August 24, 2019
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UMaine football players named All-Americans; coach earns AFCA honor

Ronnie Gillis | UMaine Athletics
Ronnie Gillis | UMaine Athletics
Manny Patterson (1) and his teammates run off the field in jubilation after the University of Maine football team beat Football Bowl Subdivision member Western Kentucky 31-28 at Bowling Green, Ky. in this Sept. 8, 2018, photo.

The season ended Saturday night for the University of Maine football team, but the honors continue to roll in.

Senior linebacker Sterling Sheffield and junior cornerback Manny Patterson have earned spots on the STATS FCS All-America team announced Tuesday.

Sheffield was selected for the All-America first team and Patterson earned a second-team spot.

Black Bear Deshawn Stevens also was recognized as a FCS HERO Sports Sophomore All-Americans, while teammate Liam Dobson was an honorable mention.

It also was announced Tuesday that UMaine head football coach Joe Harasymiak was chosen the America Football Coaches Association Region 1 Coach of the Year.

Sheffield, a 6-foot-2, 240-pounder from Mullica Hill, New Jersey, anchored a Black Bears linebacker corps that was among the best in the country. He registered 84 tackles on the season, and led the team in tackles for a loss (18) and sacks (9.5, tied with Kayon Whitaker).

Natalie Williams | BDN
Natalie Williams | BDN
University of Maine Sterling Sheffield (6) leaves the ground to tackle Bryant Bulldogs Matt Sewall (1) in first half at Morse Field in Orono Saturday. BDN Terry Farren

Sheffield previously earned an All-America second-team selection by The Associated Press and was an All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team choice.

Patterson was a neutralizing force at cornerback for UMaine. The 5-10, 180-pounder from Baltimore led the FCS in passes defended (25) and pass breakups (22), and made three interceptions. The All-CAA first-team honoree was in on 47 tackles.

Patterson and Sheffield were part of a UMaine defense that ranked No. 1 among 124 FCS schools in rushing defense (79.2 yards per game; 2.42 yards per carry) and fourth in sacks (3.36 per game).

UMaine’s defense was also third in turnovers gained (31).

Stevens, a linebacker who previously earned All-CAA second-team honors, was named to the FCS HERO Sports first team. The Toronto, Ontario, native led UMaine with 120 tackles, including 17.0 for a loss, and posted 9.0 sacks, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and an interception.

Stevens ranked third in the CAA with 8.6 tackles per game and was second in TFLs and fifth in sacks.

Dobson, an All-CAA second-team selection, started all 14 games at right guard and helped pave the way for 1,000-yard rusher Ramon Jefferson and allow only 28 sacks.

Harasymiak, in his third year directing the Black Bears, coached UMaine to the best season in program history. UMaine advanced to the FCS semifinals following postseason victories over Jacksonville State and Weber State.

It was UMaine’s first 10-win season since 2013, even after the Black Bears were picked eighth in the CAA preseason poll. UMaine won the CAA championship with a 7-1 league record.

The Black Bears, who went 5-0 at home in 2018, also registered a seven-game winning streak against ranked opponents, losing only to Eastern Washington.

UMaine’s memorable run included a season-opening 35-7 rout of archrival New Hampshire, a win over Football Bowl Subdivision participant Western Kentucky and a road playoff victory against Weber State.

Harasymiak previously was named the CAA Coach of the Year and the Gridiron Club of Boston Coach of the Year. He finished sixth in the voting for the STATS FCS Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year award.

STATS on Tuesday also revealed the finalists for Walter Payton and Buck Buchanan Awards, which will be presented to the top offensive and defensive player, respectively, in the division.

The awards will be announced at the STATS FCS Banquet and Presentation on Jan. 4 in Frisco, Texas, on the eve of the national championship game between North Dakota State and Eastern Washington.

Up for the Payton Award are senior quarterbacks Chandler Burks of Kennesaw State, Devlin Hodges of Samford and Easton Stick of North Dakota State. Junior linebackers Zach Hall of Southeast Missouri and Dante Olson of Montana and senior defensive end Derick Roberson of Sam Houston State are in contention for the Buchanan.

Defending FCS champion North Dakota State led the way with eight All-America picks, while Eastern Washington had three selections. The All-America Team includes 100 players from 61 schools and all 13 FCS conferences.

The Missouri Valley Football Conference had the most selections with 17, while CAA Football (12), the Big Sky Conference (11) and the Southern Conference (11) also reached double figures.



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