Twelve football players from the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) were named All-West Region by D3football.com as recently announced by the organization.
The teams, selected in balloting by West Region sports information directors and D3football.com staff, were chosen from 270 nominations by Division III member schools. A total of 79 players were chosen. Players nominated for All-Region are eligible to be considered for D3football.com All-America honors, which will be announced the evening of Dec. 20, in D3football.com's pregame coverage for Stagg Bowl XLVII.
Four SCIAC players headlined the list of all-region honorees being named first teamed. Defensive tackle Elias Hackney and cornerback Jeff Hector represent Redlands, while Chapman linebacker Dillon Keefe and cornerback Obasi Dees of California Lutheran also earned first team all-region accolades. Additionally, Chapman head coach Bob Owens was named the West Region Coach of the Year.
Hackney, who was named a First Team All-SCIAC selection following the 2019 campaign, helped Redlands to a 9-2 overall record that was highlighted by an 6-1 record in league play. The Bulldogs earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship. Hackney registered 32 tackles (19 solo), and led the team in sacks with 8.5 to highlight 14 tackles for a loss. He also had two pass break-ups and a blocked kick.
Teammate Hector - a recent American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) First Team All-American - was also named First Team All-SCIAC. Hector collected 35 tackles, registered a sack, forced two fumbles, and picked off eight passes for 178 yards. He also led the team with 11 passes defensed as Redlands held its opponents to just 15.9 points per game, and 254.1 yards allowed per game (including a mere 52.7 rushing yards allowed).
Keefe - a Second Team AFCA All-American and the 2019 SCIAC Defensive Athlete of the Year and First Team All-SCIAC selection - earned First Team All-West Region honors. His 72 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and four blocked kicks all led the team. His four blocked kicks are tied for the fourth-most in Division III while his 0.95 sacks per game average ranks 23rd. Keefe's efforts helped drive Chapman to a 10-1 overall record that was keyed by a 7-0 unblemished record in SCIAC play as the Panthers secured the conference title outright and earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.
Rounding out the first team all-region honorees is Dees. A four-time first team all-conference recipient, Dees was named Second Team All-American by the AFCA. Dees has been a staple at the cornerback position, forcing opposing offenses to go the other way. When he was challenged, he led the defense with four interceptions which tied for the sixth-most in conference. The captain is 55th in the nation for interceptions per game (0.4) and added 30 total tackles.
Head coach Owens of Chapman was also named the D3football.com West Region Coach of the Year after pacing the Panthers to the outright conference title with a 7-0 record in SCIAC play and a 10-1 overall ledger in 2019. Under Owens' guidance, Chapman averaged 468.1 yards per game (237.0 rushing and 231.1 passing) en route to scoring an average of 38.9 points per outing. The Panthers' defensive allowed 365.1 yards per game including 288.6 passing yards while holding their opponents to just 76.5 rushing yards per contest and 24.7 points per game. Chapman earned the SCIAC's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Championship and posted a thrilling 68-65 triple-overtime victory over Linfield in the opening round of the tournament before falling to Saint John's (Minn.) in the second round. Owens and his assistants were also tabbed the SCIAC Coaching Staff of the Year.
Earning second team all-region honors was tight end Blake Roy of Redlands, along with tackle and guard Ryan Moles and Alex Waddell of Chapman, and return specialist Nico Ragas of the Panthers.
Bulldogs' placekicker Alex Raya was named to the all-region third team on offense, while Chapman defensive end Ricky Medeiros and cornerback Nathan Parkin, joined linebacker Ethan Pulley of Cal Lutheran on the all-region third team for defense.