WORCESTER – Senior Brian Murtagh (Wayland, MA) and freshman Sean McAllen (Prospect, CT) garnered major awards in the 26th edition of the Steve "Merc" Morris All-Star Team, as selected by the sports information directors within Worcester Country who sponsor football. Murtagh was tabbed the Co-Defensive Player of the Year while McAllen was selected as the Freshman of the Year.
The duo was also honored with first team selections, as well as senior Chad DellaPorta (Billerica, MA) and junior Dereck Pacheco (Barnstable, MA). Second teamers included senior Brandon Eccher (Franklin, MA), senior Blaine Bursey (Middleburg, FL), senior Jason Lamb (Plymouth, MA) and sophomore Luca Cerasani (Abington, MA).
Murtagh, who was recently named to the D3football.com All-East Region First Team, also collected his third first team nod to go with his three All-Liberty League first team accolades and his second New England Football Writers Division II/III All-New England Team selection. The league leader in total tackles (118), solo tackles (80) and tackles per game (11.8) made double-digit stops in eight of 10 games with a season-high 15 at MIT and again against Union. He also totaled 11 tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception and three pass breakups on the season. For his career, Murtagh amassed 378 tackles with 242 solo 24.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, six interceptions, 10 pass breakups, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.
McAllen, the Liberty League Rookie of the Year and a member of the league's second team, was second in the league in rushing attempts (170), fifth in yards (701) and ninth in average yards per game (70.1). He ran for a season-best 215 yards on 29 carries with a pair of touchdowns and a 74 yard TD in the season opener at MIT. Within the Liberty League, McAllen totaled 114 yards on 25 rushes to go with a touchdown pass as part of the Wild Goat at Springfield. The newcomer also rumbled into the end zone at RPI, vs Hobart and at Rochester.
DellaPorta, a repeat first team All-Star and All-Liberty League first teamer, helped the Engineers top the league in total offense with 413.3 yards per game and rank second in the league with 31.4 points per game. In addition to his effort on the gridiron, the two-sport student-athlete earned three Liberty League All-Academic nods.
Pacheco, an All-Liberty League second team defensive lineman, took home his second All-Star first team nod. Pacheco paced the Engineers with 15.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He was also third on the team in total tackles (60) to go with a forced fumble.
Eccher, a second-year All-Liberty league second team selection and 2014 first teamer at wide receiver, was second in the Liberty League with 72 points (12 TDs). He posted 777 yards on 45 catches with 11 scores with a long of 51 yards against Merchant Marine. As a punt returner, Eccher picked up 160 more yards on 17 tries with a 78-yard TD against Union. He ends his career third in the WPI record book with 132 career receptions and fifth in career receiving yards with 1,949.
Bursey, a repeat Liberty League selection as a specialist and a newly minted D3football.com All-East Region Third Team member, led his peers with 10 field goals on 12 attempts and 12 touchbacks. He was also first among kickers, and third among all student-athletes, in total points with 63, including 33 PATs on 36 tries. In 41 games, Bursey made 24 field goals and 105 PATs for a total of 177 points. The two-time Fred Mitchell September honoree booted career-long 38-yarder as a sophomore.
Lamb earned the Robert Pritchard Award for Most Outstanding Defender at homecoming for his 17 tackles (13 solo) including one for-loss to go with an interception and a pass breakup against Union. For the season, Lamb totaled 56 stops – 36 solo – with three picks, seven pass breakups, a forced fumble and a recovery in eight games. He wrapped up his career with 161 tackles (112 solo) with 14.5 for-loss, four sacks, 11 pass breakups, five interceptions, four forced fumbles, one recovery and a blocked kick in 36 games played.
Cerasani, a defensive lineman, was second in the league with 17 tackles for-loss and tied for the top spot with 14 solo. He delivered 51 stops and was second on the team with eight sacks.
The Worcester Area Football Association All-Star Team is named in the memory of Steve "Merc" Morris, the longtime Assistant Director of Athletics for Media Relations and Assumption Hall of Famer. "Merc" was a 1972 graduate of Assumption and was a member of the athletics staff for 39 years before passing away in January of 2011. In addition to being the founder of the Worcester Area Association All-Star program, he was a tireless supporter of collegiate athletics in the Worcester area and had a key role in the lives of thousands of student-athletes.
Offensive Player of the Year
Chris Mullins, Nichols College, Fr., QB
Co-Defensive Players of the Year
Brian Murtagh, WPI, Sr., LB & Matthew McEvilly, Nichols, Sr., LB
Special Teams Player of the Year
Cole Tracy, Assumption, Jr., PK
(Second consecutive year)
Freshman of the Year
Sean McAllen, WPI, Fr., RB
Coach of the Year
Dale Olmsted, Nichols