(GREENVILLE, Pa.) - Thomas More College senior defensive back Zach Autenrieb (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) was named the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) Football Player of the Year and 13 Saints were named All-PAC by the conference's nine head coaches.
Autenrieb, who was also named first team All-PAC had 48 tackles (36 solo, 12 assisted), including a half tackle for a loss, eight interceptions, five pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Two of his interceptions were returned for a touchdown. With his eight interceptions he finished his career with 32 interceptions, which is the new NCAA Division III career interception record.
Joining Autenrieb on the first team was senior offensive line Kevin Naltner (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder), senior defensive lineman Jay Volker (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder), senior linebacker Nick Gramke (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) and senior defensive back Kenny Veal (Hamilton, Ohio/Hamilton). Naltner helped anchor an offensive line that blocked the way for the Saints to rush for 1,554 yards this season and only allowed 20 sacks. Volker had 63 tackles (41 solo, 22 assisted), including 24.5 for a loss and six sacks and he had two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Gramke appeared in only six games, but had 51 tackles (27 solo, 24 assisted), including seven and a half for a loss, one sack and had three forced fumbles. Veal had 40 tackles (31 solo, nine assisted), including three for a loss, two interceptions, 14 pass break-ups, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, three blocked kicks and one punt return for a touchdown.
Named to the second team was junior running back Adam Rauch (Yorkville, Ind./East Central), junior defensive lineman Tyler Combs (Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands) and junior defensive back Jake Fishburn (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder). Rauch had 157 rushing attempts for 855 yards and 13 touchdowns and also had 11 receptions for 42 yards to go with 38 return yards on three returns. Combs had 42 tackles (17 solo, 25 assisted), including seven for a loss, two sacks and two pass break-ups. Fishburn had 42 tackles (29 solo, 13 assisted), including three for a loss, one sack, one interception, four pass break-ups and two fumble recoveries.
Named honorable mention was freshman offensive lineman Jake Henderson (Fort Wright, Ky./Covington Catholic), senior wide receiver Tony Bell (Cincinnati, Ohio/Northwest), sophomore defensive lineman Erick Butler (Eminence, Ky./Henry County), junior linebacker Alex Taylor (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) and freshman punter Mitch McDowell (Crescent Springs, Ky./Covington Catholic). Henderson helped anchor an offensive line that blocked the way for the Saints to rush for 1,554 yards this season and only allowed 20 sacks. Bell had 26 receptions for 260 yards and one touchdown. Butler had 46 tackles (25 solo, 21 assisted), including 12 for a loss, seven and a half sacks, two pass break-ups and one fumble recovery. Taylor had 94 tackles (59 solo, 35 assisted), including six and a half for a loss, three and a half sacks, two interceptions, five pass break-ups, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble. McDowell had 1,872 yards on 50 punts for an average of 37.4 yards per punt and had five touchbacks, 15 fair catches, nine inside the 20 and five go 50 plus yards.
Thomas More finished the 2012 season at 7-3 overall and 6-2 in the PAC. It was the program's 17th winning season in the 23-year history of Thomas More football. The Saints closed out the season with their fifth straight Bridge Bowl win over across-the-river rival, the College of Mount St. Joseph.