DeLong and Van Wyck named all-conference selections

LA GRANDE – (Information provided by EOU Athletics)The Frontier Conference has announced its 2021 All-Conference Teams and special award winners. The Mountaineers were well represented with eight All-Conference selections and two Player of the Year winners.

Taking home Player of the Year honors were defensive linemen Sage DeLong and Chase Van Wyck. The dynamic duo were named Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Eastern Oregon Football has now produced 97 All-Frontier selections and six Players of the Year under the direction of Tim Camp. On defense, DeLong and Van Wyck became fourth and fifth Player of the Year selections under Coach Camp.

Along with the award, Van Wyck and DeLong were named First Team All-Conference. Also garnering First Team honors on defense was linebacker Solo Taylor. Earning Second Team honors were linebacker Hayden Brandon and defensive back Brennan Pope

Making First Team All-Conference for the Mountaineers offense was offensive lineman RJ Thorne. On special teams, Isaiah Thomas was selected to the First Team as a punt returner. Zachary Cahill was named Second Team All-Conference at kicker. Willie Camp was named the Champion of Character for Mountaineers Football.

Van Wyck is no stranger to the awards he has received as this is his third straight First Team All-Conference honor and second straight Defensive Player of the Year award. The Napavine, Wash. native was a key anchor on the EOU defense totaling 16.5 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks. Both totals were second on the team. He was also third in total tackles with 54 and had 31 be unassisted. He also forced one fumble, recovered two, and blocked a kick during the 2021 campaign. For his career, Van Wyck leaves EOU third all-time in career tackles for loss and sacks with 48.5 and 24.5, respectively. He also ranks 10th all-time in career total tackles with 246.

DeLong picked up his first career Defensive Player of the Year award and his third All-Conference honors, with all three being as a First Team member. Despite playing in just seven games, DeLong made an immediate impact. He was the team leader in both tackles for loss and sacks at 17.5 and 10.0, respectively. He was fourth on the team in total tackles with 52 and had 32 be on a solo effort. His 32 solo tackles were second most for the Mountaineers. DeLong leaves Eastern second all-time in career sacks and tackles for loss with 26.0 an d51.5, respectively.

Taylor is now a two-time First Team selection with his selection in 2021. The redshirt junior was one of the top tacklers for the Mountaineers totaling 78.0 on the year. His total was second highest, while his 52 assisted tackles led the team. He also tallied 4.5 tackles for loss and had a pair of sacks. In the secondary, Taylor broke up three passes this season and had one interception. He also forced one fumble and blocked a kick. 

Thorne picked up his first career All-Conference honor for Eastern. The redshirt-senior played a pivotal role in the trenches for the Mountaineers. He helped guide an EOU offense that averaged 93.8 yards rushing per game and 191.0 yards passing per game. His work up front helped the Mountaineers average 284.8 yards per game.

Brandon’s Second Team All-Conference honor is the first of his career. In his redshirt sophomore season, Brandon led the defense in total tackles with 82.0. He was split down the middle in tackles with 41 being unassisted and assisted, respectively. His 41 solo tackles were also the highest on the team. Brandon ranked third in tackles for loss with 7.5 and a sack on the year.

Like Brandon, Pope picked up his first career All-Conference accolade this season to wrap up his EOU career. Pope was one of the top cover corners for the Mountaineers this year breaking up a team-high eight passes to go along with one interception. He finished with 34.0 total tackles and had 21 be on a solo effort. Pope also had 2.0 tackles for loss, a sack, and recovered one fumble.

Thomas picks up his second straight First Team All-Conference honor on special teams and fourth overall. He was named first team at kick return and punt return last season along with being a second team selection on offense. This year, Thomas handled all of the punt returns for the Mountaineers. He pulled in 16 punts for a return of 193 yards and averaged 12.06 yards per run. His longest return was 62 yards against Rocky Mountain College. He also led the team in receiving yards and receptions at 555 and 39, respectively.

For Cahill, this is his fourth All-Conference selection. He was named a second team selection in 2019 at punter, was a first team pick at kicker and second team pick at punter in 2020, and now has been tabbed a second team selection at kicker this year. In the kicking game, Cahill nailed 12 field goals this season, which is tied for third most in the NAIA. He was also a perfect 18-18 in extra point attempts. Cahill’s longest field goal this season came from 48 yards out. He also handled kickoff duties totaling 20 kicks for 1063 yards. He averaged 53.2 yards per kick and had just five touchbacks. Scoring wise, Cahill finished with 54 points.