Viking Football Puts 18 on All-Division Team

Posted November 21, 2016

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Marshall, Mo. (November 21, 2016)- The No. 11 Missouri Valley College football team put 18 of its student-athletes on the 2016 Heart of America Athletic Conference All-Southern Division Team.  Seven Vikings were first team selections, led by Senior Linebacker Stephen Thayer (Manteca, Calif.) who was named the division’s Defensive Co-Player of the Year.


Thayer earned his first team selection and individual honor after setting the program’s single-season tackle record with 111 total tackles.  Thayer also led the division, and was fifth in the NAIA, in tackles-for-loss (21.5), finished second in the division, and seventh in the NAIA, in total sacks (11) and was fourth in the division in fumbles forced (2).  Thayer also earned an honorable mention all-conference selection following the 2014 season.


The other six first team all-division selections included Junior Defensive Lineman Justin Aguilar (Merced, Calif.), Junior Defensive Lineman Kyrton Kilgore (St. Louis, Mo.), Junior Defensive Back Jahwaun Cassidy (Hannibal, Mo.), Senior Defensive Back Justin Gallegos (San Francisco, Calif.), Junior Wide Receiver Dorian Stanard (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and Sophomore Offensive Lineman Troy Jones (St. Louis, Mo.).


Kilgore finished the season third on the team in total tackles (49), second in tackles for loss (8.5) and second in sacks (4.5).  Kilgore was a first team all-division selection in 2015 and a third team all-conference choice in 2014.


Aguilar finished the season seventh on the team in total tackles (36), third in tackles for loss (8) and third in sacks (3).


Gallegos ended the season fourth on the team in total tackles (46).  He also led the team, was second in the division and No. 12 in the NAIA, with five interceptions.


Cassidy led the team, and was second in the division, with 14 passes defensed.  He also finished with 28 total tackles. 


Stanard finished the season second on the team in total receptions (40), was second in the division in total receiving yards (860) and finished third on the team with 1004 all-purpose yards.  Stanard was also a first team all-division selection in 2015.


Jones led an offensive line that helped Missouri Valley average 29.7 points per game and 411 total offensive yards per game. 


Nine student-athletes were named to the all-division second team.  Those selections include Freshman Quarterback Jake Bridges (Park Hills, Mo.), Freshman Running Back Kenny Sanford (Hilliard, Ohio), Freshman Offensive Lineman Jay Atherton (Rolla, Mo.), Freshman Defensive Lineman Myles Campbell (Miami, Fla.), Senior Linebacker Ricky Williams (Florida City, Fla.), Junior Linebacker Jake King (Blue Springs, Mo.), Junior Defensive Back Jonathan Battle (Bartow, Fla.), Junior Defensive Back Nate Desemone (St. Charles, Mo.) and Freshman Punt Returner Justin Heiser (Kaiser, Mo.).


Bridges finished second in the division in total offense (3135 yards), third in total passing yards (2777) and second in pass efficiency (171.4).  He also finished second on the team with nine total touchdowns.


Sanford ended the season second in the division in rushing yards per game (99), third in total rushing yards (1099), third in all-purpose yards (1370) and led the team in touchdowns (13).


Heiser led the team with 123 punt return yards and one return touchdown this season.  He also added 69 kick return yards.


King finished second on the team in total tackles (82), and added 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.  He was a second team all-conference choice in 2014 and a first team all-division selection last season.


Campbell finished the season with 28 total tackles, two tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks.


Williams had 33 total tackles, 4.5 tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks.  He was also a second team all-conference selection in 2014 and an honorable mention choice in 2015.


Desemone tied for the team lead, was second in the division and No. 12 in the NAIA, with five interceptions.  He also finished sixth on the team with 36 total tackles.


Battle ended the team with 21 total tackles, five passes defensed and one interception.


Two Vikings were recognized as honorable mention selections, both on offense.  Senior Fullback Cody Hendricks (Hollister, Calif.) and Senior Wide Receiver Jacoby Bellard (Beaumont, Texas). 


The Missouri Valley football team finished the season with a 9-3 record, including a 4-1 record in the Heart Southern Division.  The team also made its fifth appearance in the NAIA Football Championship Series in the past six seasons.



About Missouri Valley College

Known for its dynamic, richly diverse, and friendly educational environment, Missouri Valley College offers many opportunities to grow in mind, body, and spirit. Grounded in the liberal arts, undergraduate studies empower students to master interdisciplinary skills needed to succeed in a knowledge-based global society. MVC offers over 30 academic programs, study abroad program, extracurricular activities, and 13 sports. The most popular majors include education and business, criminal justice and exercise science. Above all, Valley is committed to student success. For more information, call (660) 831-4000 or visit


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