Sirianni Named PAC Football Coach Of The Year; Six Presidents Gain First Team Honors Including Tim McNerney
WASHINGTON, Pa. -- Washington & Jefferson College Head Football Coach Mike Sirianni was named the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Football Coach of the Year for the fourth time during his career on Monday. Six Presidents earned First Team All-PAC laurels, including running back Tim McNerney (Butler, Pa./Knoch), and a total of 17 players garnered honors from the conference.
McNerney, seniors Ian Hennessy (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and Nathan Melhorn (Salineville, Ohio/Southern Local) and juniors Zach Wildey (Connellsville, Pa./Connellsville), Alex Baroffio (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) and Eric Eberle (Mifflintown, Pa./Juniata) were all first-team honorees.
Second-team selections included senior John Watts (St. Johns, Fla./Jacksonville University) and juniors Andrew Pingitore (Cassadaga, N.Y./Cassadaga Valley), Dion Wiegand (Pittsburgh, Pa./Keystone Oaks) and B.J. Monacelli (Cassadaga, N.Y./Cassadaga Valley).
Sirianni owns a 93-20 (.823) record in his 10th year at W&J and ranks fifth among active head coaches among all NCAA divisions in winning percentage. This fall, Sirianni led W&J to its fourth PAC Championship and seventh NCAA playoff berth during his tenure. The Presidents will travel to Baltimore, Md., for a first-round game against Johns Hopkins on Saturday at noon.
McNerney was honored posthumously as a unanimous First Team All-PAC selection. McNerney ran for 461 yards and four touchdowns on 89 carries in four games before his tragic death on October 4. During his career, McNerney accumulated 2,336 yards and 30 touchdowns on the ground. Following its 31-14 victory over Waynesburg on Saturday, the team dedicated its 23rd PAC title to McNerney and his family in his memory.
Baroffio led the conference in receptions per game (7.4) and paced the Presidents in receiving yards for the second consecutive season with 655. On Saturday, Baroffio passed W&J Athletic Hall of Famer Ryan Silvis ’01 for fifth place on the school’s all-time receptions list with 174. His 74 catches this fall are the seventh-highest, single-season total in school history. A D3football.com Second Team All-Region choice last year, Baroffio is 19th in NCAA Division III entering the playoffs in receptions per game.
Wildey started all 10 games on the offensive line and has made 17-straight starts dating back to last season. Wildey led a Presidents’ offensive line that helped W&J average 365.8 yards and 25.6 points per game
Eberle connected on 30-of-31 extra-point attempts and 10-of-13 field goals, including a 3-for-3 mark from at least 40 yards. He is the first W&J kicker to make at least 10 field goals in a season since current Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl ’03 connected on 11 in 2003. His 44-yarder against Thiel was the longest by a W&J placekicker since Mike Evan ’97 in 1995. Eberle also ranked third in the league in yards per punt (37.2) and has sent five kickoffs for touchbacks.
Hennessy tied for the team lead with 82 tackles, the eighth-highest total in the PAC. He racked up 10 tackles for loss, including 2.5 sacks, and nine pass break ups. Hennessey also forced a fumble and recorded one interception.
Melhorn was the Presidents’ third-leading tackler with 76 stops and tied for the team lead in solo tackles (43). He posted 7.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage to go along with a pair of fumble recoveries and an interception. Melhorn owns a streak of 28 consecutive games with at least one tackle.
Watts and Monacelli represented W&J defenders on the second team. Monacelli led the league with 17 passes defended and grabbed a team-best three interceptions, including a key pick at Waynesburg Saturday to stop a drive late in the second quarter. He collected 49 tackles, while Watts made 28 stops, including five for loss. Watts was also honored on the Capital One Academic All-District squad last week.
Pingitore started all 10 games as a guard on the offensive line and is a veteran of 22 games during his career. Pingitore was one of the key blockers for Wiegand, who racked up a team-high 611 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Wiegand also caught 24 passes for 186 yards and one touchdown and averaged 22.7 yards on 15 kickoff returns (T-82nd in NCAA Division III).
Honorable-mention selections included seven Presidents. Seniors Hunter Creel (Industry, Pa./Western Beaver) and Mike Mastellino (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) and junior quarterback Matt Bliss (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) were offensive honorees, while seniors Zach DeCicco (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson), John Hunter (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and DeAndre Simmons (Fort Myers, Pa./Riverdale) and sophomore Jon Lowery (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny) were defensive selections.
Hunter tied Hennessy for the team lead with 82 tackles, including a team season-high 15 in the PAC-clinching victory over Waynesburg. He also tied for sixth in the league with 12 tackles for a loss.
Lowery is tied for 45th in the nation with 7.5 sacks, while Bliss is 92nd in the country with 218,4 yards of total offense per game. Creel is sixth in the PAC with 55.6 receiving yards per game, while DeCicco is eighth in the conference in passes defended (9) and fifth in tackles (58) among defensive backs. Simmons tied for the PAC lead with three forced fumbles.