PASADENA — The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced its 2015 All-SCIAC Football Team on Monday and the University of La Verne led the conference in selections with 13, including the Coaching Staff of the Year Award.
Head coach Chris Krich and his staff guided the Leopards to their first SCIAC Championship since 1995 and the first NCAA Championship since 1994 while completing an undefeated conference schedule. La Verne led the SCIAC in 14 statistical categories.
Senior running back Travis Sparks-Jackson, junior wide receiver Alex Arellano; senior offensive tackle Juan Guerrero; junior offensive tackle Beau Kitson; junior defensive end Joshua Hardy; sophomore cornerback Eric Acosta; and junior returner/running back Dallas Parent were named to the First Team.
Senior quarterback William Livingston; sophomore offensive guard Christian Hernandez; senior linebacker Anthony Penalber; freshman defensive tackle Austin Brown; senior defensive end Michael Shepherd; and junior safety Connor Truhitte landed on the Second Team.
Travis Sparks-Jackson ran for 1,521 yards and 19 touchdowns this season. He surpassed the century mark on the ground in every game but one and scored a touchdown in every game this season. Sparks-Jackson also became La Verne's all-time leading rusher and leaves La Verne with 3,046 career rushing yards. Sparks-Jackson was named to the D3football.com Team of the Week on Oct. 6 after scoring a career-high four touchdowns and racking up 210 yards in a 48-27 win at Occidental.
Alex Arellano emerged as La Verne's primary aerial threat this season. He finished with 791 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Arellano was named to the D3football.com Team of the Week on Nov. 17 after going off for 223 yards and two touchdowns on 18 receptions in a 38-21 win over Cal Lutheran.
Juan Guerrero, Beau Kitson and Christian Hernandez were instrumental in paving the way for one of the most prolific offenses in the nation. The Leopards averaged 444.1 total yards and 256.4 rushing yards behind the offensive line. The trio, along with Grant Potter and Toronny Thomas, were named to the D3football.com Team of the Week on Nov. 3 after the Leopards amassed a season-high 421 rushing yards and scored seven touchdowns in a 49-42 win over Chapman.
Dallas Parent was one of the best all-purpose backs in the nation. He ranked 32nd nationally in all-purpose yards with 156.3 and was 23rd in combined kick return yardage with 692. Parent finished the season with 777 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
Joshua Hardy, who came in as a defensive back, broke through as one of the best defensive ends in the conference. Hardy finished with 22 tackles, including three sacks, and made big plays all over the field. He forced two fumbles, recovered one, broke up five passes and had a 70-yard pick-six in a 32-27 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Eric Acosta became one of the best defensive backs in the SCIAC with his tackling and ability to make big plays. He made a total of 44 tackles—38 of them solo—and had seven pass breakups in SCIAC play, which ranked 3rd in the conference.
William Livingston executed the offense with a steady hand all season. He rarely made big mistakes and finished the season with 1,727 passing yards and 12 touchdowns. He also flashed the ability to make plays with his feet, running for 102 yards and two touchdowns against Chapman. He added four touchdowns on the ground.
Anthony Penalber was the heart and soul of La Verne's defense and made plays all over the field. He finished the season with a team-high 78 tackles (12 for loss), 4.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries. He also had an interception in the NCAA Championship at St. Thomas (Minn.) that set up La Verne's first touchdown.
Austin Brown made an immediate impact as a freshman. He recorded 19 tackles (7 for loss), three sacks and two fumble recoveries.
Michael Shepherd was one of the top pass rushers in the SCIAC. His 5.5 sacks led the league and he showed a knack for making big plays, forcing two fumbles and returning one for a touchdown. He finished with 42 tackles.
Connor Truhitte who missed the final four games of the season with a injury, made big enough of an impact to garner recognition from the coaches. In six games that he played, he totaled 31 tackles, recovered a fumble, picked off a pass and broke up two passes.