WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University football team celebrated its Annual Spring Football Weekend, playing the Blue & Gray Spring game on Friday evening before closing the books on the 2016 season with Hoya Football Awards Banquet on Saturday afternoon.
In Friday evening's spring game, playing in front of several hundred fans, the Hoyas ran plays in different game-like situations, spending a lot of time on third and fourth down and in the red zone.
The offense was sparked by a 75-yard deep touchdown pass from Clay Norris (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) to Michael Dereus (Hyde Park, Mass./Williston Northampton) as the speedy receiver accelerated past the defense. Jonathan Coppens (Double Oak, Texas/Nolan Catholic/Texas), a transfer from the University of Texas, booted in a 30-yard field goal and Alex Valles (Danvers, Mass./Danvers) added a rushing touchdown.
The defense made several big stops, including four in the red zone. Jelani Williamson (Silver Spring, Md./Good Counsel) and Cameron Seward (Atlanta, Ga./The Westminster School) both came away with interceptions in the end zone, while Patrick Pastore (Albany, N.Y./CBA) had two sacks on back-to-back plays in the red zone.
Saturday's award banquet was highlighted by the announcement of the 15th recipient of the No. 35 Joe Eacobacci Memorial Jersey. For the first time, two Hoyas will share the honor as 2016 co-captains David Akere (Carrollton, Texas/Hebron) and Tim Barnes (Oradell, N.J./River Dell Regional) will both don No. 35 next season. Akere is the 14th different recipient of the No. 35 jersey since its inception in 2003 and the 10th defensive player. Barnes, who wore the jersey last season, becomes just the second Hoya to earn the honor twice joining Michael Ononibaku (2004-05).
"It's an unbelievable surreal honor to be able to represent Joe Eacobacci and simply be in the same narrative as so many other tremendous Hoya football players and inspirational men," Akere said. "I am extremely blessed and fortunate to continue playing the game I love with brothers and family I would not trade anything in the world for. I thank God for this opportunity, and will take advantage of every chance to be successful with courage in the face of adversity."
"It is truly an honor to receive the No. 35 jersey for a second year," Barnes said. "I didn't really have a full season to represent the jersey and Joey the way that I would have liked, so having another opportunity to carry on the legacy of who Joe Eacobacci was next year is unbelievable. It's more than just an award and jersey number, it's being able to physically represent the living memory of Joey with everything that we do and to be able to share this honor with David is going to be an experience that I will remember forever."
Al Blozis Most Valuable Player Award - Hunter Kiselick
Kiselick had a career final season on the Hilltop, leading to All-Patriot League selections to both the first and second team. He was named to the first team as a special team-non specialist after leading the entire FCS with four blocked field goals. He also earned a selection to the second team as a defensive lineman, finishing third on the team with 71 total tackles, including 26 solo takedowns. He led the Hoyas with 8.5 TFL, while ranking second with 3.0 sacks.
George A. Murtaugh Award for Outstanding Lineman -- Phil Novacki
Novacki finished his senior season with a team-high 6.5 sacks and ranked second with 7.5 TFL to go along with 37 tackles, including 19 solo takedowns. He also contributed two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and four quarterback hurries.
John L. Hagerty Award for Outstanding Back -- Leo Loughrey
Loughrey earned All-Patriot League Second Team honors at the linebacker position, finishing fourth on the team with 69 total tackles. He had 37 solo tackles, good for third on the squad, and was also tied for fifth with 5.0 TFL. He added 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble, four pass breakups and five quarterback hurries.
Special Teams Player of the Year -- Harry McCollum & Robert Longwell
McCollum had one of the best punting seasons in Georgetown history as a senior, earning himself a spot on the All-Patriot League Second Team. He set single-season records in total punts (86) and punt yards (3,575), becoming the first Hoya to surpass 3,000 punt yards in a season. His 41.6 yards per punt average ranks second in GU history. Longwell was a strong point for the Hoyas at the long snapper position. He also recorded eight tackles on a kickoff coverage team that allowed the second-fewest return yards in the Patriot League.
Robert Paul Dahut Award for Most Improved Player - Clay Norris (offense) & Cameron Seward (defense)
Given to players who show the most improvement over the spring, Norris and Seward turned heads during GU's spring practices and the Blue & Gray Spring Game. Norris took over quarterback duties on September 30 at Harvard, finishing with 110 completions, connecting on 55.3 percent of his passes for 822 yards and two touchdowns. Seward appeared in 10 games in his first season on the Hilltop after transferring from Boston College, finishing with 13 total tackles. During Friday's spring game, he intercepted a pass in the end zone.
Jeremiah Minihan Coaches' Award -- Patrick Finnegan & Casey Kuhns
Finnegan and Kuhns were mainstays on Georgetown's special teams units, seeing time on multiple units. Kuhns, who served as a game captain on two occasions in 2016, finished with six total tackles. Finnegan was selected as a game captain against Holy Cross on November 5.
John D. Burke for Outstanding Courage and Spirit -- Tim Barnes
Barnes had his season cut short due to an injury, but finished with 71 completions, connecting on 56.3 percent of his passes, for 650 yards and seven touchdowns while only being intercepted twice. He also rushed for 77 yards and another touchdown.
Mush Dubofsky Award for Outstanding Student-Athlete -- Jim McLaughlin
McLaughlin earned the award for a second-consecutive year. The junior wide receiver ranked fourth on the team with 31 receptions and 234 receiving yards and also caught one touchdown pass. He was named to the 11-member Academic All-Patriot League Team and is a three-time member of the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll.
Strength and Conditioning Award- Hunter Kiselick
Kiselick finished his career having played in 45 games and registering 152 total tackles, including 61 solo tackles. He recorded 25.5 TFL, 10.5 sacks and three interceptions.
The Belt Award - Myles Braxton-Johnson
Braxton-Johnson, even though he didn't see much playing time on the field, earned the respect of his teammates and coaches for his hard work in practice, in the weight room and in film sessions and team meetings.
Tyrell Williams SISU Award -- Alexa Ritchie
Ritchie, the girlfriend of senior linebacker Ty Williams, has embodied the principle of SISU, or "courage in the face of adversity." She can always be found by Williams' side, whether on the sidelines during practices and games or at his weekly rehab sessions, all while working to complete her double major in early childhood general education and special education from the University of Maryland.
12th Man Award -- Patricia McWade
McWade is the dean of student financial services in Georgetown's office of undergraduate admissions.