Indians have 10 players selected all-OVC

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Southeast Missouri State University came up a bit short of its first Ohio Valley Conference football title.

But, while it probably will do little to ease the sting of Saturday's loss to Jacksonville State that sent the Gamecocks into the playoffs and kept the Indians out, Southeast did earn a measure of consolation Tuesday.

The Indians had a league-high six players -- including two local high school graduates -- selected to the all-OVC first team as voted by the conference's head coaches and sports information directors. Eastern Kentucky was next with five picks and Tennessee State had four. In addition, four more Indians made the second team.

Indians on the first team are junior tight end Ray Goodson from Jackson High School, junior offensive guard Dan Bieg, junior place-kicker Derek Kutz from St. Vincent High School, senior defensive end Ryan Roth, senior linebacker Ricky Farmer and junior cornerback Dimitri Patterson.

On the second team are senior center Eugene Amano, senior offensive guard Justen Meyer, junior offensive tackle Dan Connolly and freshman punter David Simonhoff.

"They're all very deserving," Southeast coach Tim Billings said.

Goodson, after catching just 17 passes last year, had a breakout season as he led the Indians with 66 receptions and scored three touchdowns.

"Ray had a great year," Billings said. "He was kind of our go-to guy."

Bieg, already a three-year starter, was part of an offensive line considered one of the squad's strengths. He made the all-conference second team last year.

"I'm proud of Dan to make it, and the three other guys on our line who were second team could have easily made it," Billings said. "I felt we were one of the top offensive lines in the conference."

Kutz, the Indians' regular kicker since his freshman year, made 15 of 21 field-goal attempts and all 30 of his extra points as he was the only OVC kicker not to miss a PAT.

"Derek had a wonderful, wonderful year," Billings said.

Roth, who made the second team last season, led the Indians and ranks high in the OVC in sacks with five and tackles for loss with 15.5. His 67 tackles were fourth on the squad and first among down linemen.

"Ryan was one of the conference's dominating defensive ends," Billings said.

Farmer, also a second-teamer last season, was second on the squad in tackles with 93, tackles for loss with 10 and sacks with three. The four-year regular led the Indians in fumble recoveries with three.

"What can you say about Ricky. He's a four-year starter who will be sorely missed," Billings said.

Patterson, arguably the OVC's top cover corner, leads the league in interceptions with six and passes broken up with 12. The three-year starter was a second-team pick last year.

"Dimitri was one of the top defensive backs in our league," Billings said.

Amano, a four-year starter, has made the second team three straight seasons, as has Connolly. Meyer was honorable-mention the last two years.

"I feel like Eugene is the best offensive lineman in the conference and he has a shot at the NFL," Billings said.

The final second-teamer, Simonhoff, ranks second in the OVC in punting with a 41-yard average and he could finish first if Jacksonville State's Richie Rhodes -- who has a 41.2 average -- falters in the playoffs.

"David did a great job for a true freshman, and he punted part of the year with a broken leg," Billings said.

On the down side, Billings felt bad that junior linebacker O.J. Turner -- a Central High School product -- received no recognition. Turner led the Indians in tackles with 95 and was first in the OVC with four forced fumbles.

"O.J. could have easily made it because he had a really good year, but he's still got another year to do it," Billings said.

Samford sweeps honors

Samford swept the top awards, with junior wide receiver Efrem Hill the offensive player of the year, sophomore cornerback Cortland Finnegan the defensive player of the year and Bill Gray the coach of the year after leading the preseason No. 8 pick to a third-place tie.

Hill set OVC records by catching 92 passes for 15 touchdowns. He had 1,387 receiving yards.

Finnegan led the OVC with 9.8 tackles per game, intercepted three passes and scored touchdowns on interception and fumble returns.

Also on the first team is Tennessee State tailback Charles Anthony, who led the OVC in rushing with 1,708 yards and became just the third runner in OVC history to top 1,700 yards in one season.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: