WAXAHACHIE — The Central States Football League (CSFL) announced the 2016 All-CSFL selections Wednesday and Southwestern Assemblies of God University football earned five picks for the first team, five picks for the second team as well as eight honorable mentions.
“Overall I was very pleased with the results," Lions' Head Coach Frank Tristan said. "I think a lot of our players got the respect of the opposing coaches and that is always good to see. It’s great to see players you care about getting accolades for their performance.”
Senior linebacker Ethan Eastwood, juniors defensive lineman Matt Lighter, defensive back Carl Morgan and offensive lineman Devon Petty and sophomore wide receiver Jeremy Carr were all chosen to represent the Lions on the second team. Out of SAGU’s five first-team recipients, three were repeats from last year and four received the honor before.
Junior running back JP Lowery, sophomore offensive lineman Dayne Maclin, freshman linebacker Cody Page, sophomore defensive back Matt Williams and kicker Chadd Dearen.
Ethan Eastwood, a former Maypearl Panther, was a second-team All-CSFL last year selection and a first team All-CSFL selection his sophomore year. For much of the season, Eastwood led the league in tackling, averaging more than 12 a game.
He had 126 tackles in 2016, set SAGU’s tackle record for a season and ended the season ranked No. 5 in the Nationa Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in tackles per game. Lighter, a junior from Katy, Texas, is a first-team repeat from 2015 after recording 3.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.
He also had 47 tackles with a season high of 11 tackles against Arizona Christian University. Lighter ranked nationally in three NAIA categories — No. 34 in tackles for loss per game, No. 35 in fumbles forced per game and No. 46 in total tackles for loss.
Eastwood’s accomplishments are impressive, but what many don’t know, Tristan said, is that he played the last two and half weeks with a broken hand.
"He was tackling one-handed," Tristan continued. “[Breaking the SAGU record] was a great way to cap off his four-year career for us. Achieving what he did while playing with an injury was incredible. He will be very missed. Matt stepped up this season, too. To earn back-to-back first team all-conference in a league where there are a lot of great defensive linemen is a great honor. He worked extremely hard this year and it has paid off.”
Morgan, a Shreveport, Louisiana native, intercepted his opposition four times in seven games played, had 40 tackles for the year and averaged over five tackles per game. He also set the school record for all-time career interceptions with 14 despite having one year of eligibility left.
Petty, a two-year starting junior from Waco, had 55 knockdown blocks and was graded at 85 percent for the season in 2016. Carr, the final piece of SAGU's first team honoree picture, was only 345 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season despite the season's adversity.
“For only playing seven games, and getting more tackles than he did last year, obviously shows he is playing at a high level. We are really excited for his senior year,” Tristan said. "Devon is another back-to-back first team selection. He played with great intensity and great consistency this year. He was third in the conference for receiving yards for the year. Despite having three different quarterbacks through the season, he had consistent timing with each of them and handled the pressure well."
Carr had five receptions for touchdowns, 37 catches for 655 yards total, and averaged 3.7 catches for 65.5 yards per game.
SAGU had eight football players earn honorable mentions: running back Ricky Bickham, wide receivers Bryant Dotson, Toras Hill and Chaz Moncriffe and offensive lineman Javier Lopez and defensive linemen Paul Ellis, Darnell Martin and Jamal Fears.
The full list is available on the CSFL website.