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SIX OXY FOOTBALL PLAYERS NAMED ALL-SCIAC

By Michael Wells
Sports Information Director
 

LOS ANGELES — Six Occidental College football players — three on offense and three on defense — were named to the 2011 All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams on Monday.

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On the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers highly productive passing attack , that led the conference in yards per game and touchdowns, was rewarded for outgaining any other offense by more than 70 yards per game.

Matthew Tuckness (Alamo), whose 14 touchdowns led the conference and ranked fifth in the nation, was named to the First Team along with Luke Collis (Pasadena), the league-leader in touchdown passes.

Collis engineered three fourth-quarter comebacks and finished the season third in the nation in completions per game (27.44).

Ryan Rodriguez (Oakley) hadn't even played wide receiver before the season, but still managed to lead the league in receptions (67) and earned a Second Team selection.

Rodriguez was a backup quarterback until the coaching staff decided he might fit well as a receiver in the shotgun-spread passing game Oxy runs.

It worked out. Rodriguez had 749 yards receiving and eight touchdowns, a much bigger contribution than he would have made holding the clipboard and calling plays.

On the other side of the ball, defensive back Ayrton Bates (Long Beach) made the First Team after leading Oxy with five interceptions and three forced fumbles. Linebacker Greg Holsworth (Arlington, Wash.) and defensive lineman Casey Shibuya (Kahala, Hawaii) made the Second Team.

Bates had two picks in the fourth quarter against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and one interception against Puget Sound, La Verne and Pomona-Pitzer.

Statistically, it was not one of Holsworth's better season, but the Oxy senior was the leader of the Tigers defense and even filled in on offense at tight end when injuries limited Oxy's options at the position.

Shibuya played in eight games had 25 tackles and was tied for the team-lead in sacks (2).

Bates, Holsworth and Collis will graduate this May. The juniors; Tuckness, Rodriguez and Shibuya will be back in the Tigers' lineup next season.