W&J’s Sirianni named PAC Coach of Year
W&J head football coach Mike Sirianni was named PAC Football Coach of the Year for the fourth time Monday.
Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
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Washington & Jefferson College’s Mike Sirianni was named the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Football Coach of the Year for the fourth time Monday. Six Presidents earned first team All-PAC honors, including running back Tim McNerney, who was killed in October, and a total of 17 W&J players received mention on the all-conference team.
Waynesburg had 17 players on the All-PAC team, including a league-high eight first-team honorees – three on offense, three on defense and two of the three special team spots.
Sirianni has a 93-20 (.823) record in his 10th year at W&J and ranks fifth among active head coaches among all NCAA divisions in winning percentage. This season, Sirianni led W&J to its fourth PAC championship and seventh NCAA playoff berth during his tenure. The Presidents will play at Johns Hopkins Saturday (noon) in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.
McNerney, senior linebacker Ian Hennessy, senior defensive back Nathan Melhorn, junior offensive lineman Zach Wildey, junior wide receiver Alex Baroffio and junior kicker Eric Eberle were W&J’s first-team selections. On the second team were senior defensive lineman John Watts, junior offensive lineman Andrew, junior running back Dion Wiegand and junior defensive back B.J. Monacelli.
McNerney was honored posthumously as a unanimous first team selection. He rushed for 461 yards and four touchdowns in four games before his death Oct. 4. During his career, McNerney accumulated 2,336 yards and 30 touchdowns on the ground.
Baroffio led the conference in receptions per game (7.4) and paced the Presidents in receiving yards for the second consecutive season with 655. Wildey started all 10 games on the offensive line and has made 17-straight starts dating back to last season. Eberle made 30 of 31 extra points and 10 of 13 field goals, including a 3-for-3 mark from at least 40 yards.
Hennessy tied for the team lead with 82 tackles, the eighth-highest total in the PAC. He had 10 tackles for losses, including 2.5 sacks. Melhorn was the Presidents’ third-leading tackler with 76 and tied for the team lead in solo tackles (43). He made 7.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Leading Waynesburg’s selections was senior tight end Adam Moses, who is a three-time first-team All-PAC pick. The senior had team highs of 38 receptions and six touchdown catches.
Also on the first team offense from Waynesburg are junior guard Rob Kingerski and junior running back Bertrand Ngampa. On defense, the Yellow Jackets were represented by senior defensive lineman Matt Krause, junior defensive lineman Brandon Fedorka and junior safety Bryan Gary.
Kingerski led a Waynesburg offensive line that paved the way for a running game that averaged a PAC-best 202 yards per game and allowed only five sacks. Ngampa had his best season with 883 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns.
Gary earned his third first-team selection after leading Waynesburg in tackles (69) despite missing two games with a season-ending injury. He also had two interceptions. Krause, a four-year starter, was second on the team in tackles (47), tackles for losses (6) and sacks (4). Fedorka led the Yellow Jackets in tackles for losses (14.5) and sacks (9.5).
Waynesburg nearly swept the first-team special teams honors, as senior punter Zack Rogers and senior wide receiver/kick returner Christian Jackson were selected. Rogers led the PAC with a 39.0 average per punt, and Jackson led the conference in both kickoff return average (31.3) and punt return average (9.4).
Named to the second team from Waynesburg were senior offensive lineman Connor Brinkhoff, senior linebacker Jordan Helmick and junior kicker Alex Henry, a South Fayette graduate.
Thomas More defensive back Zach Autenrieb was named the PAC Player of the Year.