DOVER, Del. - Wesley College's football team, who was recently named the 2013 ECAC Team of the Year, held its annual end-of-season banquet on Sunday afternoon at the College Center where it announced all of the team award winners from the 2013 season. Head Coach Mike Drass and his coaching staff also recognized the 11-member senior class that went 44-8 over the last four seasons, and eight players who received either All-America or All-Region honors.
For the second-straight year, linebacker Sosthene Kapepula was named the team's Most Valuable Player. A junior from Olney, Md., Kapepula was named a First Team All-American after leading the Wolverines with 110 tackles, 19.0 TFLs and 15 passes defended. Kapepula also was credited with 2.5 sacks and finished second on the team with five interceptions which ranked second among all Division III linebackers. Recording ten or more tackles in four games and at least a TFL in all but two games, Kapepula already ranks among Wesley's all-time leaders in tackles (295), tackles for loss (38.5), forced fumbles (6) and fumble recoveries (5).
Taking home the Offensive Player of the Year award was sophomore quarterback Joe Callahan, who competed a school-record 269 passes for 3,599 touchdowns and 29 touchdowns. The gunslinger from Absecon, N.J., also ran for a team-high six scores and had the two best passing games in Wesley College history with 510 yards in the season-opening win over Widener, and a NCAA Playoff and Wolverines-record 633 yards and eight touchdowns in the NCAA Quarterfinals at Mount Union.
A native of Woodbury, N.J., junior defensive end and All-Region selection Aamir Petrose was selected as the team's Defensive Player of the Year. Leading the squad with nine sacks and taking second on the Wolverines with 13.5 TFLs, Petrose also intercepted a pass, forced a fumble and recovered two more. His 56 stops were also sixth-most on the team.
Two players who had their best seasons in their tenure at Wesley were wide receiver Ben Barile (Bel Air, Md.) and running back Eugene Byrd (Philadelphia, Pa.). Recipients of the Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, Barile caught a pair of passes and had four special teams tackles while Byrd ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns.
Receiving his most extensive playing time since being at Wesley, junior defensive lineman Payton Rose earned the Ken Pippin Lineman of the Year award. A Jessup, Md., product, Rose made 55 stops with two sacks and 3.5 TFLs. Also forcing a fumble, Rose made a pivotal stop for a safety in the NCAA Quarterfinals at Mount Union.
Sharing the Naselli Award for the team's top skill player was senior wide receiver Jeremiah Howe and junior speedster Steve Koudossou.
Howe, who hails from Cambridge, Md., recorded career-highs in receptions (50) and receiving yards (766) along with three touchdowns while also rushing for 138 yards and a score. Howe finished his career ranked fifth at Wesley with 127 receptions and 12th with 1,743 receiving yards.
Koudossou caught a Wesley-record 78 passes for 1,137 yards and 13 touchdowns and became the school's all-time leader with 150 catches for 2,508 yards. The All-American from Waldorf, Md., also set school-records with 17 catches and four touchdown catches in the season-opener against Widener and a NCAA Playoff Record 273 receiving yards in the NCAA Quarterfinals at Mount Union. Koudossou also ranks second at Wesley with 32 receiving scores, fifth in total touchdowns (37) and sixth in points (226).
Freshmen Bryce Shade and Zane Campbell were named the team's Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year, respectively.
A wide receiver from Erial, N.J., Shade finished fourth on the team with 26 catches for 387 yards and his four touchdowns were tied for second on the team. Shade's best games all came in the Playoffs, culminating with a three catch, 102 yard and two touchdown performance in the NCAA Quarterfinals at Mount Union.
Campbell was an All-Region performer in his first season with the Wolverines, picking off a team-high six passes. The Delran, N.J., product also was credited with 39 tackles, 2.0 TFLs and 11 passes defended.
The Special Teams Player of the Year honor went to junior cornerback Derrick Bender, who was also named an All-American. A native of Freehold Borough, N.J., Bender finished four on the team with 69 tackles along with 6.5 TFLs. Bender also picked off a pass, forced two fumbles and recovered another.
Sophomores Kyle George and Rick Jackson were named the Wolverines Most Improved Players on the offensive side of the ball while classmate Brenton Barnes took home the honor on defense.
Earning a starting spot midway through the season, George, a tight end from Willingboro, N.J., was named an All-Region performer after catching 34 balls for 528 yards and four touchdowns. George had his best game at Division I Charlotte where he set career-highs in receptions (8) and receiving yards (143) and also caught a touchdown en route to earning ECAC Player of the Week accolades.
A local product from Middletown, Del., Jackson led the team with 447 rushing yards and six total touchdowns on the ground. Jackson had a 127-yard performance in a win over Huntingdon and another 92 yards and a score in a win over the 49ers.
Barnes also earned a starting spot midway through the year and excelled, collecting 36 tackles and 5.5 TFLs on the year. The Havre de Grace, Md., native also was credited with 1.5 sacks and a pair of pass breakups from the defensive tackle position.
Most Valuable Player: Sosthene Kapepula
Offensive Player of the Year: Joe Callahan
Defensive Player of the Year: Aamir Petrose
Senior Scholar-Athlete: Ben Barile & Eugene Byrd
Ken Pippin Lineman of the Year: Payton Rose
Naselli Award (Best Skill Player): Jeremiah Howe & Steve Koudossou
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Bryce Shade
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Zane Campbell
Special Teams Player of the Year: Derrick Bender
Most Improved Player (Offense): Kyle George & Rick Jackson
Most Improved Player (Defense): Brenton Barnes