Six Gusties Named MIAC Football First Team All-Conference

Posted on November 26th, 2019 by

(Photos courtesy of David Faulkner, SPX Sports.)

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference released its football postseason awards Tuesday and six Gustavus student-athletes were named First Team All-Conference – Brayton Finch (Sr., Mount Morris, Ill.), Zach Jakes (So., Mankato), Josh Kirk (Sr., Garvin), Brice Panning (Sr., Hamburg), Kaleb Scott (Jr., Gardena, Calif.), and Michael Veldman (Jr., Becker).

Second Team honors went to Avery Bachman (Sr., Saint Peter), Jake Boykin (Sr., Las Cruces, N.M.), and Gunnar Johnson (Jr., St. Cloud). Zeke Erickson (Sr., Clarks Grove), Matthew Montplaisir (Sr., Buffalo), and Blake Sikes (Sr., Valrico, Fla.) were named honorable mention.

Finch gains First Team honors after being the league’s top tight end. The senior caught 48 passes for 476 yards and seven scores, with all three marks being tops in the league at the tight end position. Following the 2019 campaign, Finch hauled in 118 passes in his career for 1,299 yards and 14 touchdowns

Jakes became a key piece on the Gustavus defensive line in his second year for the Black and Gold. The Mankato native led all defensive lineman in the MIAC this season with 53 tackles. The sophomore also led the Gusties with a team-best 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. Through two seasons, Jakes has totaled 80 tackles, 17.0 being for loss, and totaled seven sacks.

Kirk closed out his senior campaign with a bang, hauling in 58 passes for 1,136 yards and nine touchdowns. Kirk’s 113.6 yards per game were tops in the MIAC, while his 19.6 yards per catch were the most of any pass catcher with at least 25 receptions. He was named MIAC Player of the Week on Oct. 14, after he posted nine catches for 233 yards (second most in a single game in school history), including a 78-yard score with 14 seconds left to give Gustavus a 35-28 victory over Concordia on Oct. 12. Kirk’s 151 career catches put him fifth all-time in Gustavus history, while his 2,531 receiving yards are third.

Panning, like Kirk, posted the best statistical season of his career in 2019, catching 70 passes for 1,128 yards and 17 touchdowns. His 17 touchdowns were the fourth most in NCAA Division III in 2019, and tied the record for most single-season receiving touchdowns in Gustavus history. The Hamburg native was the only Division III player in the country to catch a touchdown in each of his team’s games this season. Panning finished his Gustavus career sixth in career receptions with 145, fourth in yards with 2,517, and third in touchdowns with 27.

Scott was Gustavus’ No. 1 corner back in 2019, consistently matching up with the opposing team’s top receiver. Scott made 27 tackles, including 1.5 for a loss of six yards. He also hauled in three interceptions, broke up nine passes, and blocked a punt. Scott was targeted 26 times this season, allowing just six completions for 59 yards over nine games. 

Veldman was the only Division III quarterback to throw at least three touchdown passes in all 10 games this season. He finished the year 219-of-319 (68.7 percent) with 39 touchdowns, ranking first in the MIAC, third in the nation, and set a new Gustavus single season record. Veldman’s 68.7 completion percentage is the top single-season mark of anyone to don the Black and Gold, while his 185.4 passing efficiency was best in the MIAC and fifth in the nation. He was responsible for 280 points this season, the second most in Division III, leading the Gusties to a program record 448 total points. His 3,188 passing yards were fourth in the nation and he also posted a top-10 completion percentage at 68.7 percent. In 29 career games at Gustavus, Veldman ranks third in pass yards with 8,084, first in touchdowns with 78, and third in completions with 584.

Bachman earns second team honors after posting 35 tackles this season, including 2.5 for loss to go along with an interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Boykin led the Gustavus defense this year with 61 tackles, making 2.0 tackles for loss. Johnson earns Second Team honors after blocking for an offense that set a school record with 448 points, and averaged 456.1 yards per game, which included 337.6 through the air and 118.5 on the ground.

As part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC also announced the 14th annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for football. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition. Gustavus’s representative is Jake Krull (Sr., Plymouth).

MIAC Release


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