New Hampshire Football Report

Ivy names Teevens top coach

HANOVER — The Ivy League announced its all-conference football teams as selected by the league’s coaches Tuesday, and 20th-ranked Dartmouth had six players named to the first team and a total of 16 All-Ivy League honors. The conference also unveiled the Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year awards with Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens earning the latter honor for the first time since its inception five years ago.

Teevens, one of 15 finalists for the Eddie Robinson Award given to the top FCS coach in the nation, guided the Big Green to their league-record 19th Ivy title — and fourth in his 20 years at the helm — with a 6-1 record in conference play and 9-1 overall mark. With the title-clinching, 29-23 triumph at Brown on the final day of the season, Teevens also surpassed the namesake of his position, Bob Blackman, as Dartmouth’s winningest head coach with 105 victories. Over the past five seasons, Dartmouth has posted a 9-1 record three times while earning two Ivy League crowns, and its 47 wins over the last six years are six more than any other Ancient Eight team.

The 16 All-Ivy selections for Dartmouth tied Princeton for the most honors by any team, while the Big Green had the most first-team honors and tied for the most on the second team (7) with the co-champion, Yale.

Five of the six first-team honorees came on the defensive side of the ball as Dartmouth finished the regular season second in the country in fewest points allowed (12.4). Both cornerback Isiah Swann and linebacker Jack Traynor — the captains of the team — were unanimous choices with linebacker Nigel Alexander and linemen Niko Lalos and Jackson Perry joining them. The lone Big Green first-teamer on offense was lineman Zach Sammartino.

A 6-0, 195-pound senior from Queen Creek, Arizona, Swann is also a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, bestowed upon the top defensive player in the FCS, a year after earning unanimous All-America honors and the Bushnell Cup as the league’s top defender. Despite missing the first three games, Swann still managed to lead the Ivy League with 15 passes defended and four interceptions, including two pick-sixes to give him four in his career, setting a Dartmouth record. Swann, a unanimous all-conference selection for a second straight year, also collected 31 tackles and finished his career with 17 interceptions, another Big Green record that rates fourth all-time in the Ivy League.

Traynor wrapped up a terrific Dartmouth career with his third consecutive unanimous All-Ivy selection. A native of Lake Forest, Illinois, the 6-0, 230-pound fifth-year senior led the Green with 75 tackles, third most in the circuit, with 4.5 going for a loss including an assisted sack. Traynor also returned a pair of interceptions for 93 total yards, one of which went for a touchdown, plus recovered two fumbles, returning one of those 17 yards for a touchdown as well. A two-time member of the Division I All-New England Team, FCS ADA Academic All-Star Team and Academic All-Ivy League Fall Team thus far, he finished his Dartmouth career 11th all-time with 270 tackles, 16 going for a loss with 1.5 sacks to his credit.

Right behind Traynor with 69 tackles to rank fifth in the league was Alexander, who joined Traynor to make up the most potent linebacking duo in the Ancient Eight. A 6-1, 225-pound senior, the native of Orlando, Florida, recorded at least five stops in nine of the 10 contests with a season-high 12 in conference victories over both Penn and Columbia. Five of his tackles went for a loss, second most on the squad, and he also broke up a pass in the end zone against Cornell.

An honorable mention a year ago, Lalos was solid all season but came on strong late in the year, being named the league’s Defensive Player of the Week twice in the last three weeks. The senior from Akron, Ohio, ranked fourth in the league with 5.5 sacks and seventh with 10.0 tackles for a loss and a total of 35 stops. He led Dartmouth with eight quarterback hurries and utilized his 6-5, 270-pound frame to break up six passes and intercept another one, returning it 22 yards for a touchdown in the 27-10 win over Princeton at Yankee Stadium. Lalos is the only Ivy defensive lineman to rank among the league’s top 20 in passes defended (0.7 per game, 13th).

Perry picked up his second consecutive first-team honor and attracted plenty of attention from opposing offensive lines. The 6-2, 280-pound tackle routinely was double-teamed yet still was fifth on the team with 36 tackles and tied for third with 4.5 going for a loss with 1.5 sacks. A fifth-year senior from Las Vegas, Nevada, Perry also forced a pair of fumbles in wins over Colgate and Columbia, plus was credited with quarterback hurries at Harvard and Brown. He finished his career in Hanover with 103 tackles, 20.0 for a loss, and 7.5 sacks.

The lone returning starter on the offensive line, Sammartino was the anchor up front for Dartmouth from his spot at right guard. He started all 10 games and helped pave the way for the Big Green to lead the league in rushing (167.0 yards per game), fewest sacks allowed (14) and red zone conversions (83 percent). The 6-3, 295-pound fifth-year senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, also played a big role in the offense ranking fourth nationally in three statistical categories — completion percentage (68.1), third-down conversion percentage (52.1) and team passing efficiency (173.08).

The seven second-team selections included a total of six different players with Drew Estrada getting the nod at both wide receiver and return specialist. Joining him on the offense were quarterback Jared Gerbino and center Evan Hecimovich, while lineman David Chalmers, safety Ryan Roegge and cornerback Darren Stanley were recognized on defense.

Estrada was a playmaker for the Big Green, ranking fourth in the league with 822 receiving yards and second with eight touchdown catches. The 6-0, 190-pound native of Argyle, Texas, led the Ivy League and ranked 13th nationally in all-purpose yards (137.1 per game). The senior’s 17.0 yards per punt return was also fourth among FCS players, with one being an 87-yard touchdown, the second-longest return in Dartmouth history.

Gerbino, making the second team for a second straight year, was a dual threat behind center for the Big Green this year, rushing for 368 yards and a team-high six touchdowns while completing 68.6 percent of his passes for 940 yards and nine touchdowns with only two interceptions. The 6-4, 230-pound senior from Rush, New York, finished his career with 1,496 rushing yards, the most by any Dartmouth quarterback, and 21 touchdowns, tied for fifth all-time at the school.

The Big Green did not miss a beat offensively with Hecimovich hiking the ball for the first time after converting to the position. A heady player at 6-2, 265 pounds, the junior from Lisle, Illinois, started every game, snapping the ball cleanly all year while opening holes up front for the runners and pass protecting for the quarterbacks to complete 68.1 percent of their passes.

Chalmers earned his second consecutive second-team selection and once again played a key role in the middle of the defensive line. The nose guard utilized his 6-4, 290-pound frame to clog up the running lanes while making 21 tackles, 3.5 for a loss this season. A fifth-year senior hailing from Leesburg, Virginia, he also forced a fumble and batted down a pair of passes at the line of scrimmage.

After being named honorable mention last year, Roegge patrolled the center of the field from his free safety position with aplomb once again. A 6-2, 195-pound native of Marietta, Georgia, the senior started nine games and recorded 30 tackles, one for a loss, broke up five passes and had a crucial strip and recovery against Princeton at Yankee Stadium inside the 10-yard line.

Although overshadowed by Swann, Stanley proved to be very adept in pass coverages as well, tying his teammate with 15 passes defended for the league lead with a per game rate (1.5) that left him seventh in the nation. Hailing from Conway, South Carolina, the 5-10, 185-pound junior claimed a starting role at cornerback in the middle of the season and broke up 14 passes — batting away four in a game twice — to go with one interception and 23 tackles.

Three Big Green players also earned honorable mention: senior wide receiver Hunter Hagdorn who caught 38 passes for 492 yards and five touchdowns, plus finished his career as the sixth Dartmouth player with 2,000 receiving yards in a career (2,015); junior tight end Jake Guidone, recognized as one of the league’s best blockers at the position; and hard-hitting strong safety Niko Mermigas, a junior who was fourth on the team with 47 tackles, one for a loss, with five pass breakups, one interception and a forced fumble to his credit.

The Rookie of the Year went to Harvard freshman running back Aidan Borguet, who finished seventh in the league in rushing with seven touchdowns on the ground. The offensive and defensive finalists for the Bushnell Cup, the Ivy League’s Player of the Year awards, will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 3, with the winners being unveiled at the Mercury Ballroom of the New York Hilton Midtown in conjunction with the National Football Foundation at 12:30 p.m. (EST) on Monday, Dec. 9.

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