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SouthtownStar Athletes On Campus: Spencer Stanek 2013 Football Offensive Player of the Year in CCIW

Spencer Stanek

Spencer Stanek

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Updated: January 16, 2014 6:35AM



North Central College quarterback Spencer Stanek recently was chosen the 2013 Offensive Player of the Year in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.

The Mokena native was one of 16 Cardinals picked to the 2013 All-CCIW Football Teams. North Central (13-0), which was playing Mount Union in the NCAA Division III national semifinals on Saturday, won the outright CCIW championship this season, tying a conference record of eight in a row that was established by Augustana College from 1981 through ’88.

Stanek (Lincoln-Way East) is the seventh North Central player to receive the CCIW Offensive Player of the Year Award and the first since quarterback Aaron Fanthorpe won three awards in a row from 2007 through ’09.

Entering Saturday’s game, Stanek completed 245 of 335 passes for 3,297 yards and 41 touchdowns. He completed 73.1 percent of his passes with just one interception. His 41 TD passes are a North Central single-season record.

On the ground, Stanek has accounted for 429 yards and six touchdowns on 78 carries. He is the first player to earn CCIW Player of the Week honors five times in the same season.

Also attaining All-CCIW honors was sophomore right guard Eric Knaperek (Lincoln-Way North), who was one of four Cardinals named to the All-CCIW Second Team. Knaperek and the North Central offensive line enabled the Cardinals to score 599 points (46.1 ppg) in their first 13 games and total 6,567 yards of offense to go along with 78 touchdowns.

Foresters feted

Two Southland residents were among the five Lake Forest College football players named to the 2013 All-Midwest Conference First Team on defense.

Senior defensive end Jake Rotkvich (St. Laurence) was honored for the second consecutive season. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder was fifth on the Foresters this season in tackles with 47. The Chicagoan also was first in sacks (8) and tackles for loss (12½ for 51 yards). Rotkvich also forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and defended one pass.

Rotkvich led the MWC in sacks and was fourth in the conference in tackles for loss. His 19 career sacks and 30 tackles for loss rank fifth and seventh, respectively, in team history.

Senior defensive tackle Michael Garetto-Balmer (Marist) also was recognized after tying for seventh on the Foresters with 41 tackles. The Orland Park resident was second in sacks (7) and third in tackles for loss (10 for 46 yards). The 6-4, 250-pounder, who was an All-MWC Second-Team pick in 2012, also defended two passes and forced one fumble. Garetto-Balmer was third in the MWC in sacks this season and tied for 12th in tackles for loss.

Recognizing Reggie

Thornton graduate Reggie Smith was named one of Eastern Illinois University’s Student-Athletes of the Week for the period ending Nov. 19.

In an 86-66 victory at Illinois-Chicago, the 6-foot redshirt junior guard scored 23 points while adding six assists and making 3-of-5 three-point shots.

Best of the Bees

Two Southlanders who are members of the St. Ambrose football team were named to the 2013 All-Mid-States Football Association’s Midwest League Second Team on defense.

Senior linebacker Jeremy Wallace (Lincoln-Way Central) led the Bees in tackles this season with 92. The New Lenox native also was second with 11 tackles for loss (for 41 yards). Wallace added three passes defended, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.

Senior defensive lineman Ryne Diehl (Lincoln-Way East) finished third in tackles with 56. Diehl led the Bees in tackles for loss (13½ for 59 yards) and sacks (6), while adding one pass defended, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick.

Diehl also was the MSFA’s Midwest League Defensive Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 21. In a 38-13 win over visiting Olivet Nazarene, Diehl had six tackles, two tackles for loss (for 11 yards) and two sacks as the Bees recorded 15 tackles for loss and six sacks. Diehl also blocked a field goal.



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