The Midwest Conference announced the 2017 All-MWC Football Teams on Wednesday and 13 Lake Forest College players made the list, including MWC Offensive Skill Player of the Year Joey Valdivia.
Valdivia ranks second in the nation with 30 total touchdowns, 180 points, and 217.2 all-purpose yards per game and third with 26 rushing touchdowns and a school record 1,809 yards. He scored at least one touchdown in all but one of the team's 10 games and three or more five times. Valdivia also ran for 100 or more yards in nine games with five 200-yard performances. He finished his four seasons as the program record-holder with 4,170 career rushing yards, 6.7 yards per carry, 64 rushing touchdowns, 69 total touchdowns, and 414 points. He was also a First Team All-MWC selection last season and a Second Team All-MWC South honoree in 2015.
Six other Foresters were recognized as First Team All-MWC South players on Wednesday, including senior safety R.J. Pompey, who was listed as both a safety and special teams player for the second year in a row. Pompey tied for second on the team and 14th in the conference with 71 tackles on the year and he also recorded 6.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, four additional pass breakups, and a pair of blocked kicks. He finished his career with 215 tackles, including 14.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, and seven blocked kicks.
Joining Pompey as first teamers on the defensive side of the ball are sophomores Johnny Laponte and J.W. Windsor. Laponte, a linebacker, matched Pompey's 71 tackles, tied for the team lead with 8.0 tackles for loss, added 3.5 sacks, intercepted three passes, and forced a fumble. He had at least two stops in every game and reached double figures four times. Windsor made 41 tackles on the season from his nose guard position, including 3.5 tackles for loss, and added a forced fumble and fumble recovery. He had at least one tackle in every game and six or more four times.
Valdivia's fellow First Team All-MWC South selections on offense include three players who will be back for their seniors seasons next year in tackle Andrew Johnson, quarterback Jagan Cleary, and wide receiver Chris Edomwande. Johnson has been the team's starting left tackle throughout his career and was a First Team All-MWC honoree last season after earning Second Team All-MWC South honors in 2015. Cleary led the conference in completion percentage (65.6%) and ranked second with a 151.2 quarterback efficiency rating, third with 2,065 passing yards, and fifth with 19 touchdown passes. His completion percentage broke the school record he set last year and he currently fourth in program history with 5,407 career passing yards. He surpassed 300 passing yards in two games this season and completed three tochdown passes five times. Edomwande finished the season ranked third in the conference with 63 catches and 842 receiving yards and tied-for-sixth with seven touchdown receptions. He caught at least three passes in every game and had finished with at least 100 receiving yards three times.
Two of Johnson's teammates on the offensive line earned Second Team All-MWC South honors this season. Senior right tackle Tom Steen and junior center Ethan Sheirer helped the Forester offense set a team record with 452.2 yards per game and the 2017 team ranks second in program history with 37.0 points per contest. It was a balanced attack on offense with averages of 232.2 yards per game passing and 220.0 rushing, and opponents sacked Lake Forest quarterbacks just 14 times in 10 games. It was the second career all-conference recognition for Steen, who was a Second Team All-MWC South honoree his sophomore year.
Freshman wide receiver Chase Allen and sophomore tight end Noah Recker also earned Second Team All-MWC South honors on the offensive side of the ball. Despite missing the first two games of the season, Allen finished with 36 receptions for 428 yards and five touchdowns. Recker caught three passes for 15 yards and helped block for the league's offensive skll player of the year.
Second Team All-MWC South senior cornerback Trevor Bain and senior defensive end Hector Mendoza were also listed among the league's best for the first time. Bain led the team and tied for fourth in the conference with four interceptions and he added seven pass breakups and 46 tackles. He also served as the team's punt returner, averaging 10.4 yards per return. Mendoza, who moved to the line from linebacker before the season, finished with 44 tackles, including 7.0 tackles for loss, and led the team with 4.0 sacks. He also forced a fumble.
Lake Forest started the year with seven straight victories, matching the 1938 team for the longest single-season winning streak in program history, and finished 8-2 overall and 4-1 in MWC South Division play.