Justin Edwards rushed for 14 touchdowns on the year (photo by Kayla Ishibashi)
Justin Edwards rushed for 14 touchdowns on the year (photo by Kayla Ishibashi)

Justin Edwards Earns SCIAC Offensive Player of the Year, Eight Stags Named All-SCIAC

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Justin Edwards of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football team earned the SCIAC Offensive Player of the Year, while eight Stags in all captured All-SCIAC honors, the conference office announced today.

Edwards was joined on the All-SCIAC first team offense by quarterback Walter Kuhlenkamp and wide receiver Anderson Cynkar. Earning first-team All-SCIAC defensively were defensive end Michael Houk, linebackers Emmett Thomas King III and Joey Asta, and safety Jacob O'Connell. Kicker Rich Brutto was the lone Stag represented on the All-SCIAC second team. 

Edwards finished his junior season as the CMS all-time leader in touchdowns with another full season left to play. He had 850 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns this season, increasing his career total to 43 rushing touchdowns (and 44 overall, including one receiving), breaking the old CMS record of 38 (all rushing) set by Chris Dabrow from 1984-87. Edwards had three touchdowns in a game three different times, including against Cal Lutheran, Redlands and La Verne, and added two touchdown games at Chicago and at Cal Lutheran. 

Kuhlenkamp was a threat both on the ground and through the air for the Stags this season, tallying 1754 yards passing on nearly 60 percent completions (159-266, 59.6%) and throwing for eight touchdowns, three of which went for over 70 yards. On the ground, he ran 93 times for 378 yards and four more touchdowns, including a 65-yard scamper in a close win over George Fox. 

Cynkar was the top target for Kuhlenkamp this season, finishing the year with 488 yards receiving on 35 catches. He had the first of the three long touchdown receptions when he pulled in a 73-yarder in a road win over Chicago on Sept. 2. He had at least one catch in every game, with a high of seven twice against George Fox and Chapman. 

Houk ended the season with 17 tackles, with seven of them for losses, including 3.5 sacks totaling 19 yards. He had a two-sack game to close out the season at Redlands, and added 1.5 sacks and a season-high five tackles at Chapman, while picking up another sack in a road win over Cal Lutheran.

Asta and King tied for team-high honors in tackles with 53, with Asta contributing 5.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for losses as the team's top pass rusher. He missed most of the first three games due to injury, but came back to record a season-high nine tackles in a win over Pomona-Pitzer. He had 2.5 sacks in a win at La Verne, and had eight tackles and forced a fumble with a sack in a win at Cal Lutheran. 

King had a big season as a run-stuffer for CMS, finishing with 53 tackles including 10 for losses. He had sacks in back-to-back wins over George Fox and Cal Lutheran, with his sack against Cal Lutheran forcing a fumble that set up a key early touchdown for the Stags. 

O'Connell had a huge season for the Stags at safety with five interceptions, two of which he ran back for touchdowns, and two of which he ran back into the opponent's red zone. His pick-sixes came in back-to-back wins over Cal Lutheran and Pomona-Pitzer, while he had a 38-yard return and a 72-yard return in the two wins over Redlands, both of which set up CMS touchdowns. 

Brutto made 11 of his 15 field goal attempts on the year, with a 47-yarder against George Fox with one second left breaking a 7-7 tie and giving CMS the win. He also had three field goals twice, once against Pomona-Pitzer and once against Cal Lutheran (both on a perfect 3-3 kicking), which tied the program record for field goals in a game. He was also 28-29 on extra points, including a 7-7 performance against Cal Lutheran. 

The eight All-SCIAC players helped CMS to an 8-2 final record, tying the program record for the most wins in a season with both the 1970 and 1986 teams.