Nine Pirates Named to All-NWC Football Team

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Ronnie Thomas and Austin Ehlo each led the Northwest Conference in an important statistical category and for that the league's football coaches voted both as First Team All-NWC honorees according to the official list posted today by the conference office. The pair leads a group of nine Pirates who earn All-NWC honors in 2011 and five others who picked up honorable mention consideration.

Whitworth finished the season 4-6 overall and 3-3 (tied for fourth) in the NWC. After a 1-5 start that included five closes losses, the Pirates finished with three wins in their final four games and the only loss among those four was a 42-38 setback to fifth-ranked Linfield.

Thomas (Jr., RB, Granite Bay, Calif.) was named to the First Team after leading the Northwest Conference in rushing yards (1,044) and rushing yards per game (104.2). His 11 rushing touchdowns were the second-most in the league this season and his per-carry average of 6.0 yards is the best among the NWC's starting running backs.

Ehlo (RS Fr., WR/P, Spokane, Wash.) led the NWC in punting average this season to earn First Team honors. He averaged 39.9 yards per punt, with a season-long of 68 yards. He had 16 punts downed or stopped inside the opponent's 20 yard line, also the highest total in the NWC this season.

Ehlo was also named to the Second Team as a wide receiver. He caught 32 passes for 435 yards, an average of 13.6 yards per reception. He had nine pass receptions for a touchdown this season, the second-highest total in the NWC.

Fellow Pirate wide receiver Jake DeGooyer (Jr., Yakima, Wash.) was also selected to the Second Team on offense. He led Whitworth with 58 receptions and 757 receiving yards to go along with three touchdowns. His catch and yardage totals both ranked third in the league this season.

Kasey Lambert (Sr., TE, Longview, Wash.) is a three-year starter at tight end. He caught five passes for 60 yards and scored the first two touchdowns of his career in the final two games of the season.

Nate Guthrie (Jr., OG, Newman Lake, Wash.) and Emilio Sulpizio (Sr., C, Spokane, Wash.) were both named to the Second Team as offensive lineman. Guthrie excelled after becoming a starter midway through the season. Sulpizio, a 2011 team captain, had been a two-time honorable mention All-NWC selection the previous two seasons.

Three Pirates were named Second Team All-NWC on defense.

Scott Carr (Jr., LB, Rathdrum, Idaho), another 2011 Pirate team captain, finished with 44 total tackles, 32 of which were solo tackles. He led Whitworth with 9.5 tackles for loss.

Ryan Loutsis (So., LB, Bothell, Wash.) battled through an early-season ankle sprain and a mid-season concussion to post 41 total tackles, including 31 solo stops, in only six total games. He had 6.0 tackles for losses totaling 24 yards.

Paul Miller (Fr., CB, Spokane, Wash.) led Whitworth in total tackles with 71 and also had 7.0 for losses of 21 yards. He led the team with 12 pass breakups and also intercepted two other passes.

Whitworth had two of the three freshmen on the All-NWC First and Second Teams.

Five Whitworth players received honorable mention consideration to the All-Northwest Conference team.

Bryan Peterson (Fr., QB, Spokane, Wash.) became the starting quarterback by the fourth game this season. He completed 63.2% of his passes for 1,415 yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. His pass efficiency rating of 142.5 was the second-highest in the NWC.

Cailen Thomason (Sr., CB, Vancouver, Wash.) led the Pirates and the Northwest Conference in interceptions this season with five for 89 yards in returns. He also led the league with 16 total passes defended (five interceptions plus 11 break-ups).

Fernando Noriega (Jr., FS, El Monte, Calif.) finished second on the team with 60 total tackles and he had eight passes broken up.

Brodrick Hirai (So., DT, Kennewick, Wash.) finished with 28 total tackles for the Pirates. Eighteen of those were solo tackles and he forced two fumbles.

Jonathan Allen (Fr., DE, Kennewick, Wash.) became a starter midway through the season and made a huge impact with 38 tackles.

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