Six Panthers Earn All-NESCAC Honors
February 25, 2004
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Six members of the Middlebury College football team were honored when the NESCAC released its all-conference selections today. Junior Mike Keenan (Rutland, Vt.), senior Tom Cleaver (Severna Park, Md.) and senior Craig Pittman (Atlanta, Ga.) were all first-team selections, while junior Ross Carbone (Wyckoff, N.J.) and junior Rich Decembrele (Walpole, Mass.) earned second-team honors. Rookie Scott Secor (Lake Odessa, Mich.) was named the conference's defensive rookie of the year.
Keenan is named the league's top quarterback after ranking second in the league in pass efficiency and passing years. He completed 136 of 249 passes for 1,596 yards with 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The junior also broke the school's single-game record with five touchdown passes vs. Hamilton. He is now the school's single-season leader in completions with 136 (John Wenner 124 in '99), attempts with 249 (John Wenner with 242 in '99), while tying Peter Mackey's record of 1,596 yards passing in '71.
His top target this season was Cleaver, who ranked second in the league in both receptions and receiving yards/game this season. Cleaver caught 47 passes in '03 for 749 yards with five touchdowns. He averaged 15.9 yards/catch, 5.9 catches/game and 93.6 yards receiving/game.
Also earning first-team honors was defensive back, Craig Pittman. The senior led Middlebury's defense with four interceptions this season to go along with his 39 tackles on the year. In his final collegiate game, Pittman made four tackles, picked off a pair of passes, broke up three passes and recovered a fumble in Middlebury's 10-6 road win at Tufts. The performance earned him NESCAC Player of the Week honors.
Carbone was named to the second-team as an offensive lineman for the Panthers. The junior anchored an offensive line that helped Keenan and the offense rank second in the league in passing offense this season. Carbone started all eight games this season from his center position.
Decembrele earns second-team honors for the second straight year as a linebacker. The junior led the team with 44 solo tackles this season, while ranking third overall with 63 total tackles. He paced the team with nine tackles for lost yardage and four sacks, while also adding a pair of interceptions. Decembrele was also named the league defensive player of the week back on October 26th for a 14-tackle performance against Trinity.
Secor was named the conference's Defensive Rookie of the Year after turning in a great rookie season. Despite missing the last game of the season with an injury, Secor finished second on the team with 36 solo and 64 total tackles in '03. He also had three tackles for lost yardage, three interceptions and a team-high six pass break-ups. Secor earned league rookie of the week honors on November 2nd with 11 tackles and an interception in a win over Hamilton.