Seniors lead Eastern to 35-14 victory over Western Oregon heading into challenge at California this week
Senior free safety Kevin Hatch (pictured) and wide receiver Aaron Boyce have earned their first-ever Big Sky Conference player of the week awards for their performances in Eastern Washington University's season-opening 35-14 victory over Western Oregon on Saturday (Sept. 5).
Hatch, a 2005 graduate of Freeman (Wash.) High School, had a pair of interceptions, two passes broken up and six total tackles against WOU. Boyce began his senior season with six catches for 126 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown catch. Boyce is from Kent, Wash., and graduated from Kentwood HS in 2005.
The Eagles, ranked 18th in the Sports Network NCAA Football Championship Subdivision preseason poll, play at California this Saturday (Sept. 12) at 2:35 p.m. Pacific time. The game versus the Golden Bears, ranked 12th in the Associated Press NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision preseason polls, is EWU's sixth game in four years against a FBS opponent.
Besides the two touchdowns they scored, the Wolves had the ball inside the Eastern 20 three other times and came away empty. One was ended on an interception by Hatch in the end zone at the end of the first half with EWU clinging to a 14-7 lead. Hatch's other interception led to a touchdown that gave EWU some breathing room at 28-14.
"Hatch's play in the end zone was huge," said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. "If that wasn't a pick, they had a chance to get three on the board. That was a great play he made, and then he had another later in the game. He's a senior and has played a lot of football. I was really impressed by the way he stepped up and made plays."
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Hatch has 156 tackles, seven interceptions and nine passes broken up in his career. He ended his junior season with a 73-yard interception return for a touchdown in EWU's upset 33-26 victory over eighth-ranked and regular season Big Sky champion Weber State .
Boyce, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound high school basketball teammate of Detroit Pistons point guard and former Eagle Rodney Stuckey, has 189 catches for 2,822 yards and 24 touchdowns in his career. He now ranks second in school history in all three categories, trailing only Eric Kimble (2002-05), who has records of 253 catches, 4,140 reception yards and 46 touchdowns.
Complete players bios on Hatch and Boyce may be