the Centennial Conference All-Sportsmanship Team for football.
"It is a tremendous honor to have 11 players honored by the Centennial Conference," commented Pukszyn. "Not only these players, but our entire team has put in a lot of work from spring workouts last April, through summer sessions on their own, to preseason camp and in-season practices. All of that effort has paid off on Saturdays throughout the fall and has the program heading in the direction we want to take it."
Pukszyn has led the Greyhounds to an 8-2 record so far in 2015 and a 7-2 mark in Centennial Conference action, tying for second in the conference after being picked fourth in the preseason poll. Pukszyn has Moravian playing in one of the two Inaugural Centennial-Middle Atlantic Conference Bowl games on Saturday, November 21 as the Hounds head to Delaware Valley University for a 12:00 p.m. kickoff. Moravian has on eight games in a single season for just the fifth time in the 91-year history of the program, and only one of the previous four teams earned a ninth victory in the same season.
"We are extremely proud of Coach Pukszyn being named the Centennial Conference Coach of the Year," said Moravian College Director of Athletics and Recreation George Bright. "He is the consummate professional who executes and raises the bar for Moravian every day. Also, congratulations to our recognized 11 football student-athlete honorees for their incredible competitive performance this season."
McCabe leads the Greyhounds with 15 and a half tackles for loss and six and a half sacks among his 48 stops this season. McCabe has also forced a team-high three fumbles this fall. In 22 career games, McCabe has 62 tackles with 18 tackles for loss, seven and a half sacks, three forced fumbles, one pass break-up and one fumble recovery.
"We moved Tim up to the defensive line this year after being a linebacker early in his career," Pukszyn said. "His quickness and football smarts has made it difficult for opposing teams to contain him and allow Tim to make a quarter of his tackles in the backfield."
Orlando, one of three unanimous selections to the 2015 Centennial All-Conference First Team, was on the Centennial All-Conference First Team in 2013 and the Second Team last season. He has made 62 tackles this fall with two tackles for loss, two interceptions, six passes defended and one fumble recovery. In his three seasons at Moravian, Orlando, one of the team's co-captains this fall, has 216 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, three interceptions, nine passes defended, a forced fumble and three fumble recoveries with two returned for touchdowns.
"Anthony is like another coach on the field with his football IQ and ability to read the play and put himself and his teammates in the correct position to make plays at times even before the ball is snapped," noted Pukszyn.
Redmond, a 2014 Centennial All-Conference Second Team honoree, has returned 18 kickoffs for 438 yards this fall including a 98-yard return for a touchdown at Dickinson College. He has also picked up 407 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground to become the 24th player in school history to reach 1,000 career yards. In just 19 career games, Redmond has returned 32 kickoffs for 769 yards with two touchdowns including a school-record 100 yard return in 2013. He also has 1,134 yards and nine touchdowns on 191 carries, 22 receptions for 184 yards and two scores, and a total of 2,087 all-purpose yards.
"Eli's quickness makes him a threat to break off a long return or run every time he touches the ball," stated Pukszyn. "He has a different running style than Chris, and the change of pace has given us an extra burst on offense when we've needed it this season."
Negron, who was on the Centennial All-Conference Second Team last fall, leads the Centennial in rushing with 1,368 yards this season on 258 carries with 14 rushing touchdowns. He has also caught 22 passes for 201 yards and another touchdown. Negron is second in school history with 3,278 yards and 30 rushing touchdowns on 633 carries, and he has added 33 receptions for 378 yards and three touchdowns. Negron has scored 33 career touchdowns, three shy of tying the school record, for 198 points.
"Chris has one of the most intense work ethics that I've seen, not just on Saturday's but also on the practice field and in the weight room," Pukszyn explained. "Chris has carried the ball a lot this season but he has put the team on his back at times to keep us going in the right direction."
Snyder-Scipio, a co-captain along with Orlando, has caught a team-high 44 passes so far in 2015 for 446 yards and four touchdowns. He is third in school history with 130 receptions in 30 games, and Snyder-Scipio also ranks ninth in receiving yardage with 1,441 yards and tied for sixth in career touchdown receptions with 13.
"Jalen works so hard at being a complete receiver," commented Pukszyn. "He does a tremendous job of blocking on running plays and to spring his fellow wide receivers as well. Jalen is an excellent role model for our younger players both on and off the field."
Neis is in his third year as a starter on the offensive line for the Greyhounds as the team's center. Neis has played in 35 games during his career.
"Max has been a consistent force on the offensive line during his career, playing a number of positions on the line," Pukszyn said.
McCarthy, the 2012 Centennial Conference Rookie of the Year as a wide receiver and a Centennial All-Conference selection last fall as a defensive back, has 41 tackles with five tackles for loss, two interceptions, 10 passes defended and a forced fumble in 2015. McCarthy has also punted 51 times for an average of 37.6 yards per punt and a school-record 68-yard punt at Susquehanna University. McCarthy has played in 39 career games, and he has 92 tackles, five tackles for loss, seven interceptions, 22 passes defended and a forced fumble on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, McCarthy caught 75 passes for 895 yards and five touchdowns and carried the ball 19 times for 100 yards and another touchdown. On special teams, McCarthy is the school record holder in kickoff returns with 76 and kickoff return yardage at 1,541 yards, and he has also returned 12 punts for 72 yard while punting 83 times for an average of 34.7 yards and gaining 2,644 all-purpose yards in his career.
"We've asked Jimmy to do a lot in all three aspects of the game during his career, and Jimmy has excelled at all of them," Pukszyn explained. "Whether it has been catching the ball, kicking it, returning it or tackling the opposition that has the ball, Jimmy has made an incredibly lasting mark on the Moravian football program.
Racobaldo has caught 15 passes for 151 yards and three touchdowns, and in 36 career games, he has 22 receptions for 322 yards and four scores. Racobaldo has also spent time on special teams during his career and has four tackles.
"Andrew has always been a very good blocking tight end, basically giving us another offensive lineman on the field, but this year, he has really become a vital part of the passing offense that has made us more dangerous on offense," stated Pukszyn.
Snyder, who made the Honorable Mention squad for a third straight year, has 35 tackles with nine tackles for loss, four sacks, one pass break-up and one forced fumble in 2015. Snyder, who missed the last four games of 2014 with an injury, has 108 tackles with 17 and a half for loss, eight sacks, six pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 26 career contests.
"John might be one of the strongest players in the conference, and he shows it on Saturday by occupying the opposing offensive line as he is double teamed a lot of the time," noted Pukszyn. "He came back from his injury last year even stronger and we look forward to having him back for one more year."
Downey leads the 2015 Moravian defense with 85 tackles including two tackles for loss and four pass break-ups. In 34 career games, Downey has made 255 tackles with 133 solo stops, 11 and a half tackles for loss, one sack, four interceptions, 13 passes defended and a forced fumble.
"Brendan has had an outstanding career, and he has been a real leader among the young linebacking group this season," said Pukszyn. "He's put in a lot of hard work and was rewarded in the game at Muhlenberg College as the media selected him as our MVP of the contest."
Wachter is in his second year with the Greyhounds and his first as Moravian's primary kicker. He leads the Centennial Conference in PAT percentage, and Wachter has made a school-record 41 extra-points this season in 42 attempts. He has also made 3-of-5 field goal attempts with a long of 35 yards for a total of 50 points in 2015. Wachter is 46-for-47 on PATs in his career and has scored 55 points, and he has averaged 48.1 yards on 59 career kickoffs.
"When Jerome came to us last year, he had never really kicked a football but through so much hard work, he has become one of the top kickers in the conference," Pukszyn explained. "I'm thrilled for him and the effort he has put in for our program."
Gotzon, who is in his fifth year with the Greyhounds and is using a medical hardship this fall after being injured in the season opener a year ago. Gotzon has played in 41 career games with 55 rushing attempts for 156 yards and one touchdown coming on Senior Day versus Juniata College two weeks ago. Gotzon has also returned two kickoffs for 26 yards, and he has made nine tackles while playing on special teams.
"Luke has been a steady force in the backfield and on special teams throughout his career," commented Pukszyn. "He has worked hard in the classroom and on the field, and he'll be missed by the program after he graduates."
The Greyhounds will return to action for the Inaugural Centennial-MAC Bowl Series at Delaware Valley on Saturday, November 21 with kickoff at 12:00 p.m.