Cleary, West, Wilson Headline Seven Bulldogs on All-MIAA Football Teams

The Adrian College representatives on the 2019 All-MIAA Football teams. (Head shots by Patrick Stewart and Jade Osterhout; graphic by Patrick Stewart)
The Adrian College representatives on the 2019 All-MIAA Football teams. (Head shots by Patrick Stewart and Jade Osterhout; graphic by Patrick Stewart)

FREELAND, Mich.--Seven members of the Adrian College football team--including senior tight end Joe Cleary (Hartford High School), junior wide receiver Henry Wilson (Grosse Pointe South HS) and sophomore placekicker Cooper West (Belleville, Mich./Lincoln HS) on the all-conference first team--have been named to the 2019 All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association first- or second-teams.

In addition, senior defensive back Shawn Starks (New Boston, Mich./Woodhaven HS), sophomore quarterback Jack Wurzer (Pinckney Community HS), sophomore defensive back Brandon Kwiatkowski (Sterling Heights, Mich./Stevenson HS) and freshman offensive lineman Matt Pillow (Delray Beach, Fla. / Florida Atlantic HS) made second-team All-MIAA.

Cleary grabbed 37 catches for 411 yards--both career highs--for sixth and 10th in the MIAA. At 6-foot-1, 228 pounds, he was a capable blocker that helped three Bulldog running backs have career years with each over 200 yards.

West was 21st in NCAA Division III field goal percentage while connecting on 9-of-12 field goals to rank second in the MIAA and he was 38th with 0.90 field goals per game for first. He was an Oct. 8 D3football.com Team of the Week member after he lifted Adrian to the second of a back-to-back game-winning field goal scenario on the last play of the contest.

Wilson led all MIAA receivers in yards (898) and yards per catch (22.4) while being second in touchdowns (8) and fifth in receptions (40)--all career highs. Nationally, he was fifth in yards per catch and 38th in receiving yards.

In his first season as a starter, Kwiatkowski led the AC secondary with career highs of 41 tackles and 64 total to rank 10th and 12th, respectively, in the MIAA. He led the Bulldogs with three interceptions. In the season opener against Heidelberg, he posted single-game career highs of eight tackles and 12 total.

Pillow was a starter in his first year with the Bulldogs, helping to keep Wurzer upright for most of the time as the AC offensive line ranks 44th in NCAA Division III for allowing the fewest sacks at 1.20 per game. He helped the offense rank 35th nationally with 224 first downs, 62nd in passing offense with a 245.6 average and 66th in total offense with 407.7 yards per game.

Starks, a three-year starter in the secondary, compiled 21 tackles, 30 total and led the MIAA with nine passes broken up. He finishes his Bulldogs career with 74 solos, 42 assisted tackles and 116 total tackles in 30 contests. He also ends up with 18 pass-breakups, which is fifth in school history.

Wurzer threw for a school-record 2,450 yards to top the conference, completing 182 passes in 303 attempts--also career bests--to pace the league yet again. He also was third with 14 TDs passing to give him 39 in his career--already third in all-time school history. He was a two-time MIAA Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 21 and Nov. 4.

All seven Bulldogs make their postseason debuts on the all-conference teams.

Adrian wrapped up the season with a 5-5 overall record, including 4-3 in the MIAA for a fourth-place tie.

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First Team - Offense
QB — Mason Opple, Sr., Hope (3)
RB — Kenyea Houston, So., Hope
RB — Noah McMinn, Sr., Olivet
WR — Christian Bos, Sr., Hope (2)
WR — Justin Thomas, So., Albion (2)
WR — Henry Wilson, Jr., Adrian
TE — Joe Cleary, Sr., Adrian
OL — Chase Bouschor, Sr., Albion (3)
OL — Jarod Bush, Sr., Olivet
OL — Tim Ivery, Sr., Hope (2)
OL — Zach Smith, Sr., Hope (2)
OL — Dan Waber, Sr., Olivet

First Team - Defense
DL — Mitch Arendsen, Jr., Albion (2)
DL — Jake Babb, Sr., Hope
DL — Noah Coplan, Jr., Kalamazoo (2)
DL — Miguel Manion, Sr., Olivet
LB — Mason Dekker, Sr., Hope (2)
LB — Zeke Ramirez, Sr., Alma (2)
LB — Simeon Washington, Sr., Trine (3)
LB — Kolby Williams, Sr., Olivet
DB — Luke Beckhusen, Sr., Hope (2)
DB — Tyrone Collins, Fr., Albion
DB — Anthony Merriman, So., Olivet
DB — Isaiah Moon, Fr., Olivet

First Team - Special Teams
P — Austin Heeres, Sr., Hope
RS — Chase Hinkle, Sr., Alma
K — Cooper West, So., Adrian

Second Team - Offense
QB — Jack Wurzer, So., Adrian
RB — Markell McKoy, Sr., Albion
RB — Connor Mellon, Jr., Hope
WR — Seth Boggs, Sr., Trine
WR — Cooper Cecchini, Sr., Hope
TE — Seth Young, So., Olivet
OL — Noah de Velder, Sr., Hope
OL – Brady Eding, Jr., Hope
OL — Jacob Headlee, Sr., Alma
OL — Lige McKinney, Sr., Albion (2)
OL — Matt Pillow, Fr., Adrian
OL — Noah Routson, Sr., Trine

Second Team - Defense
DL — Malik Bozell, Sr., Albion
DL — Josh Martin, Jr., Kalamazoo
DL — Mason McFarland, Sr., Trine (2)
DL — Jake Wildenhouse, Sr., Alma
LB — Taylor Bonetti, Jr., Finlandia
LB — Jeremiah Purnell, Jr., Hope
LB — Donovan Slates, Jr., Albion
DB — Damion Bowker, So., Trine
DB — Max Kretzchmar, Sr., Alma
DB — Brandon Kwiatkowski, So., Adrian
DB — Shawn Starks, Sr., Adrian
DB — Jake Sypniewski, Jr., Kalamazoo

Second Team - Special Teams
K — Josh Castillo, Fr., Albion
RS — Anthony Giovanni, Sr., Kalamazoo
K — Greg Kearns, Jr., Kalamazoo

Most Valuable Player, Offense
Mason Opple, Sr., Hope

Most Valuable Player, Defense
Mason Dekker, Sr., Hope

Pete Schmidt Award
Chase Bouschor, Sr., Albion

(#) Number of multi-time All-MIAA, including first- and second-team honors