OGDEN, Utah --- Fourteen Sacramento State football players were named to the all-Big Sky Conference team, it was announced today. The list featured four players who were named to the second team and 10 players who received honorable mention.
Like through much of the season, the defense led the way for the Hornets as eight of the 14 selected were from that side of the ball. That total included all four second team selections.
Senior Tyson Butler, juniors Dallas Mauga and Brent Webber and sophomore Cyrus Mulitalo were each named to the second team. A four-year veteran, Butler finished second on the team with 78 total tackles this season. A native of Atwater, Calif., he earned honorable mention accolades last season. The linebacker finished his career with 202 tackles which ranks seventh in school history.
Mauga made a major impact in his first season with the team. A native of San Diego who transferred from Grossmont JC, Mauga tallied 40 tackles, including nine for loss in his 10 games. The junior started all of his games at defensive tackle and helped clear the way for Mulitalo’s career year at middle linebacker. Mauga’s best game came against Montana State where he had nine stops, 4.5 tackles-for-loss, and two sacks.
Webber finished second in Div. I-AA and led the Big Sky with six interceptions (0.60 per game) during the season. He was also fifth on the team with 56 tackles. Five of his interceptions came in a four-game span. That streak included two interceptions in the win over Weber State. A native of Sanger, Calif., Webber had been named honorable mention following his first two seasons.
Mulitalo enjoyed a breakout season for the Hornets. A starter at middle linebacker in all 11 games, Mulitalo ended the year with 120 total tackles which led the Big Sky and ranked 10th in Div. I-AA. His total was the most for a Div. I-AA player west of the Mississippi River. He also accumulated a team-high 11.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery. His biggest game came against Northern Colorado where he recorded 21 tackles which ranks second in school history. The San Lorenzo, Calif., native also saw some action in the offensive backfield, carrying the ball four times for 10 yards and a touchdown.
Mike Brannon, Tony DeMonaco, Brett Shelton, James Henderson and Jody Johnson were the five defensive players to earn honorable mention. All three players started every game and helped Sacramento State to one of its best defensive seasons in recent memory. Brannon led the defensive line with 54 tackles, including 11 for loss. He also paced the team with six sacks and had two interceptions, which trailed only Webber. The honorable mention was the second for Brannon in as many seasons. His 22 career tackles-for-loss already rank sixth in school history while his nine sacks are just 1.5 out of the top 10.
DeMonaco became the third member of the linebacking corps to earn all-conference honors. A senior from Walnut, Calif., DeMonaco had a career high 65 stops to rank fourth on the team. He also had 7.5 tackles-for-loss and two interceptions.
A two-time second team selection, Shelton was third on the team with 72 tackles. His career total of 238 ranks fourth in school history. With one year remaining, Shelton is just 68 tackles shy of moving into second place all-time at Sacramento State.
Henderson posted 26 tackles, including 6.5 tackles-for-loss in 10 games. He also ranked second on the team with four sacks and added an interception and a fumble recovery.
Johnson enjoyed his best year with the team, tallying 31 tackles in seven games. The junior started seven games during the season and finished with one interception and a team-leading seven pass break-ups.
The offensive accolades went to offensive tackle Jordan Hunter and quarterback Marcel Marquez. Despite starting just six Big Sky games before being injured Hunter was named to the team for the first time. While healthy, he started the first eight games of the year at left tackle.
Marquez took over as the starting quarterback in week three and finished the year with 1,910 passing yards and 10 touchdowns. His best game came at Idaho State where he threw for 396 yards and two touchdowns to earn Big Sky Player of the Week. He also threw for 336 yards at Northern Arizona.
The Hornets’ special teams featured three players who were named to the team. Punter Mitch Lively, return specialist Andre Taylor and coverman Calvin Robinson were each placed on the squad. Lively ranked third in the league and eighth nationally with an average of 43.45 yards per punt. His most impressive performance came at the Causeway Classic where he averaged 62.5 yards per punt, including a career-long 67-yarder. During the year, he had 18 punts over 50 yards and placed 12 inside the 20-yard line with only three touchbacks.
Taylor averaged 23.3 yards per kick return during his first season with squad. A starter at receiver as well, he led the team with three receiving touchdowns, tied for the lead with 28 receptions, and ranked second with 458 yards. His 862 all-purpose yards easily led Sacramento State as he finished with 239 more than his closest teammate.
Robinson recorded eight tackles on special teams during the year and was the team’s top performer on both punt and kick coverage.