LOS ANGELES, Calif. – After winning their fourth consecutive Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship, the awards piled up for the 2012 Cal Lutheran Kingsmen football team. Senior wide receiver Eric Rogers was named the 2012 Offensive Player of the Year while his freshman teammate, running back Romello Goodman, was named the Newcomer of the Year. In addition to those awards, Cal Lutheran also had five First Team All-SCIAC selections and three chosen to the Second Team.
Rogers becomes the third Cal Lutheran player in four years to earn a SCIAC Athlete of the Year award. The senior rewrote the CLU record books this year for both single-season and career records breaking seven different marks including becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer. The six-foot-four receiver was head and shoulders above his competition. In league games alone the wide receiver hauled in 61 catches for 868 yards and 15 touchdowns. He averaged 124 yards per game through the air and 14.2 yards per catch. He also added four rushes for 57 yards, to average an identical 14.2 yards per carry. Three of those four carries ended with touchdowns. The versatile senior also threw a pair of passes, one for a 26 yard touchdown. Overall, he became Cal Lutheran’s all-time leading receiver after he finished the year with 91 catches for 1,298 yards and 18 TDs. The Duarte, Calif. native pushed his career total to 45 touchdowns, breaking the old scoring record by 34 points. The four year letter-winner earned First Team All-SCIAC honors in 2011 and 2010 while earning Second Team in 2009. Rogers and the rest of his senior teammates never lost a SCIAC conference game, going a perfect 25-0 since 2009.
Goodman literally burst onto the scene in his first year for the Kingsmen, darting down the field for a 68-yard touchdown run in his first game at Rolland Stadium against Linfield (Sept. 10). The 2011 California high school rushing champion finished his first collegiate season with 1,165 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging nearly six yards a carry. Goodman was a threat out of the backfield too, ending as the team’s third-leading receiver with 30 receptions for 294 yards. His 1,419 all-purpose yards in 2012 were the third-most all-time for single season at CLU.
Of the five First Team All-SCIAC selections, two, senior Jordan Austin and junior Andrew Pankow, were on offense while three, senior Rian Younker and juniors Chris Cabrera and Vince Minor, were on defense.
Minor, a cornerback and returns specialist hauled in a pair of awards, being recognized not only as a First Team All-SCIAC defensive back, but was also the First Team Special Teams recipient. As a first-year transfer, he made an immediate impact on special teams as well as defense. The five-foot-nine cornerback finished second in the country by averaging over 18 yards per punt return. Minor returned a pivotal punt return for a 43-yard touchdown against Redlands (Oct. 6) and also had a long of 64 yards against Pomona-Pitzer (Sept. 29).
Younker, a repeat First Team selection from a year ago, battled a number of injuries to still have a strong senior campaign. Switching from defensive tackle to end, Younker finished with 41 total tackles eight tackles for loss and three and a half sacks. In his final game for CLU, Younker scooped up a North Central fumble and rumbled 39 yards, setting up Cal Lutheran for a touchdown a few plays later.
Cabrera makes the move from Second Team in 2011 to First Team in 2012. The junior linebacker from Los Angeles, Calif. finished with 55 tackles, including 27 unassisted with four coming behind the line of scrimmage.
Austin and Pankow anchored an offensive line that paved the way for CLU to average over 500 yards of total offense per game, which was seventh most in Division III. Austin, a senior from Bakersfield, Calif., earns his first SCIAC recognition in his fourth year starting for CLU. Pankow, a junior from Pasadena, Calif., earns the First Team honor in just his first full year of starting.
The Kingsmen also had three Second Team All-SCIAC selections. Junior offensive guard Ty Olson was the lone CLU representative on offense while sophomore Anthony Monroe and senior Tim Cozine were named to the defense.
Olson, a two-year starter, helped CLU have the conference’s leading offense where they averaged more than seven yards per play. The Covina, Calif. native played a huge part in a line that allowed just six sacks in seven conference games.
Monroe made the most of his late-season opportunities on the defensive line. Despite not starting until the eighth game of the season, Monroe finished with 32 total tackles. In his last three games, Monroe had 26 total tackles, five and a half tackles for loss and three sacks. The sophomore from Hayward, Calif. had an incredible 15 tackles against La Verne (Nov. 3).
Cozine earned Second Team honors for the second time in three years. The senior from Culver City, Calif. ended the year as the team’s fourth leading tackler with 58 total tackles, including 41 solo stops. The nickel back had three and a half tackles for loss and led the team with six pass break ups.
The Defensive Player of the Year went to Jordan Garcia from Redlands while the John Zinda Award was given to Joshua (Yoshi) Rothman from Pomona-Pitzer.
Cal Lutheran finished the year 8-2 for the fourth consecutive year while also earning their fourth straight SCIAC championship and playoff-berth.