Last Saturday, the 2014 Union Football team was honored at the 17th annual John Speer Union College Football Banquet held at Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia.
The 21 seniors were recognized for their four years of hard work and devotion to the football program.
Head coach John Audino, who completed his 23rd season at Union, and the members of his staff presented a variety of awards.
Captain and running back Dylan Schuck ’15 was awarded the Richard E. Roberts ’50 Service to Football Award.
After missing the full 2013 season due to injury, Schuck rushed eight times for 25 yards and caught five passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. His coaches and teammates often counted on him to be a short yardage, goal-line runner to punch the ball into the end zone in key situations.
Linebacker Tyler Valenti ’16 took home the Chris Schmid Award. In nine games this season, Tyler recorded 27 total tackles and one sack for a loss of 6 yards.
Linebacker Andrew DeFilipis ’15 was awarded the Ronald F. Plumb ’80 Award. DeFilippis’ teammates often credited him with having an outstanding knowledge of the game and being an excellent leader on and off the field.
Tyler Murphy ’15 received the Trainers Award. A senior out of LaGrangerville, N.Y., Murphy is known as a big, strong and physical playmaker at the inside linebacker position for the Dutchmen.
The Most Improved Player award was given to defensive-lineman Tim Lucey ’15. As an explosive and effective player on the Dutchmen’s defensive-line, Lucey finished the year with 16 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.
Quarterback Dante Cioffi ’18 was honored as the team’s Rookie of the Year. After throwing for 1,008 yards on 74 completions and seven touchdowns this year, Coach Audino and his coaching staff will be looking to Cioffi to be an instrumental part of Union’s offense for the next few seasons.
Linebacker Nick Littas ’16 was awarded Jim Kochan Lineman of the Year. As a very physical player, Littas saw snaps at both the outside and inside linebacker positions and was an important part of the Dutchmen’s defense this season.
Running back Connor Kinzelmann ’18 was recognized as the Special Teams MVP. Kinzelmann returned 24 kickoffs for a total of 719 yards as the team’s kick-returner, while also rushing for 118 yards on 21 attempts along with a touchdown.
Fullback Kyle Kalanta ’15 received the Academic Award as the team’s most outstanding student-athlete.
Rounding out the award-winners for this year were Julian Gendels ’15 and Darnell Thomas ’15, as the Dutchmen’s Defensive and Offensive Most-Valuable-Players.
Gendels had 20 tackles along with two forced fumbles this season as a talented and physical leader on the defensive-line.
Thomas was Union’s leading rusher and most-effective offensive weapon, as he started in nine games and recorded over 1,000 rushing yards (1,102), seven touchdowns and caught 25 passes for 168 total receiving yards.