WAUKESHA, Wis. (WLCSports.com) – Junior defensive lineman JD Leisemann (Fall River, Wis./Fall River) has been named the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Defensive Player of the Year, highlighting a list of 11 Warriors players who earned all-conference recognition as the league's 2016 postseason football awards were announced on Friday.
Leisemann was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-NACC after tying for the league lead with 11 sacks, a new single-season school and conference record. The junior defensive lineman also tallied 48 tackles -- 32 solo and 16 tackles for loss -- and recovered a pair of fumbles. It is the second straight postseason honor for Leisemann, who received Second Team All-NACC honors a season ago. He was joined on the First Team by fellow defensive lineman Logan Troutman (Apopka, Fla./East Ridge), who also tallied 11 sacks and totaled 46 tackles while recovering a fumble.
Junior offensive lineman Matt Zeitler (Waukesha, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) was named First Team All-NACC after anchoring an offensive line that paved the way for 168.7 yards rushing per game, good for second in the league. It is the first all-conference honor for Zeitler, who started all 10 games for the Warriors this season.
Senior running back Jared Bruemmer (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates) and senior wide receiver Theo Belhomme (Kissimmee, Fla./Gateway) each were named Second Team All-NACC. Bruemmer, who was a Honorable Mention selection last season, led the team with 554 rushing yards, an average of 61.6 yards per game. He also tied for second on the team with three rushing touchdowns. Belhomme led the team with 47 catches for 778 yards, both team highs, and was was fifth in the NACC averaging 77.8 yards per game. He also caught five touchdown passes.
Junior linebacker Larry Meeks (Burlington, Wis./Burlington) and senior defensive back Emil Johnson (Cicero, Ill./Morton East) received Second Team All-NACC recognition. Meeks led the team with 78 tackles, including 8.5 for a loss, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. Johnson was sixth on the team with 38 total tackles. He also blocked a punt and returned it for a score and broke up pair of passes.
Sophomore Sasha Bornschlegl (Rochester, Minn./St. Croix Lutheran) was named Second Team All-NACC as both a kicker and punter after making 7-of-8 field goals and averaging 36.8 yards per punt. He pinned 13 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
Senior wide receivers Alex Foster (Kenosha, Wis./St. Joseph) and Andy DeNoyer (Waukesha, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) received Honorable Mention recognition. Foster, a Honorable Mention selection a season ago, was second on the team with 34 receptions for 396 yards. He also led the team with six touchdown catches and 880 all-purpose yards. DeNoyer was third on the team with 25 receptions and second of the team in receiving yards with 407. Senior defensive back Caleb Heinritz (Sussex, Wis./Homeschooled) also earned Honorable Mention honors for the Warriors. Heinritz posted 47 tackles, four pass break-ups, two interceptions, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
The Warriors have claimed at least one of the conference's four major awards six times in nine seasons of NACC competition. Leisemann is the fourth Warriors player to receive the NACC's top defensive nod in the last seven seasons.
Wisconsin Lutheran finished its 2016 season with a 5-5 overall record and tied for second in the NACC with a 4-2 mark. After a tough 0-4 start, the Warriors rallied to win five of their final six games to finish with at least a .500 overall record for the seventh time in the last eight years.