Eric Williamson has shown not only acumen in leading the St. Ambrose University football team this fall, but also grit.|
Those attributes led the junior signal-caller to earning Mid-States Football Association Midwest League Player of the Year honors after leading the nationally 8th-ranked Fighting Bees to a share of the Midwest League crown and into this weekend's NAIA playoffs.
Williamson, who finished last week's regular-season finale after spraining an ankle on SAU's third offensive play of the game, was among six SAU players garnering first-team all-conference honors in a vote of league coaches. Head coach Mike Magistrelli also picked up Coach of the Year honors, his second in his six years as SAU head coach.
Others earning first-team Midwest League nods were: Zach Grant (Fr., WR, Rochester, Ill.); Cole Kelly (Jr., RB, West Branch, Iowa; first team in 2011); Carl Meister (Sr., OL, Downers Grove, Ill./Montini Catholic; first team in 2011); Sean Santiago (Sr., DL, Mundelein, Ill.; second team in 2011); and Jeremy Wallace (Jr., LB, New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln Way Central).
SAU's second-team selections were: Jordan Bell (Jr., DB, Pasadena, Calif.; honorable mention in 2011); Andrew Friederich (Jr., TE, Davenport Assumption HS; second team in 2011); Steve Laski (Soph., DL, Providence Catholic HS); Dan Mahoney (Soph., OL, Des Moines Dowling HS); Mike Tetlow (Sr., DL, Lockport Township HS); and Steve Thomas (Soph., DB, Rockford Boylan HS)
SAU also had two players nab Honorable Mention honors: Ryne Diehl (Jr., DL, Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln Way East HS); and Cory Price (Jr., DL, Princeville HS).
Williamson, a two-year starter from Springfield, Ill., already has set a school record with his 34 touchdown passes this season. He has completed 198-of-314 passes for 2,676 yards and has thrown just eight interceptions. Williamson is eighth in the country in passing yards, by averaging 267.6 per game.
It is the seventh time a Bee has been named the league's player of the year: Josh Schmidt (quarterback, 2000), Nathan Norman (running back, 2001), Joe Schimmel (running back, 2003), Jim DuPage (quarterback, 2007), Michael Hayward (wide receiver, 2008 and 2010).