While this past Saturday was the third week of football in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference, it represented the first week of Divisional play- where post-season opportunities are earned by MCAC squads - and the race for playoff slots is heating up. MCAC fans witnessed several offensive outbursts around the league, with seven of the twelve MCAC teams putting up 35 points or more on the scoreboard on Saturday. In other contests, stingy defenses were the order of the day. A handful of elite performances merited additional accolades for outstanding individual play, and with it, Player-of-the-Week honors.
MCAC Eastern Division Special Teams Player-of-the-Week
Rochester Community & Technical College specialist Treevon Prater put together a standout performance for the Yellowjackets on Saturday in RCTC's to over Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College. The sophomore had four punt returns for a total of 93 yards and nearly a 25 yard average return mark. He also produced a 28 yard kickoff return in the contest. In addition to special teams duties, Prater also lines up as a defensive back for the 2-1 Rochester squad and had six tackles in the contest. Coach Eric Waldstein's group sits atop the Eastern Division, tied with Central Lakes College and Mesabi Range College, who were both winners in their opening Divisional contests. In Week 4, the Yellowjackets will host nationally ranked Central Lakes in Rochester at 1:30pm.
MCAC Eastern Division Offensive Player-of-the-Week
Vermilion Community College faced one of the toughest tests available in MCAC football in Week 3; the Ironmen had to visit #12 Central Lakes College and win in Brainerd. However, VCC receiver DeReiko Meridy rose to the occasion in his role on the day, catching four passes for a total of 114 yards. Meridy had the most yards of any rusher or receiver in the contest, and his overall effort led the offensive output for either team in the defensive affair. Facing 4th-and-20 with time winding down, Meridy hauled in a 56 yard TD haul for the only offensive touchdown in the contest; however, Central Lakes was able to run out the clock to end the game, 10-8 in favor of the Raiders. Overall, Vermilion is 1-2 on the season and 0-1 in Eastern Division action. In Week 4, Vermillion will travel to Itasca in Grand Rapids for a 1:30pm contest.
MCAC Eastern Division Defensive Player-of-the-Week
In a game that featured lock-down defense on both sides, Brendon Loch of Central Lakes College stood out among several great Raider performances. The sophomore defensive lineman from Belgrade, Minnesota registered 9 solo tackles among his Week 3 defensive stats. Loch was the top tackler in a defensive unit that held Vermilion to a net rushing gain of zero yards in the Week 3 contest. In leading the Raiders their third win of 2017, Loch also picked up a sack and had two tackles for losses on the day. His performance helped CLC stretch their MCAC unbeaten streak to 14 games. Central Lakes will travel to Rochester CTC in Week 4, when they will have a 1:30pm kickoff in the Med City.
Other Notable Week 3 Performances in the Eastern Division:
Central Lakes punter Blake Keil hit five key punts in his team's 10-8 win on Saturday, for a total of 186 yards. Two of Keil's kicks were downed inside the VCC 20 yard line, keeping the Ironmen pinned in their half in the Week 3 defensive struggle.
Mesabi Range College's Jalen Wilkerson was a defensive wrecking ball for the Norsemen on Saturday, tallying 5 solo tackles, two interceptions and blocked kick. MRC is 1-0 in Divisional play, 2-1 overall.
Itasca punt returner Jay-Shon Brock took it to the house on Saturday, returning a Mesabi Range punt 25 yards for touchdown in the Vikings 33-28 loss.
Running back Lorine Parker of Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College, rambled for 96 yards and a touchdown while teammate Javon Chappel picked off a pass for a touchdown in the Thunder's 35-14 loss to the RCTC Yellowjackets.
Rochester CTC athlete Jake Schaper had 9 tackles and 3 sacks in a monster day for RCTC against FDL on Saturday.
Story Photo courtsey of Joe Ahlquist/Rochester Post-Dispatch
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About the Minnesota College Athletic Conference
The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is the organizational body for NJCAA-affiliated two-year technical and community college athletic programs in the Minnesota State system. The mission of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is to advance intercollegiate athletics by providing an engaging and supportive environment for success of our student athletes and competition among member institutions. The MCAC is committed to the guiding principles of encouraging the development and success of student athletes, promoting the integrity, honesty and loyalty to member schools as well as upholding the sustainability of conference athletic programs.