WORCESTER – WPI sophomore Sean McAllen (Prospect, CT) has been named as a Worcester Area Football Association Co-Offensive Player of the Year. Led by three-time first team honoree senior Dereck Pacheco (Barnstable, MA), 11 others were also recognized as part of the 27th annual Steve "Merc" Morris All-Star Team, as selected by the sports information directors within Worcester Country who sponsor football.
McAllen, last season's freshman of the year, was once again tabbed as a first team running back as well. The 2017 NEWMAC All-Conference first teamer and New England Football Writers Division II/III All-Star owns the Engineers single season rushing record with 1,368 yards, the second-best total in the NEWMAC this past fall. McAllen was also second in yards per game (124.4), rushing touchdowns (15) and third in yards per rush (5.7). The Engineer eclipsed 100 yards seven times with a career-high 246 in the opener versus Anna Maria to go with 237 yards and two scores as a receiver.
Pacheco was third in the NEWMAC with six sacks and 35 sack yards, and tied for first with a pair of fumble recoveries during the regular season. Pacheco amassed 47 tackles featuring 17.5 for-loss, as well as a forced fumble and a blocked field goal.
Also taking home first team accolades were junior Luca Cerasani (Abington, MA), senior Brendan Harty (Plymouth, MA), sophomore Austin Pesce (Monroe, NY) and senior Lou Garcia (Springfield, MA). Senior Corey Coogan (North Kingstown, RI), senior Nick Day (Northampton, MA), junior Spencer Herrington (Clearfield, PA), junior Sam Malafronte (Abington, MA), sophomore Sam Casey (Winchester, MA) and junior Lain Zembek (Binghamton, NY) were all second team selections.
Cerasani, a second teamer last season and 2017 New England Bowl MVP, boasted eight sacks for 49 yards and an interception returned for a TD. All three tied for second among NEWMAC student-athletes. His scoop and score helped the Engineers blank Anna Maria and got to the QB three times at Catholic. He also forced a pair of fumbles during the teams trip to D.C.
Harty, a four-year starter, was a key cog on the O-line that helped the team score the most points (354) in a single-season in the 128 years of WPI Football. The sum was also third in the NEWMAC. He also helped McAllen achieve the single-season record for rushing yards in a season.
Pesce led the NEWMAC with 30 punt returns, 337 yards and average (11.2) among all student-athletes with double digit punts, as well as a long of 45. He had a career day at Catholic with 104 yards on four attempts, including s 45-yarder, for an average of 26.0 per return.
Garcia saved his best for the NEWMAC portion of the schedule with two of his league-leading six interceptions returned for touchdowns, as well as nine pass breakups. Earlier in the campaign, Garcia made five solo stops to go along with a forced fumble versus RPI.
Coogan, a top 10 receiver in the NEWMAC, led the Engineers with 389 yards on 28 catches and four touchdowns. He accounted for a career-high six receptions along with a score versus RPI and added another TD versus Becker. Coogan later went back-to-back with one at Catholic and versus Merchant Marine.
Day, a mainstay on the O-line, also helped the team score the most points (354) in a single-season in the 128 years of WPI Football, which is also second in the NEWMAC. He also helped fuel McAllen's single-season record for rushing yards in a campaign.
Herrington, the NEWMAC Special Teams Athlete of the Year, paced all kickers with 74 points, which also ranked fifth among all players, and has been successful on all 44 extra point attempts. He was also second with 10 field goals, long field goal (41 yards) and PATs made, as well as third in PAT and field goal attempts. As a punter, Herrington ended in a three-way tie with 16 placed inside the 20. The four-time NEWMAC Special Teams Athlete of the Week enjoyed a trio of 6-for-6 extra point performances and two games that featured a pair of field goals.
Malafronte registered eight tackles for-loss including two sacks as part of a 73 tackle season. The junior captain also touted a pass breakup, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Casey was third in the NEWMAC with 49 solo tackles. Along with 14 assisted stops, Casey totaled 63 on the year. Four were for-loss as he has also amassed eight pass breakups, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, nabbed an interception and blocked a kick.
Zembek totaled 10 receptions and six runs and two scores late in the season. His insurance TD helped key the New England Bowl Series triumph. A week earlier, he began a string of 42 unanswered points at Norwich.
Eighth-year head coach Chris Robertson's Engineers finished the season 9-2 with a seven-game winning-streak and a New England Bowl trophy. The nine wins tie the 1992 team that went to the NCAA tournament and the bowl triumph is the first postseason win in the 128 years of WPI Football.
The Worcester Area Football Association Steve "Merc" Morris All-Star Team, founded by its namesake from Assumption 27 years ago, is one of five awards currently voted on by sports information directors in Worcester County, including Division I Holy Cross and Division II Assumption. The group also selects the All-Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WABCA) Teams, spearheaded by WPI Assistant Sports Information Director and WACBA Director of Communications Mark Therrien, the Worcester Area Baseball All-Star Team, originated by Becker Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Matt Tittle, and the Worcester Area Softball All-Star Team, initiated by Becker Assistant Director of Athletic Communications Michael Rupp.