Wittenberg finally got its North Coast Athletic Conference championship trophy on Tuesday. A video posted to the Wittenberg football Facebook page shows Joe Fincham handing the trophy to his senior captains, saying “Congratulations,” and then walking out of the frame.
This was their moment, yet the Tigers seemed to follow Fincham’s lead. They all wanted to touch the trophy, but no one made a big deal about it.
Senior offensive lineman Matt Widemon could be heard saying, “Hey, this is a long season of work, but we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
That’s true, but the Tigers have already earned some of the dividends from that hard work. Two days before their Division III first-round playoff game against Lebanon Valley at noon Saturday at Edwards-Maurer Field, the Tigers learned Thursday they had dominated the North Coast Athletic Conference awards.
Senior quarterback Reed Florence won the Mike Gregory Award, given to the top offensive player in the NCAC. He has completed 178 of 264 passes (67 percent) with six interceptions and 30 touchdowns.
“I’m not satisfied,” said Florence, a Southeastern graduate. “I want to keep winning. That’s my main focus. If the accolades come, they come, but it’s all about my team. It’s not about myself. I could care less if I got first team, second team or player of the year. As long as we win the league and keep winning playoff games.”
Joe Fincham was named coach of the year for the eight time in 18 seasons.
Twelve of the 26 players named to the NCAC first team were from Wittenberg: Florence; running back Sean Gary; wide receiver Brendon Cunningham; tight end Stephen Zumdick; center Alec Nutting; offensive linemen Aaron Coeling and Matt Widemon; linebacker Spencer Leno; defensive linemen Josh Bannick and Josh Montgomery; and defensive backs Heath Eby and Mark Swope.
Four Tigers earned second-team honors: running back Jimmy Dehnke; linebacker Evan Killilea; defensive back Victor Banjo; and kicker Evan Grisson. Three other players received honorable mentions: wide receiver Jonathan Stoner; offensive lineman Adam Klever; and defensive lineman Kyle Sanning.