The University of Redlands football team recently celebrated its awards night with student-athletes and coaches and announced the perennial honorees and captains. With the exception of the Frank Serrao Coaches' Award, the members of the team voted upon the recipients of these accolades.
Senior running back Ryan Rieta (Olympia, WA) received the Frank Serrao Coaches Award, which honors the team member who best exemplifies the winning qualities of attitude, character, and effort. This individual must add value to the team by raising his teammates to a higher level of performance in his example and leadership, both in training and competition. It is considered the highest honor for Bulldog football.
Rieta also was tabbed the Bulldogs' Most Improved Player. He played in eight games this season and recorded three carries for 16 total yards for an average of 5.3 per rush. With determination and strength, he scored twice in the process.
Senior running back Conner Kennedy (Olympia, WA) was named the Ted Runner MVP and the Most Outstanding Offensive Back. On 216 carries, he racked up 1,023 rushing yards in 10 games played for an average of more than 100 yards per game. Beyond his average of 4.7 yards per rush, he registered a long of 29, which came in the Bulldogs' 51-23 triumph over Cal Lutheran University. Overall, he registered seven touchdowns to cap off a stellar career.
Junior wide receiver David Molina (Laguna Hills, CA) and junior tight end Blake Roy (Camas, WA) were honored as the team's Most Outstanding Receivers. Beyond his stellar blocking, Roy led the team with 32 catches for 403 yards in nine games played. He posted six touchdowns to lead the receiving corps. Molina ranked second with 23 receptions for 311 yards and one touchdown.
Senior Tommy Garcia (La Habra, CA) hauled in the team's top offensive lineman award. He started every game of his four-year career and took on a huge role as the Bulldogs' center during their co-championship run through the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). He contributed to the team's lucrative offense that accumulated nearly 4,000 total yards and scored nearly 300 points.
Senior Joe Munroe (Costa Mesa, CA) earned the Most Outstanding Defensive Lineman. As the anchor of the Bulldogs' stingy defense, he recorded 27 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss of 18 yards, and two blocked kicks. His first-ever interception came in the Maroon and Gray's 51-23 win over Cal Lutheran University during the annual Smudge Pot game and resulted in a 48-yard return.
Senior Nick Castro (La Verne, CA) was honored as the Bulldogs' best linebacker, while junior Chad Virgil (Menifee, CA) reeled in the award for the Most Outstanding Defensive Back. Castro brought tenacity and skill to the field while playing a huge role as the team's signal caller for the defense. He racked up a team-high 61 tackles, including 29 solo hits, to go along with 3.5 tackles for a loss. Castro's ability to read and react to the opponents' offense was uncanny. Virgil ranked second on the team with 47 tackles while also recovering a fumble and making an interception.
Junior defensive back Jeff Hector (Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA) made an impact as the Special Teams Outstanding Player. He supplied seven kick returns for 229 yards and one touchdown that came off a long of 96 yards in the Bulldogs' 35-17 victory over the University of La Verne.
In addition, junior transfer Vinny Vanhorne (Henderson, NV) and first-year offensive lineman Cody Paul (Castaic, CA) received the Most Outstanding Rookie honors. Vanhorne provided big plays as a defensive back, recording 25 tackles, one sack, and 4.5 tackles for a loss. Paul added depth and skill to the offensive line with his consistent growth and persistence throughout the season.
Finally, senior defensive lineman Troy Kay (New York City, NY) was recognized for his enthusiasm, passion, and dedication, as the Kenny Welton Most Inspirational award-recipient. On the field, he not only brought the energy but he supplied 23 tackles and 7.5 tackles for a loss of 31 yards. Furthermore, he was credited with four pass breakups.
Among the 12 selected individuals, seven of them represented Redlands among the All-SCIAC teams earlier this season.
The team honored its captains as well. Castro, Garcia, Kay, and Kennedy represented the Bulldogs as exemplary members of the team during the season.
With Head Coach Mike Maynard and his talented staff leading the charge, Redlands looks to build upon its 8-2 season. The Bulldogs kick off 2019 on the road against George Fox University (OR) on Saturday, September 7, at 12 noon in Newberg, Oregon.