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Cougars named to All-UMAC football team

The Upper Midwest Athletic Conference released its football all-conference teams on Thursday following the final week of regular season play. Four players from the University of Minnesota, Morris were selected for the first team, while another five were selected for the second team and four received honorable mentions.

Cougars named to the UMAC's first team include junior offensive lineman Theo Powell, freshman running back Robert Koranda, senior defensive lineman Nate Copeland, and senior linebacker Andrew Shay.

The five Cougars selected for the second team are senior wide receiver Matt Fragodt, senior defensive lineman Mike Burrows, freshman defensive lineman Mitch Zimmer, senior linebacker Blair Elliot, and sophomore defensive back Nate Lund.

Receiving honorable mentions were offensive linemen, sophomore Wyatt Nolan and senior Brandon Lorenz, as well as defensive backs, junior Corey Hemphill and junior Shane Fickes.

Northwestern College, with its second straight UMAC conference championship in 2008, was awarded the most first team honorees.

Northwestern also took three of the four top individual awards that are given out, including both the Most Valuable Player on offense and defense. Eagles' quarterback Zach Tarter, who earned Co-Offensive MVP honors in 2007, was chosen for the award again after passing for 804 yards and nine touchdowns in four conference games. Tarter, whose presence seems to affect the outcome of every game, finished the season ranked 7th in the NCAA Div. III for passing efficiency. The junior led Northwestern's come-from-behind charge in several contests.

Tarter's teammate Kyle Nash, a second-team all-conference selection in 2007, was awarded with first-team all-conference and UMAC Defensive MVP accolades. The sophomore linebacker was fourth in the conference for total tackles (36) in UMAC affairs while leading a defense that held opponents to 18.0 points and 276.8 total yards per game.

Crown College offensive lineman Josh Prokosch was honored as the UMAC Lineman of the Year, helping Crown post its second consecutive winning season. Prokosch, a senior, led a Storm offensive line that paved the way for the league's No. 1 scoring and passing offenses. Prokosch was also a first-team all-conference selection in 2007.

After guiding his team to an undefeated 4-0 UMAC record while earning the program's first NCAA Division III regional ranking, Northwestern head coach Kirk Talley was picked as the UMAC's Coach of the Year. In eight seasons with the Eagles, Talley, a 13-year UMAC veteran coach, has been selected for the award three times.

Following Northwestern's 14 first team selections, Crown received six first team awards, while Martin Luther College and the College of St. Scholastica had three and and two, respectively.