Above image by CJ Halloran/@cjhall_photography
BELTON, Texas- The fans have voted, and our final Football Players of the Week have been announced.
These players have been honored for their performances in UMHB football’s 23-15 ASC Championship victory over Hardin-Simmons this past Saturday. A Football “Players of the Year”ballot will be released soon.
Offense: Kenneth Cormier Jr.
On offense, running back Kenneth Cormier Jr. won convincingly, picking up 89 percent of the vote. Cormier Jr. was unstoppable against the Cowboys, and earned the bulk of the carries. The freshman tallied 26 carries for 145 rushing yards, including one long gain for 36 yards as Cormier Jr. flashed a stiff arm.
Though he arrived at UMHB as a running back, the coaching staff moved him to linebacker due to depth issues. Then, he was switched back to running back three weeks ago after showing improvement as a linebacker.
“He came here as a running back and we had some depth issues at linebacker,” said UMHB head coach Pete Fredenburg. “So I talked with him about moving to linebacker and he was really making some giant strides [there]. He could play a number of places. So when we had some issues with our running backs, with some of them getting hurt, I asked him to move back to offense which he was glad to do. I think we’ve found the perfect spot for him.”
Defense: Jacob Mueller
Defensively, linebacker Jacob Mueller was a force to be reckoned with, and caused havoc for HSU’s offense, which only mustered 94 rushing yards. Mueller picked up 71 percent of the vote. The Fort Worth, Texas native led the Cru with 10 solo tackles, 12 total tackles, and got into the backfield on multiple occasions, tallying a sack and four tackles for loss (TFL). Those four TFL added up to 17 yards.
Mueller was also named to D3football.com’s Team of the Week for his performance.
Special Teams: Brandon Cunningham
In a close battle between kicker Brandon Cunningham and punter Jefferson Fritz, Cunningham earned the honor with 53 percent of the vote. Cunningham, who had seen limited time as both a punter and kicker throughout the five-game spring season, was pressed into action against Louisiana College after Anthony Avila injured his groin muscle on the opening kickoff. Cunningham earned the start at kicker against Hardin-Simmons and played exceptionally well, going 3/5 on field goals and 2/2 on PATs.
His longest field goal came on a 37 yarder with 7:18 left to play in the third quarter, and widened UMHB’s lead to nine points, with the score 16-7.
He also had 7 kickoffs for 368 yards, and averaged 52.6 yards per kickoff.
Honorable Mention: Offensive Line
Briefly wanted to recognize the UMHB offensive line for the performance it put together, led by a veteran group. The pass protection never seemed to lack, and the running game’s success was in large part due to their efforts.
Cormier Jr. alluded to that postgame saying, “Props to the O-Line. I can only get what they give. They’ve been putting in work since the fall.”
The five starters; Ethan Ruckman, Matt Sanders, Reuel Tandoh, Jesse Hoke, and Steven Sellers, were each honored by D3football.com in the website’s Team of the Week on Tuesday. For Sellers, it was his final game as a Crusader. Ruckman is still undecided about returning in the fall and using his extra year of eligibility.