18 LIONS EARN ALL-MCFL HONORS
Melvin Stewart Named MCFL Offensive MVP for Second Straight Season
November 14, 2005
The Mid-Continental Football League (MCFL) has announced the 2005 All Conference selections with first team, second team and honorable mention categories. The nine-team league includes representation covering four states: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky. The players recognized are eligible to participate in the league's annual all star game which will be held in the spring of 2006.
The Lions were represented well, with 18 players and Head Coach Rich Dial being honored for their efforts. Leading the way was WR Melvin Stewart, who captured Offensive Most Valuable Player honors. Stewart, who hauled in 34 passes for 698 yards and 10 TD in 13 games, is a repeat winner of the award. He also captured the honor following the 2004 campaign. In addition, Stewart was named to the First Team at wide receiver.
Also garnering First Team honors on the offense were C Don Cornelius, G Don Smith, RB Chip McClain and TE Mike Parris. Cornelius, a perennial All-Star, and Smith, a first-time selection, were instrumental in opening holes for the Lions' rushing attack. Benefitting most was McClain, the Lions' durable tailback. McClain totaled over 800 yards rushing, averaging better than five yards per carry. Tight end Mike Parris was a favorite target in the red zone, with 6 of his 22 receptions finding the endzone.
Lions' rookie quarterback Jon Hunek garnered Second Team honors. The Ashland University graduate was sensational in his first season, throwing for over 1600 yards after taking over starting duties early in the year. He tossed 18 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions in leading the Lions to a 12-1 record and national top 10 ranking.
Cleveland was represented well on defense with six players earning First Team accolades. ILB Mike McCrary led the team in total tackles during the regular season with 36, OLB Dave Schierbaum was a terror to opposing quarterbacks with 6.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions; DE Tim Weeks collected a team-high 14.5 tackles for loss and 8 sacks; SS Jerry Adams once again showed why he is the elite run-stopping defensive back in the league; and FS Woody Allen shared the team lead in interceptions (4) with CB Hassan Brown.
Also receiving mention were CB Rico Franklin, a Second Team selection, and DE William Powell, who garnered Honorable Mention. Franklin, who successfully made the move from WR this season, was rock-solid in shutting down opposing receivers. Powell totaled 6 TFL, 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles during regular season play.
The Lions' special teams were also well-represented. Leading the way was Return Specialist Brian Giovinazzi. "Gio" was simply electrifying on punt and kickoff returns. He set a national record with four punt returns for touchdowns in a regular season victory over Southern Michigan. Fellow return man Lawrence Vickerstaff collected First Team honors in the All-Purpose category. Vickerstaff was a standout at a number of positions, including kickoff/punt return, punt coverage, safety, and quarterback. Punter Sinisa Poucki was also named to the First Team. Poucki's big leg helped win field position all season long. Joe Lindway also was honored, receiving Second Team honors at kicker.
Head Coach Rich Dial was named Coach of the Year for his outstanding contributions to the Lions' organization.
Stay tuned for continued coverage of the Lions' offseason progress and continued updates as the Lions look to re-claim the MCFL title in 2006.