Three players make first team all-RMAC
By Garrett Finke, Assistant Athletic Director-Communications Western State Colorado University
The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference announced the 2016 RMAC Football All-Conference honors on Tuesday. Twelve Western State Colorado University football student-athletes were named to one of the three teams. Three Mountaineers were named RMAC First Team selections, while four were selected to the Second Team and five more were Honorable Mention selections. Five offensive players were selected along with six defensive players and one special teams player for Western.
The only Mountaineer to make the First Team All-RMAC Offense was running back Austin Ekeler. The senior led Division II in rushing yards per game with a 149.5 average. Ekeler was also the conference’s leading rusher with 1,495 yards in 2016. His 15 rushing touchdowns ranked second best in the RMAC.
Ekeler leaves Western as the school’s all-time leader in rushing yards, rushing attempts, rushing touchdowns, and scoring. Ekeler was named an All-RMAC First Team selection all four seasons.
Making the First Team All-RMAC Defense for Western was lineman Austin Yurko and linebacker Carter Wasser.
Yurko was the Mountaineers’ sack leader in 2016, recording 4.5 and totaling 40 yards. The senior defensive lineman also forced three fumbles, recovering two, and blocked a field goal on special teams. Yurko’s 61 tackles ranked fourth-best on the team and his 7.5 tackles for a loss tied for third most. This is his third All-RMAC selection.
Wasser led Western in tackles with 89, which ranked seventh-best in the RMAC. He also led the Mountaineers in tackles for a loss with 12.5 and quarterback hurries with nine. His 12.5 tackles for a loss also tied for second-best in the RMAC. The linebacker also recorded the team’s second-most sacks on the season with three. This is the junior’s first All-RMAC selection.
Making the Second Team All-RMAC Offense was Holden Rexius. Rexius, a senior, was the Mountaineers’ starting center and helped Western average 226.6 rushing yards per game. This is Rexius’ second All-RMAC selection.
Senior defensive back Isaiah Jackson and senior defensive end Thomas Chavira were named to the Second Team All-RMAC Defense. Jackson led the team in passes defended with 14, which also ranked tied for second best in the RMAC. It is Jackson’s second All-RMAC selection.
Chavira recorded 42 tackles in 2016 to go along with eight tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, five quarterback hurries and one forced fumble. This was his second All-RMAC selection in his career.
Kicker Ryan Winke was named to the Second Team All-RMAC Special Teams. The senior made 37 extra points in 2016, which ranks fourth-best in school history. Winke ends his career with the third-most points scored in Mountaineer football history. The kicker has been named to an All-RMAC Team all four seasons.
The Mountaineers finished with a 7-4 overall record and a 7-3 record in the RMAC. It’s the most overall wins and RMAC wins for Western since the 1998 season.