Peach is Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year

Nov. 25, 2008

Complete Big Sky Conference Release With Entire All-BSC Team in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

A video of some of Greg Peach's top plays in 2008 and his season highlights may be viewed at:
http://goeags.cstv.com/multimedia/ewas-peach-highlights08.html

Forgive the players on the Eastern Washington University football team if they snicker a little bit when they glance at the 2008 All-Big Sky Conference football team announced Tuesday (Nov. 25). Members of the squad are selected by a vote of the league's head coaches.

Eagle senior Greg Peach is the lone Eastern player on the first team, but he also claimed the top honor on defense as he was selected as the league's Defensive Player of the Year. His honor is a big step toward winning the Buck Buchanan Award given to the top defensive player in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision by The Sports Network. Voting is currently taking place, with the award presented Dec. 18 on the eve of the FCS Championship Game in Chattanooga, Tenn.

A total of 21 Eagles were honored on the All-Big Sky squad, including seven on the second team and 13 honorable mention picks.

Weber State, a team EWU defeated 33-26 to conclude a 6-5 season for the Eagles, had 12 first team selections. The Wildcats, who won the league title and an automatic berth into the FCS Playoffs, were 7-0 in the league and ranked eighth in the nation at the time Eastern defeated them on Nov. 22.

Second team selections for the Eagles included senior fullback Alexis Alexander and junior wide receivers Aaron Boyce and Brynsen Brown on offense. Senior defensive end Jason Belford and senior defensive tackle Lance Witherspoon were also on that squad, as well as senior kicker Felipe Macias and senior punter Fritz Brayton.

Of EWU's 13 honorable mention selections, one of them was junior quarterback Matt Nichols, who was the 2007 Offensive Player of the Year in the league. Seniors receiving honorable mention included running back Dale Morris, center Charlie Wulff and cornerback Ryan Kelley.

Including Boyce, Brown and Nichols, a total of 12 underclassmen were honored by the league. They included six juniors on the honorable mention list -- offensive tackles Brice Leahy and Chris Thomas, wide receiver Tony Davis, tight end Nathan Overbay, inside linebacker Makai Borden and special teams standout Nicholas Ramos. Sophomore outside linebacker J.C. Sherritt received honorable mention, as well as the Johnson twins -- freshman strong safety Matt Johnson and freshman outside linebacker Zach Johnson.

In his final play as a collegian, Peach had a game-clinching fumble recovery with 1:02 left in the victory over Weber State. He finished the season with 18 sacks -- including six multiple sack games -- 72 tackles and 23 1/2 total tackles for loss. He led FCS in both sacks (1.6 per game) and tackles for loss (2.0 per game).

"He's had one of the most impressive seasons by a player I've ever seen at any position," said head coach Beau Baldwin of the new school record-holder for sacks in a season and career (35 1/2). "You can take all positions, and what he's done statistically, effort-wise and the type of person he is for me to come to that conclusion. His fumble recovery was a very fitting way for him to conclude his career. It was the right way to finish."

Boyce finished with 63 catches for 917 yards and 10 touchdowns, and Brown had 50 for 733 yards and four scores. Boyce was 30th in FCS in receptions per game (5.7) and 28th nationally in reception yards per game (83.4), ranking him fifth in the league in both categories. Brown was 38th in FCS in receptions per game (5.6) and 31st in receiving yards (81.4) after missing the last two games of the season with a shoulder injury.

Alexander, who also earned second team honors as a fullback as a sophomore in 2006, rushed 39 times for 236 yards and an impressive 6.1 average per rush in 2008. He also caught eight passes for 23 yards and scored a total of four touchdowns.

Witherspoon and Belford were the other two seniors besides Peach on Eastern's experienced defensive line that helped the Eagles rank 12th in FCS in rushing defense (93.5) and hold five-straight BSC opponents to 19 points or less. Witherspoon finished with 34 tackles, 10 total tackles for loss and three passes broken up, and Belford had 28 tackles with six sacks, an interception and four passes broken up.

Macias finished with eight field goals in 12 attempts, including kicks of 55 and 52 yards to his credit that ranked No. 1 and No. 5 in FCS in 2008. Brayton was also impressive on special teams, averaging 42.33 yards per kick to rank 12th in FCS. His season average ranks fourth in school history and his 41.0 career average is third.


BIG SKY CONFERENCE DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

No - Name - Pos - Ht - Wt - Yr - Ex - Hometown (Previous School)
94 - Greg Peach - Defensive End - 6-3 - 255 - Sr. - 3L - Vancouver, Wash. (Evergreen HS '05)

FIRST TEAM ALL-BIG SKY CONFERENCE

No - Name - Pos - Ht - Wt - Yr - Ex - Hometown (Previous School)
94 - Greg Peach - Defensive End - 6-3 - 255 - Sr. - 3L - Vancouver, Wash. (Evergreen HS '05)

SECOND TEAM ALL-BIG SKY CONFERENCE

No - Name - Pos - Ht - Wt - Yr - Ex - Hometown (Previous School)
9 - Aaron Boyce - Wide Receiver - 6-3 - 210 - Jr. - 2L* - Kent, Wash. (Kentwood HS '05)
83 - Brynsen Brown - Wide Receiver - 6-1 - 210 - Jr. - 2L* - Puyallup, Wash. (Emerald Ridge HS '05)
44 - Alexis Alexander - Fullback - 5-10 - 230 - Sr. - 2L* - Medical Lake, Wash. (Medical Lake HS '01 & Washington State Univ.)
55 - Lance Witherspoon - Defensive Tackle - 6-2 - 275 - Sr. - 3L* - Federal Way, Wash. (Decatur HS '04)
4 - Jason Belford - Defensive End - 6-1 - 240 - Sr. - 3L* - Tacoma, Wash. (Lincoln HS '04)
96 - Felipe Macias - Kicker - 5-9 - 220 - Sr. - 1L - Oxnard, Calif. (Channel Island HS '05 & Moorpark College)
46 - Fritz Brayton - Punter - 6-3 - 190 - Sr. - 1L* - Portland, Ore. (Westview HS '04 & Washington State Univ.)

HONORABLE MENTION ALL-BIG SKY CONFERENCE

No - Name - Pos - Ht - Wt - Yr - Ex - Hometown (Previous School)
16 - Matt Nichols - Quarterback - 6-2 - 220 - Jr. - 2L* - Cottonwood, Calif. (West Valley HS '05)
22 - Dale Morris - Running Back - 5-9 - 205 - Sr. - 3L* - Chester, S.C. (Marist HS '04)
20 - Tony Davis - Wide Receiver - 5-9 - 185 - Jr. - 2L* - Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS '05)
81 - Nathan Overbay - Tight End - 6-5 - 270 - Jr. - 2L* - Chehalis, Wash. (W.F. West HS '05)
61 - Charlie Wulff - Center - 6-0 - 270 - Sr. - 3L* - Woodland, Calif. (Woodland HS '04)
79 - Brice Leahy - Offensive Tackle - 6-7 - 295 - So. - 1L* - Gig Harbor, Wash. (Gig Harbor HS '06)
71 - Chris Thomas - Offensive Tackle - 6-5 - 300 - Jr. - 2L* - Sumner, Wash. (Sumner HS '05)
27 - Makai Borden - Inside Linebacker - 5-11 - 215 - Jr. - 2L* - Puyallup, Wash. (Puyallup HS '05)
32 - J.C. Sherritt - Outside Linebacker - 5-10 - 210 - So. - 1L* - Pullman, Wash. (Pullman HS '06)
41 - Zach Johnson - Outside Linebacker - 6-1 - 205 - Fr. - HS* - Tumwater, Wash. (Tumwater HS '07)
3 - Ryan Kelley - Cornerback - 5-10 - 190 - Sr. - 1L* - Los Angeles, Calif. (Serra HS `03, College of San Mateo JC & Montana State)
40 - Matt Johnson - Strong Safety - 6-1 - 215 - Fr. - HS* - Tumwater, Wash. (Tumwater HS '07)
21 - Nicholas Ramos - Special Teams - 5-8 - 165 - Jr. - 2L* - Winters, Calif. (Winters HS '05) 

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