MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Twelve Eureka football players have received All-Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference recognition, and defensive lineman Alexander Brittain (Eureka, Ill./Eureka) has been named the 2019 NACC Freshman of the Year, according to a Friday announcement from the league office.
Four Red Devils were selected First Team All-NACC, five were named to the Second Team and three more earned Honorable Mention.
Senior James Douglas III (Orlando, Fla./Deltona) was named to the first team as both a wide receiver and return specialist.
Senior corner back Trevon Moore (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) became the first defensive player from Eureka to become a four-year first-team all-conference honoree and only the second player overall in program history, joining head coach Kurt Barth (1994-97).
For the first time, he was joined on the All-NACC First Team defense by junior linebacker Mason Diederich (Washington, Ill./Washington), who was a second-team selection a year ago. Senior Tanner Kuhne (Princeton, Ill./Princeton) was selected to the First Team as a place kicker.
Senior quarterback Drew Barth (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest), junior running back Joe Hughes (Normal, Ill./University) and junior offensive lineman Martin LeCesne (Joliet, Ill./Joliet West) were named to the Second Team as offensive players, while sophomore Julius Peyton (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) and Brittain received Second Team nods on defense.
Senior fullback Wesley Burris (Monmouth, Ill./Monmouth-Roseville), senior linebacker Austin McCarty (Oakwood, Ill./Oakwood) and sophomore offensive lineman Corbin Heiken (El Paso, Ill./El Paso-Gridley) received Honorable Mention.
Douglas was the NACC's leader in receiving yards with 113.9 per game — good for 12th in NCAA Division III on the year. He racked up 14 touchdowns — the second most in the league and tallied three in a single game four times. By season's end, he'd gone over 100 yards receiving five times, went over 150 four times and recorded 216 yards in a 50-49 win over Lakeland, subsequently being named the NACC Offensive Player of the Week.
He finished with 1,139 receiving yards on 67 receptions, leading the league in both categories and placing him fourth in program history for a single season. It was the fifth 1,000 receiving yard season in program history, and he was only the third player to do it, joining Kurt Barth (1994-97) and Wes Schmidgall (2009-11).
His 14 touchdown total is the third most in program history, and Douglas finished with the most career receiving yards by a two-year player in program history.
Selected as a return specialist for the second year in a row, Douglas also racked up 352 yards on 17 kick returns and 73 yards on four punt returns, running back a 70-yard return for a touchdown in a 38-28 season-ending win against Rockford.
Moore contributed 13 tackles, one for loss, one interception and a league-leading 11 pass breakups in his final season as Red Devil. He finished as second in the nation in Division III among active players in career passes defended with 58.
Kuhne made 7-of-8 field goal attempts, the season long coming on a pivotal 36-yarder in a 26-20 overtime win at Wisconsin Lutheran. He went 40-for-44 on extra point attempts for a career-high 91 percent success rate and concluded his career as the Red Devils' all-time extra point leader with 157.
As a junior, Diederich notched career highs in tackles (45), solos (25) and tackles for loss (nine) despite playing in one game fewer than last year. He also forced two fumbles and broke up a pass.
On the Second Team, Barth accumulated career highs in completions (170), passing yards (2,306) and touchdowns (27), finishing second in the league in the latter two categories and third in the former. He also ran for 268 yards and four touchdowns. Barth finished his career second in program history in career completions (434) and touchdowns (53) and was third in passing yards (5,508).
A first-time all-conference honoree, Hughes was third in the NACC in rushing yards per game with 128.5. With 1,028 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 204 carries, he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark despite missing the better part of three games due to injury. It was the eighth 1,000 yard season in school history, and he was only the fifth player to do it.
LeCesne was named to the Second Team for the first time after receiving Honorable Mention last year. He helped the EC offense amass 421.5 yards per game (third-best rate in the NACC), including 2,306 passing yards (second in the NACC) and 1,909 total rushing yards (third in the NACC).
On the other side of the ball, defensive linemen Brittain and Peyton became first-time All-NACC honorees. Brittain, the NACC Freshman of the Year, is one of only two freshmen to be honored on the first or second team.
After making a splash with two sacks and four tackles in his collegiate debut in Week 2 against MacMurray, the defensive end went on to lead the Red Devils in tackles four straight weeks in NACC play. He finished the season with 48 total tackles, 30 solos, three sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two pass breakups.
Peyton contributed a career-high 28 total tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, 3 1/2 tackles for loss and one forced fumble in his sophomore campaign.
Burris played an integral role on the Red Devils' offense as blocker and notched 20 receptions for 176 yards and six touchdowns, including two in his final game at Rockford.
McCarty led the EC defense for the second straight year with 54 tackles, six for loss, 1 1/2 sacks, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup.
Heiken receives his first All-NACC recognition after making noticeable strides in his second year helping anchor the offensive line as the Red Devils' starting center.
Eureka finished the 2019 season with a 6-4 record. In their second season in the NACC, the Red Devils placed third overall with a 4-3 mark. They finished the season with a three-game winning streak and moved to 10-4 all-time in NACC play.