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Cats, Griz honored by the Big Sky


The Montana Grizzlies and Montana State Bobcats have been making headlines all season long. On Tuesday, both teams made plenty more as the Big Sky Conference released its postseason awards.

The Grizzlies had a league-high 20 players who earned Big Sky All-Conference honors while the Bobcats had a second-bets 18 selected. Both teams also had Player of the Year honors as well, while MSU running back Trey Robinson was selected Newcomer of the Year. Eastern Washington's Bo Levi Mitchell was named Offensive Player of the Year.

UM senior linebacker Caleb McSurdy earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. McSurdy, a 6-foot-1, 242-pounder from Boise, Idaho, is fourth in the league with 113 total tackles. He also has 6.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. Montana's defense finished the regular season tied for first in the league overall, allowing 321.5 yards per game. UM allowed a league-low 20.4 points and 123 rushing yards per game during the regular season. In conference play, UM surrendered 19 points and 318.1 yards per game. Robinson, a 6-1, 221-pound junior from Euless, Texas, rushed for 572 yards and five touchdowns in his first season with the Bobcats after transferring from Nebraska. Robinson also had 15 catches for 155 yards, and was a standout on special teams, recording five tackles.

Aside from McSurdy at linebacker, the Grizzlies had senior corner Trumaine Johnson earn first-team honors for the third straight year. Johnson is also a four-time all-conference selection and a finalist for the FCS Defensive Player of the Year. Bryan Waldhauser also earned first-team at defensive tackle, as did senior Jon Opperud at offensive tackle, junior tight end Greg Hardy and senior Jabin Sambrano at return specialist. Sambrano also earned second-team honors at wide receiver.

The Cats had six first-team selections, led by sophomore running back Cody Kirk, who finished second in the Big Sky in rushing. Senior WR Elvis Akpla, OT Conrad Burbank and OG Alex Terrien were also named to the first team, while defensive tackle Zach Minter and linebacker Jody Owens were unanimous first-team choices.

MSU quarterback Denarius McGhee was among the Cats' second-team selections. McGhee was the 2010 Big Sky MVP. Also making second-team honors on offense for MSU was Robinson, tight end Steven Foster and kicker Jason Cunnigham. The Cats also got honorable mention offensive nods for WR Tanner Bleskin, C Shaun Sampson, and return specialist Shawn Johnson. MSU's second-teamers on defense included DE Brad Daly, linebacker Clay Bignell, CB Darius Jones and S Joel Fuller. Honorable mentions on defense were, DE Caleb Schreibeis, S Steven Bethley and Robinson on special teams.

UM's second-team honors on offense included Sambrano at WR and Danny Kistler at G. Honorable mentions were, WR Sam Gratton, OT Charles Burton, C Steve Sabin, QB Jordan Johnson, RB Peter Nguyen and K/P Brody McKnight. Second-team defenders were, LB John Kanongata'a, CB Houston Roots and S Mike McCord. Honorable mentions included, DE's Bobby Alt and Ryan Fetherston, LB Alex Shaw and Donny Lisowski on special teams.

For the complete Big Sky All-Conference list, see Friday's Havre Daily News and http://www.havredailynews.com.

The all-Big Sky Conference football team for 2011, as picked by

the league coaches (*Unanimous Selection; #Two-Time First Team;

$Three-time First Team):


First team

Wide Receivers - *Nicholas Edwards, Jr. Eastern Washington; Elvis

Akpla, Sr., Montana State; Rodrick Rumble, Jr., Idaho State.

Tackles - Jon Opperud, Sr., Montana; Conrad Burbank, Sr., Montana


Guards - Alex Terrien, Sr., Montana State; #J.C. Oram, Sr., Weber


Center - #Chris Powers, Sr., Eastern Washington.

Tight end - Greg Hardy, Jr., Montana

Quarterback - Bo Levi Mitchell, Sr., Eastern Washington.

Running backs - *Zach Bauman, So., Northern Arizona; Cody Kirk,

So., Montana State; #Cory McCaffrey, Sr., Portland State

Fullback - Tevia Tolutau, Fr., Weber State.

Placekicker - Zach Brown, Jr., Portland State.

Return specialist - Jabin Sambrano, Sr., Montana

Second team

Wide Receivers - Greg Herd, Jr., Eastern Washington; Jabin

Sambrano, Sr., Montana; Patrick Walker, Sr., Northern


Tackles - Dustin Waldron, Sr., Portland State; Nate Doverspike,

Sr., Sacramento State.

Guards - Danny Kistler, So., Montana; Tytan Timoteo, Jr., Weber


Center - Alex Mott, Sr., Northern Arizona.

Tight End - Steven Foster, Jr., Montana State.

Quarterback - DeNarius McGhee, So., Montana State.

Running Backs -Tray Robinson, Jr., Montana State; Josh Booker, So.,

Weber State.

Fullback - Jake Hess, Jr., Northern Arizona.

Placekicker - Jason Cunningham, Sr., Montana State.

Return specialist - Dominic Gunn, Jr., Northern Colorado

Honorable mention

Wide receivers - Sam Gratton, Jr., Montana; Tanner Bleskin, So.,

Montana State Khalil Paden, Sr., Northern Arizona; Justin Monahan,

Jr., Portland State; Morris Norrise, So., Sacramento State; Shaydon

Kehano, So., Weber State.

Tackles - Gabe Jackson, Sr., Eastern Washington; Braeden Clayson,

Sr., Idaho State; Will Post, Jr., Eastern Washington Charles

Burton, Sr., Montana; Trey Gilleo, Jr., Northern Arizona; Lee

Barbaisz, Sr., Northern Colorado; Caleb Turner, Sr., Weber


Guards - Dwight Boyd, Sr., Northern Arizona; Kyle Walker, So.,

Northern Arizona; Kyle Ritt, Jr., Portland State.

Center - Stephen Sabin, Sr., Montana; Shaun Sampson, Jr., Montana

State; Mitch Gaulke, So., Portland State; Tyson Tiatia, So., Weber


Tight end - Josh Hill, Jr.,Idaho State; Brian Riley, Sr., Northern

Arizona; Brian Jankowski, Jr., Weber State.

Quarterback - Jordan Johnson, So., Montana; Cary Grossart, Jr.,

Northern Arizona Connor Kavanaugh, Sr., Portland State; Mike Hoke,

Jr., Weber State

Running back - Peter Nguyen, Jr., Montana

Placekicker - Mike Jarrett, Sr., Eastern Washington; Brody

McKnight, Sr., Montana

Return specialist - Shawn Johnson, Fr., Montana State; DeShawn

Shead, Sr., Portland State


First team

Tackles - *Zach Minter, Jr., Montana State; Bryan Waldhauser, Sr.,


Ends - #Isaac Bond, Sr., Northern Arizona; #Zack Nash, Sr.,

Sacramento State.

Outside linebackers - *Jody Owens, Jr., Montana State; #Nick Webb,

Sr., Weber State.

Inside linebackers - $A.J. Storms, Sr., Idaho State; Caleb McSurdy,

Sr., Montana.

Cornerbacks - $*Trumaine Johnson, Sr., Montana; T.J. Lee, So.,

Eastern Washington.

Safeties -#Matt Johnson, Sr., Eastern Washington; DeShawn Shead,

Sr., Portland State.

Punter - #David Harrington, Sr., Idaho State.

Special Teams - Nevin Lewis, Jr., Portland State.

Second team

Tackles - Renard Williams, Sr., Eastern Washington; Myles Wade,

Sr., Portland State.

Ends - Brad Daly, So., Montana State; Trevor Pletcher, Jr., Weber


Outside linebackers -John Kanongata'a, So., Montana; Ian Sluss,

Jr., Portland State.

Inside linebackers - Clay Bignell, Sr., Montana State; Clarence

Bumpas, So., Northern Colorado.

Cornerbacks - Houston Roots, Sr., Montana; Darius Jones, Jr.,

Montana State; Kyle Monson, Sr., Sacramento State.

Safeties - Mike McCord, Sr., Montana; Joel Fuller, Jr., Montana


Punter - Josh Kealamakia, So., Weber State.

Special teams - Darriell Beaumonte, Sr., Eastern Washington.

Honorable mention

Tackles - Charles Moetului, Sr., Eastern Washington Jordan Monga,

Sr., Idaho State; Tim Wilkinson, So., Northern Arizona; Blayne

Anderson, Sr.,.Northern Arizona; Marcus Felker, Sr., Northern

Colorado; Ryan Eastrman, Jr., Weber State; Pete Rolf, Sr., Weber


Ends - Paul Ena, Jr., Eastern Washington; Bobby Alt, Sr., Montana;

Ryan Fetherston, Sr., Montana; Caleb Schreibeis, Jr., Montana

State; Nick Hernon,.Sr., Northern Colorado; Devontae Chapple, Sr.,

Northern Colorado; Jack Forbes, Sr., Portland State; David Coleman,

Sr, Sacramento State;.Caldwell Taylor, Jr., Weber State

Outside Linebackers - Scott McKeever, Sr., Northern Arizona;

Cameron Friend, Jr., Northern Colorado; Joel Sisler, Jr., Portland

State; Mo Neal, Sr.,.Weber State

Inside Linebackers - Basim Hudeen, Sr., Idaho State Alex Shaw, Sr.,

Montana; Ryan Rau, Sr., Portland State; Todd Davis, So., Sacramento

State; Anthony Morales, So., Weber State.

Cornerbacks - Donovan Henley, Jr., Idaho State; Anders Battle, So.,

Northern Arizona; Marcel Gibbons, Jr., Northern Colorado.

Safeties - Jeff Minnerly, Jr., Eastern Washington; Steven Bethley,

So., Montana State Chuks Nweke, Sr., Northern Colorado; Joe Larche,

Sr., Sacramento State; Willie Okwuonu, So., Weber State; Tony

Epperson, So., Weber State

Punter - Jake Miller, Fr., Eastern Washington; Brody McKnight, Sr.,

Montana; Cameron Kaman, Sr., Northern Colorado; Thomas Duyndam,

Jr., Portland State

Special Teams - Donny Lisowski, Sr., Montana; Tray Robinson, Jr.,

Montana State; Ben Bachelier, Sr., Northern Arizona; Trevor

Pletcher, Jr., Weber State


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