YUMA, Ariz. – Earlier this week, four players from the 19th ranked Arizona Western College football team were named to the All-WSFL and All-Region teams after the conclusion of the regular season. Offensive tackle Desmond Bland was an All-WSFL and All-Region First Team selection. On the defensive side of the ball, Tevita Otuvaka and Bryce Beekman were both All-WSFL and All-Region First Teamers, and Tobias Gilliam was named to the All-WSFL and All-Region Second Teams.
Bland, an NJCAA All-American in 2016, held strong on the left side of the offensive line. AWC had three running backs each gain more than 400 yards (Jadon Hayes, 634 yards; John Oliver, 553 yards; Kendon Walker, 407 yards), and the Mats ran for 21 touchdowns. Plus, the offense averaged five rushing yards per carry throughout the year.
On defense, Otuvaka provided the pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The sophomore had a team best four sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. He finished third with 50 tackles and broke up three passes.
Beekman tied for the team lead with three interceptions, and he played as the last line of defense at safety all season. The sophomore broke up two passes and added five tackles for loss. He also forced two fumbles and had 41 tackles.
Gilliam was the hammer on the back end of the defense. The sophomore transfer racked up 46 tackles and broke up seven passes (many of them clean hard shots that separated the receiver from the football). Gilliam also added 2.5 tackles for loss, one interception and one forced fumble.
The Mats are bowl eligible and qualified for the El Toro Bowl on Saturday, December 1 and 1:00 p.m. AWC (6-4) will take on sixth-ranked Lackawanna College (10-0) in an exciting showdown. Reserved tickets are only $10, and general admission tickets are $5!