Western Courier

Football ends with seven MVFC honors

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Football ends with seven MVFC honors

Clint Ratkovich runs the ball for more yards in a home game at Hanson Field.

Clint Ratkovich runs the ball for more yards in a home game at Hanson Field.

Becca Langys/ Photo Editor

Clint Ratkovich runs the ball for more yards in a home game at Hanson Field.

Becca Langys/ Photo Editor

Becca Langys/ Photo Editor

Clint Ratkovich runs the ball for more yards in a home game at Hanson Field.

Taylor Jordan, Courier Staff

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ST. LOUIS — The Missouri Valley Football Conference announced it’s 2018 All-MVFC Teams on Nov. 26, and Western Illinois landed seven players on the postseason lists. First team recognition was awarded to Clint Ratkovich, Khalen Saunders and Pete Swenson while Isaiah LeSure, Quentin Moon, Justin Fitzpatrick and Steven McShane represented the Leathernecks as second-team selections.

The three first-team honorees for the Leathernecks are Ratkovich, Saunders and Swenson.

Redshirt sophomore running back Ratkovich, from Crete, Ill., was on the 2017 MVFC All-Newcomer Team. While being team captain this season, he started in nine games.

Ratkovich is fourth on the team in rushing yards and second in receiving yards (616) with three touchdowns. Ranked 10th in the Valley in receiving yards per game. Best games included a 52-yard touchdown reception at Missouri State, and a 52-yard reception versus Indiana State. Ratkovich racked up a season-high 134 all-purpose yards at South Dakota.

Senior defensive lineman Saunders, from St. Louis, was placed on the 2017 First Team All-MVFC, along with the 2017 Phil Steele Third Team All-American and a 2018 Buck Buchanan Award finalist. As a three-year starter, Saunders is third on the team in tackles (72), second and sixth in the MVFC in sacks (6.5) and tied as the team leader in quarterback hurries (5). Saunders added 13.0 TFLs for 57 yards lost (ranks fifth in the Valley) along with a career-high of 11 tackles versus NDSU. He also received a touchdown on his first career reception versus Youngstown State.

Senior linebacker Swenson, from Mason City, Iowa made it onto the 2018 Buck Buchanan Award watch list.

Swenson is a two-year starter, sacked the opposing quarterback in all but one game this season and ranks third in the FCS leading the MVDC in sacks (14.5). The Iowa native leads the nation in TFLs (24.5 for a combined 109-yard loss), team leader with seven QB hurries and ties third in the MVFC in forced fumbles (3). Swenson finished the year with 60 tackles.

There were four Leathernecks named to the second team. Senior wide receiver LeSure, from Mount Horeb, Wis. LeSure is a two-year starter and Western’s active leader in receiving yards (1,318) and touchdowns (12).

Setting in as third on the team in receiving years (615) while also ranking 10th in the MVFC receptions per game (4.1). LeSure seized a career-high of 170 receiving yards vs. NDSU (second most in a single-games from a Leatherneck this season).

Senior linebacker Quentin Moon, from Indianapolis, Ind., was honored as the 2016 and 2017 All-MVFC Honorable Mention. Moon has been a two-year team captain, as well as a three-year starter. He competed in seven games with 10-plus tackles this season, and ranks 15th in the nation and third in the MVFC in tackles (109). MVFC leader in forced fumbles (5), ninth in the FCS in solo tackles and added five quarterback hurries.

Senior defensive back Justin Fitzpatrick, from O’Fallon, Mo., was also apart of the 2017 Second Team All-MFVC. As a two-year starter and team captain of this season, Fitzpatrick ties for eighth in the Valley in passes defended and ties for team lead with nine pass breakups and two interceptions. Racking up 58 tackles and one forced fumble along with a career-best 11 tackles versus UNI this season (9 solo/2 assist).

Senior running back McShane, from Freeport, Ill. Placed on 2016 (RB) and 2017 (RB/RS) Second Team All-MVFC. McShane is a three-year starter, team leader in rushing with 672 yards (ranks 10th in the MFVC), and third on the team in receiving yards (403). In the MVFC, tied for third in touchdowns (seven rushes, five passes and one return) and sixth (34th in the nation) in all-purpose yards. McShane puts in second in the Valley in punt return average of 9.0 including a returning punt of 58 yards for a touchdown versus Montana. He recorded a 75-yard rushing touchdown vs. Youngstown State and 65-yard rushing touchdown vs. Indiana State. He has two games this season with 100-plus rushing yards (143 versus Missouri State, 134 versus Youngstown State). McShane, who was named above as a return specialist, also joined Sean McGuire and Xavier Rowe on the honorable mention list as a running back.

The last two players to receive acolades were named to the all-conference honorable mention team.

Senior quarterback Sean McGuire, from Franklin, Wis. He received the 2016 and 2017 All-MVFC Honorable Mention. McGuire is a three-year team captain, three-year starter and Western’s all-time leader in passing yards, touchdown, completions and attempts. Sitting in as second of all-time in the MVFC with 9,819 career passing yards and second this season in passing average per game (263.1). In the Valley, McGuire is third in total offense (2,901) and third (20th in the nation) in passing TDs (21). Competed in four games with 300-plus passing yards (Montana, Youngstown State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa).

Senior defensive back Rowe, from Oak Park, Ill. As a four-year starter and Western’s active leader with 43 career stats, Rowe ties for fifth in the MVFC in passes defended, and ties as the team leader with nine pass breakups. All three interceptions occurred in conference play, along with 41-recorded tackles.

Western determined its 2018 slate fifth in league standing with a record of 4-4, 5-6 overall. According to the Massey Ratings’ strength of schedule index, the Leathernecks played the second toughest schedule in the FCS, highlighted by Top 25 wins over Montana and Northern Iowa.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Football ends with seven MVFC honors