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Football - Thu, Nov. 17, 2016

2016 MSFA All-League Teams

Wide receiver Brad Connor, defensive end Harrison Hale, linebackers Mitch Negangard and Chris Overton, and punter Will Anderson were named to the all-Midwest League First Team as the Mid-States Football Association announced its postseason awards today.

Eight other Bees were named to the second team and three others received honorable mention.

Connor joins Michael Hayward, Nate Norman and Joe Schimmel as one of only four three-time first-team all-conference selections for the Bees. The senior wide receiver from Bloomington, Ill., became the program's all-time leading receiver this season, finishing his SAU career with school records of 3,853 receiving yards and 34 touchdown catches.

He caught 54 passes for 1,137 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016. His 1,137 yards are third most in a single season by a Bee receiver in program history.

Connor is currently among the national leaders in both receiving yards (fifth at 113.7 yards per game) and receptions (17th at 5.4 catches per game).

Hale, a second team all-conference selection a year ago, was a disruptive force up front for the Bees. The senior from Peoria, Ill., finished with a team-high seven sacks among his 11 tackles for loss. He had 66 total tackles while also forcing two fumbles, recovering a fumble and blocking a field goal.

Hale finished his SAU career with 167 total tackles, 10th on the school's all-time list with 28 tackles for loss and sixth at St. Ambrose with 13.5 sacks.

Negangard had one of the top individual seasons for any St. Ambrose defensive player. The senior from Sidney, Ill., recorded 118 total tackles, the sixth-highest total by a Bee in a season. Of those 118 tackles, 76 were solo stops. He had double-digit tackles in seven of the Bees' 10 games this season. His average of 11.8 tackles per game is currently sixth in the nation. He had 10.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, intercepted a pair of passes and forced and recovered a fumble.

Negangard wrapped up his SAU career with 199 total tackles, 12th on the school's all-time list. 

Overton finished second to Negangard with 68 total tackles from his linebacker spot. The junior from Springfield, Ill., led the team with 13.5 tackles for loss, the ninth-most by a Bee in a single season in school history. He also had 2.5 sacks and blocked both a field goal and an extra point.

Over the last two years, Overton has registered 115 tackles, including 23.5 for losses.

Anderson stepped in and matched 2015 first team all-conference punter Matt Cotiguala punt for punt. Each player punted 44 times for 1,905 yards, good for an average of 43.3 yards per punt. Anderson's average is currently the second best in the NAIA this season.

The senior from Glen Ellyn, Ill., boomed 15 punts of at least 50 yards, including a pair of 72-yard efforts. Seventeen of his punts downed the opposition inside their 20-yard line.

Quarterback Patrick Smith, running back Joey Zito, wide receiver Isaiah Mosher, offensive linemen Zac Benckendorf and Zach Gadbury, defensive backs Joe Marconi and Trey Winberg, and return specialist Tanner Champley were named to the second team.

Smith, a senior from Springfield, Ill., completed 171-of-285 passes (60.0 percent) for 2,696 yards and 23 touchdowns. He is second at SAU with 61 career touchdown passes and third with 6,948 passing yards. Zito, a senior from Glendale Heights, Ill., rushed for 814 yards in 2016 to become just the seventh Bee to rush for more than 2,400 yards at St. Ambrose. He scored 10 total touchdowns this season. Mosher, a senior from Erie, Colo., caught 20 passes for 477 yards, an average of 23.9 yards per catch, and five touchdowns. Benckendorf, a junior from Streator, Ill., and Gadbury, a freshman from Tolono, Ill., anchored an offensive line that helped the Bees average more than 380 yards of total offensive per game.

Marconi and Winberg supplied senior leadership in the defensive backfield. Marconi, from Wheaton, Ill., led the team with three fumble recoveries while coming up with 56 tackles. Winberg, from Springfield, Ill., had a team-best four interceptions to go along with 46 tackles.

Champley, a sophomore from Taylorville, Ill., made his mark in the return game, averaging 25.3 yards on 21 kickoff returns. His average is currently the 18th-best mark in the country. Champley had a long return of 70 yards at St. Francis (Ill.).

Junior wide receiver Chase Ferger (28 catches, 399 yards, six touchdowns), junior linebacker Luke Snyder (58 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions) and junior defensive lineman Grant Wallace (28 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, one sack, one fumble recovery) earned all-conference honorable mention.