Those named to the First Team were all defenders, including junior inside linebacker Tom Caporale (Closter, N.J.), senior cornerback Joe Harasymiak (Waldwick, N.J.), and senior lineman Brian Hess (Kingston, Mass.).
Named to the Second Team were senior offensive tackle Nate Germain (Swanzey, N.H.) and sophomore kickoff and punt returner Jarred Burrell (Cranston, R.I.).
Named to the Honorable Mention squad were sophomore linebacker Jeff Creeden (Mansfield, Mass.) and senior quarterback Chris Sharpe (Derry, N.H.).
Sharpe was also named Springfield College’s Empire 8 representative for Sportsman of the Year.
Caporale not only led Springfield, but also the entire Empire 8, in tackles. He was credited with 97 overall, including 49 solos and 48 assists. He also had 1.5 tackles-for-loss for two yards, two interceptions for seven yards, four pass break-ups, and one forced fumble. The 5-8, 190-pounder was the heart-and-soul of the defense.
Harasymiak tied for the league lead with five interceptions, including two in the final game. His two interceptions in that 54-42 victory over Norwich allowed him to tie the Springfield College career record for interceptions with 17, tying Keith Sweeney’s mark from 1991 to 1993. Joe tied for 10th in tackles on the team with 25, including 21 solos. His five interceptions were good for 49 yards. He also had four pass break-ups.
Hess led the team and the entire Empire 8 in tackles-for-loss with 16 for 67 yards. That included three sacks for 14 yards. Overall, the speedy defender recorded 47 tackles, including 27 solo stops. He also had two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and one pass break-up. He finished as the team’s fifth-leading tackler.
Germain was Springfield’s lone offensive representative on either the first or second team. He played the right tackle slot, and was part of a line that allowed Springfield to rush for 316.1 yards per game, which, as of games played through November 10, was third best in NCAA Division III rankings, and tops in the Empire 8.
Burrell was also named to the Second Team for his Special Teams play as a kickoff and punt returner. Jarred was listed among the top kickoff returners in NCAA Division III play all year long. With 25 kickoff returns, he averaged 25.0 yards per return, including a long of 84. That is currently ranked 36th nationally. With 10 punt returns, he averaged 14.3 yards per return, with a long of 50.
Creeden finished as the Pride’s second-leading tackler with 79, including 37 solos and 42 assists. He also had three tackles-for-loss for five yards, one and a half sacks for two yards, and one pass break-up.
That brings us to Chris Sharpe, one of several outstanding quarterbacks in the QB-rich Empire 8. Sharpe’s credentials were tremendous, as were those of several others. Chris wound up leading the league by a healthy margin in rushing with his 1,360 yards, second-best rushing figure in SC single-season history. His 136.0 yards rushing per game figure was tops in the league and 11th nationally. Among QB’s in that category, he led the nation in Division III. He averaged 12.6 points per game and his 21 touchdowns both tied for fourth-best nationally. He finished as the eighth-best career rusher (4,152 yards), second-best career scorer (432 points), and second-best career touchdown-maker in New England Division III history. He was the first to surpass 4,000 yards in Springfield career rushing. His 4,152 rushing yards, 5,723 total yards, 71 touchdowns, and 432 points were all Springfield career records.
Yesterday, Sharpe was officially named to represent Springfield College and the USA in the American Football Coaches Association Aztec Bowl, an annual All-Star game played in Mexico between Division III All-Stars and the Mexican National Team. This year that contest will be played December 8 in Chihuahua, Mexico.