After ending itsseason with an overall record of 7-4 and a third-place finish in the Pioneer Football League, 13 Drake football players earned All-Conference PFL recognition.
Fifth-year senior defensive end Dain Taylor received the greatest honor by being named the Pioneer Football League Defensive Player of the Year. Taylor’s successful season consisted of 49 tackles, 13.5 sacks, one interception and one touchdown. Taylor ended his Bulldog career 30th in total tackles, second in tackles for loss and third in sacks for a season.
After being named to four preseason All-American teams, Taylor met the high expectations set for him. In a standout game against Dayton, when he recorded a career-high 12 tackles, including three sacks, a safety and a blocked field goal, Taylor was named PFL Co-Defensive Player of the Week. Taylor also succeeded nationally by ranking third in tackles for loss, with 24 for 129 yards, as well as total sacks.
“Dain got defensive player of year in the conference, and I think that’s a result of our defense being so good,” Head Coach Chris Creighton said. “I’m really proud of him, and I know everybody else is as well.”
The All-PFL first team also consists of fifth-year senior running back Steve Platek, junior linebacker Tyler Moorehead and junior offensive lineman Evan Lawrence. Each had extremely successful seasons and contributed significantly to the overall success of the team.
Platek has earned first-team honors for the past three years and ranked ninth in the PFL in touchdowns with seven. Moorehead ended the season ranked seventh in the conference for total tackles for linebackers and 11th for total tackles in general. Lawrence, who earned honorable mention All-PFL honors in 2009, also contributed to the team’s success with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in a win over Butler.
The team’s overall success had a lot to do with players being recognized, according to Creighton.
“With all-conference recognition I’ve always believed, and I think it’s a reality, that the better you are the more guys that get honored,” he said. “I know all of our guys know that their individual rewards are a result of team success. We just all really believe that.”
Senior offensive lineman Stephen Flynn, fifth-year senior defensive lineman Andrew Asbell and fifth-year senior linebacker Ben Morrison were named to the All-PFL second team. Following an impressive game against San Diego, in which Morrison returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown and had three tackles, Morrison was named PFL Co-Defensive Player of the Week. Asbell returned to the field this year after an injury sidelined him last year, and had 27 total tackles and four sacks.
Six Drake players were selected as PFL honorable mention recipients. Recipients include junior wide receiver Drew Blackmon, junior quarterback Mike Piatkowski, junior defensive lineman John Sawhill, fifth-year senior defensive lineman Josh Walkup, senior defensive back Mike Lahart and senior punter Billy Janssen. Lahart also earned an honorable mention as a return specialist.
Drake Football Postseason Accolades
PFL Defensive Player of the Year
Dain Taylor, senior, defensive end
Highlights: Third in country in sacks (13.5) and tackles for loss (24)
All-PFL first team
Steve Platek, senior, running back
Evan Lawrence, junior, offensive lineman
Tyler Moorehead, junior, linebacker
All-PFL second team
Stephen Flynn, senior, offensive lineman
Andrew Asbell, senior, defensive end
Ben Morrison, senior, linebacker
All-PFL honorable mentions
Drew Blackmon, junior, wide receiver
Mike Piatkowski, junior, quarterback
John Sawhill, junior, defensive tackle
Josh Walkup, senior, defensive lineman
Mike Lahart, senior, cornerback
Billy Janssen, senior, punter
Lahart, return specialist
Compiled by Matt Moran