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Football Announces Team Award Winners at its Annual Banquet

Football Announces Team Award Winners at its Annual Banquet

BEREA, Ohio -- The Baldwin Wallace University Athletics Department held its annual football awards banquet on Sunday, January 28 at Strosacker Hall on the BW campus. Fourteen Yellow Jacket student-athletes received the top honors and a total of 162 student-athletes were recognized for their efforts during the 2016 season.

The top award winners were senior offensive tackle and team captain Alex Kurtz (Sterling/ Smithville), junior outside linebacker Sam Groff (Waynesburg/ Sandy Valley) and senior placekicker Joe Simonis (Hinckley/ Medina Highland). Kurtz was the Ray E. Watts Most Valuable Offensive Player. Groff was the Ray E. Watts Most Valuable Defensive Player. Simonis was the Ray E. Watts Most Valuable Special Teams Player.

Kurtz, a two-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference student-athlete, helped the BW offense to average 28.5 points and 354.1 yards of total offense per game. The four-year varsity contributor and starter helped BW average 30 points and 400 yards of total offense per game during his career.

Groff, who earned second-team All-OAC accolades this fall, has led the team in tackles each of the past two seasons. The team captain will enter his final season at BW with 167 career tackles, including 10 stops for lost yardage and three quarterback sacks. On defense, he also has two interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one blocked kick and eight total pass breakups. This season, Groff also was utilized as a "wildcat QB" in short yardage and goal line situations. He produced two rushing touchdowns and a passing two-point conversion.

Simonis had a solid career as the starting placekicker for three years. He also kicked off as a sophomore and junior and punted as a sophomore. Simonis connected on 105 of 112 point-after-touchdown (PAT) kicks and 13 of 20 field goals for 144 career points. He also averaged 36.9 yards in 38 punting attempts and 53.0 yards in 67 kickoffs. Simonis, also made four career tackles on kickoffs, including three TD-saving stops.

Seven more Yellow Jacket student-athletes shared the six position awards. On offense, senior offensive guard Kevin Jacobs (Northfield/ Garfield Heights Trinity) was the Dick Van Almen Outstanding Offensive Lineman, senior Mike Waggoner (Stow/ Stow-Munroe Falls) was the Most Outstanding Receiver and junior running back Austin Smith (Broadview Hts./ North Royalton) was the Bob Packard Outstanding Offensive Back. On defense, senior end Damon Bollin (Grafton/ Midview) was the Most Outstanding Defensive Lineman and junior outside linebacker Sean Nischwitz (Clinton/ Green) was the Most Outstanding Linebacker. Senior strong safety Brock Hull (Youngstown/Boardman) and junior free safety Trypp Washington (Orlando, Fla./ First Academy) shared the Most Outstanding Defensive Back honors.

In addition, sophomore wide receiver Peyton Graham (Lakewood) was selected for the Lee J. Tressel Academic Award, senior defensive end Cole Horan (Gibsonia, Pa./ Mars) and senior defensive tackle Nate Molnar (Skaneateles, N.Y./ Skaneateles) shared the Roy Seitz Yellow Jacket Award and senior safety/ "nickel back" Jake Carner (Salem) was the Eloise Tressel J-A-C-K-E-T honoree.