Eight ‘Dogs earn all-GLVC

Eight Bulldog football players received recognition from GLVC coaches when they were voted members of the 2015 GLVC All-Conference teams.

After finishing GLVC conference play with a 4-4 record, the ‘Dogs finished with a tie for fourth place in the conference standings. Following the completion of conference play, league coaches had the opportunity to cast their votes for the players they thought made the biggest impacts throughout the season. The ‘Dogs were awarded two first-team selections, four second-team selections and two honorable-mention awards.

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Redshirt junior offensive lineman Ethan Decker and junior defensive back Austin Zoda led the way for Truman State by earning first-team All-Conference recognition. This selection marked Decker’s debut as a member of an All-Conference team, and it continued Truman’s streak of three years with an offensive lineman on the first team.

Decker started 21 consecutive games as a Bulldog. Zoda earned the third all-conference honor of his career after being selected as a second-team member the past two seasons. Zoda finished seventh in the GLVC in tackles and led the Truman defense in tackles for the second year in a row. Zoda tallied 75 tackles during the 2014 season and improved upon this number, recording 95 tackles this year while also nabbing two interceptions, one recovered fumble and five forced fumbles. Zoda’s season high tackles for 2015 came during the season opener against Midwestern State University when he completed 13 tackles. Zoda will return next year for his senior season with the Bulldogs.

The Truman defense received more recognition with four other members picking up All-Conference attention. Sophomore defensive back Jordan

Brown and sophomore linebacker Ben Wellman were selected to the second team, as well as senior defensive lineman Nick Reichert. Sophomore defensive lineman Brian Craft also received credit as an honorable mention member. As sophomores, Brown, Wellman and Craft made their first appearances on the All-Conference teams.

Brown registered 57 total tackles on the year, six of those going for loss. Brown also collected two pick-six interceptions on the season, one of which went on to be the game-winning touchdown during the Bulldogs’ Oct. 17 win against the University of St. Francis.

Brown says committing himself to pregame preparation was the key to his personal improvement during the course of the year.

“I felt like taking time to watch film really helped me out,” Brown says. “It slowed the game down, and I was able to make the plays that I did because I didn’t feel rushed and I knew I did enough preparation throughout the week to trust myself out there.”

Brown says he thinks the overall success of the defense came from the ability of each team member to fulfill their role. He says his teammates hold each other accountable, and everyone does what is asked of them each week. Brown says last season’s senior leadership influenced this seasons’ leaders, some of whom are underclassmen. He says because everyone trusts each other, many players aren’t afraid to take responsibility and lead. Brown said because no one tries to stand out, the job always gets done.

Brown says although the team learned and gained experience this year, he is not fully satisfied. He says after receiving a preseason ranking of second place in the GLVC but finishing the season in fourth, he feels a chip on his shoulder and a greater understanding that his team needs to be better if it wants to achieve its ultimate goal of winning a conference championship.

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