Friday, December 17, 2010

Eric Czerniewski Wins 2010 Harlon Hill Trophy as Division II Football Player of the Year

FLORENCE, Ala. --  University  of Central Missouri senior quarterback Eric Czerniewski claimed the Harlon Hill Trophy Friday  as  the 2010 Division II College Football Player of the Year.
Czerniewski received  164 total points and held a slim six-point margin over West Liberty (W.V.) University's Zach Amedro in the closest voting in the 25-year history of the award.

Amedro finished  second in the voting for the second straight year, this time by just six points with a 158 total.  Northwest Missouri State University senior quarterback Blake Bolles was third with 64 points.
The award winner is determined in voting by the Division II sports information directors and was presented in front of a crowd of 400 at the 25th  annual Harlon Hill Trophy award banquet at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center.

The Harlon Hill Trophy is sponsored  by the City of Florence, Florence-Lauderdale Tourism, Opti-Net, Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa and Herff Jones.

Czerniewski, a senior from Montgomery City, Mo., received 35 first-place votes in the balloting to 34 for Amedro.

Czerniewski is the first quarterback to win the award since Jimmy Terwilliger in 2005, snapping a streak of four consecutive running backs selected.

Czerniewski had previously been selected as the Daktronics Division II Offensive Player of the Year and first-team All-American quarterback by Daktronics and the American Football Coaches Association.
He set Division II records this season with 5,207 passing yards, while also leading the nation with 5,203 yards of total offense and 46 touchdown passes.

He threw for more than 300 yards 10 times this season and completed 66 percent of his 670 pass attempts. His efforts led Central Missouri to an 11-3 record, a number eight national ranking and into the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs.

Selected Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year, Czerniewski was also first-team All-MIAA quarterback, first-team Daktronics Super Region 4 quarterback and Super Region 4 Offensive Player of the Year.

Czerniewki shattered every school and conference passing record for a season and career and finished his career with 12,847 passing yards, 1,043 career completions, and 107 career touchdown passes.
His career passing yardage total ranks fourth best in Division II history.

Following Czerniewski, Amedro and Bolles in the voting were sophomore quarterback Bo Cordell of Tusculum (51), sophomore quarterback Mitchell Gale of Abilene Christian (47), freshman running back Franklyn Quiteh of Bloomsburg (45), senior running back Phil Milbrath of Michigan Tech (32), junior quarterback Clay Garcia of the Colorado School of Mines (25) and senior quarterback Nick Hardesty of Henderson State (20).

Amedro, a senior from Moundsville, W.V., was also a Hil finalist in 2009 and is the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year for the second tim.  This season he averaged 3.8 touchdown passes per game with 38 in 10 games. He completed 329-of-485 passes for 4,058 yards and averaged 32.9 completions per game to rank second nationally. Amedro was also second nationally in passing yards per game at 405.8. He is now the leading passer in NCAA Division II history, setting career records with 14,733 passing yards, 1,079 pass completions , 334.8 passing yards per game, 30 300-yard passing games, 29 300-yard total offense games ; 13 consecutive 300-yard passing games and 13 consecutive 300-yard total offense games.

Bolles, a senior from Lincoln, Neb., has helped lead Northwest Missouri State to a 12-2 record and into the semifinals of the playoffs this season. He threw for 3,846 yards and 30 touchdowns, completing 62.8 percent of his 459 pass attempts. He also rushing for 248 yards and five touchdowns. For his career, Bolles ranks among the most efficient passers in Division II history. He is Northwest Missouri's all-time leader in passing yards (8,668) and passing touchdowns (79) and has helped lead Northwest to an MIAA-record 46 straight conference victories.  Bolles had a 26-3 record as a starter and was 7-1 in playoff starts.

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The Hill Trophy is named for a former UNA player - Harlon Hill - who was a standout with the Lions from 1950-53 before going on to fame in the National Football League with the Chicago Bears.
North Dakota State quarterback Jeff Bentrim won the initial Hill Trophy in 1986, before Texas A&M-Kingsville running back Johnny Bailey won three straight Hill trophies from 1987-89.

Another North Dakota State quarterback, Chris Simdorn, claimed the 1990 award, followed by Pittsburg State's Ronnie West in 1991 and Ronald Moore in 1992, New Haven running back Roger  Graham in 1993,  Valdosta State quarterback Chris Hatcher in 1994, North Alabama linebacker Ronald McKinnon in 1995 , Truman State running back Jarrett Anderson in 1996, Bloomsburg running back Irvin Sigler in 1997, Emporia State running back Brian Shay in 1998 , Northern Colorado  quarterback Corte McGuffey in 1999, Valdosta State quarterback Dusty Bonner in 2000 and 2001, and Grand Valley State quarterback Curt Anes in 2002.  University of North Alabama senior quarterback Will Hall claimed the trophy in 2003. Colorado-Mines quarterback Chad Friehauf took the trophy in 2004, East Stroudsburg's Jimmy Terwilliger in 2005, Chadron State's Danny Woodhead in 2006 and 2007 and Abilene Christian's Bernard Scott in 2008. Wayne State (Mich.) running back Joique Bell won the 2009 Hill Trophy.

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