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UNK Football’s Lynn, Davis win top awards for MIAA in 2021

17 Lopers also named to All-MIAA squad
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 10:52 PM CST
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Nebraska-Kearney’s Josh Lynn is the 2021 MIAA Football Coach of the Year and Loper redshirt junior quarterback TJ Davis is the 2021 MIAA Offensive Player of the Year.

The All-MIAA football team was released today with the league’s 12 head coaches voting on the makeup of the squad. They cannot vote for their own players.

No. 21/21 UNK (9-2), heading into the NCAA Division II playoffs for the fifth time in program history, had nine offensive players selected, seven on defense and one special team honoree.

Joining Davis (Colorado Springs) on the first team is right tackle Corey Hoelck (Giltner), all-purpose back Dayton Sealey (Hastings St. Cecilia) and safety Darius Swanson (Aurora, Colo.). Both Davis and Hoelck were on the 2019 second-team with Sealey an honorable mention choice that fall.

On this year’s second-team is left tackle Kooper Reece (Valentine), defensive end Tell Spies (Mullen), outside linebacker Atoa Fox (San Diego) and punter Hunter Kraus (Sargent). Reece bumps up from 2019 accolades with Spies joining his older brother, Tye (’18), as an All-MIAA honoree.

Next, senior back Montrez Jackson (Trenton, Fla.), defensive end Blake Schroeder (Holdrege) and inside linebacker Zach Schlager (McCook) made the third-team. Jackson was a second-team all-purpose back in 2018. Finally, honorable mention choices are center Jacob Browne (Ft. Lupton, Colo.) left guard Hunter Hays (McCook), outside linebacker Travis Holcomb (Cairo), receiver Michael Koch (Columbus), right guard Matt Krzysztalowicz (Burlington, Ontario) and inside linebacker Jacey Nutter (Thedford). Browne joins his older brother, Luke (’16), as an All-MIAA plyer.

Davis, a four-time MIAA Offensive P.O.W award winner and a Harlon Hill Trophy Candidate, guides an offense that averages 36 points and 471 yards per game. The third-year starter is at 94.5 yards rushing and 186.5 yards per game with 38 touchdowns (21 passing, 16 rushing and one receiving). Finally, he ranks in the D2 top 30 in eight different categories and is rare 2,000-yard passing, 1,000-yard rushing player.

Jackson (506 yards) is UNK’s second leading rusher, fourth leading receiver (160 yards) and top kick returner (276 yards). Despite being a back, Sealey is second on the Lopers in receiving yards (491) and receiving TD’s (four) while having 306 rushing yards and two scores. On the outside, Koch had 18 catches for 352 yards and eight TD’s, tied for third most in the MIAA.

The Loper 0-line has allowed just 13 sacks to date while blocking for a ground game that averages 265 yards weekly, 5.5 yards per carry and produced 29 TD’s. UNK also is among the national leaders in time of possession at 33:11.

Swanson (83), Schlager (61) and Nutter (51) are UNK’s tackle leaders with Swanson also first in interceptions (three), second in pass breakups (six) and third in tackles for loss (5.0). Fox, like Schlager a first-year Loper, has a team-best 6.5 TFL’s to go along with 31 stops with Spies at a Loper-best 4.5 sacks. Next, Holcomb has 28 tackles and four PBU’s with Schroeder at 21 tackles and 2.5 TFL’s. Finally, Kraus has a 39.6 punt average with four efforts traveling over 50 yards and 10 landing inside the opponents 20-yard line.

Lynn has directed “The Rise” of UNK football, taking over a program in 2017 that was 1-21 the previous two seasons. The Lopers have won 18 of its last 25 games, recorded the program’s fourth-ever postseason win (2019 Mineral Water Bowl) and cracked the national rankings for the first time in a decade. Including time at Eastern New Mexico and New Mexico Military Institute, Lynn has a career record of 65-49 which includes a 26-21 mark at UNK. He’s already tied for the fifth most wins in school-history.

Loper Offensive Players of the Year – D2 Era (RMAC or MIAA)

QB, TJ Davis 2021

QB, Jake Spitzlberger 2011

RB, Rustin Dring 2009

WR, Richie Ross 2003

RB, Mike Miller 2002

QB Justin Coleman, 1999

Loper Football Head Coaches of the Year – D2 Era (RMAC or MIAA)

Josh Lynn, 2021

Darrell Morris, 2002, 2005 & 2009

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