By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
An EKU player received one of the top individual honors and five other Colonels were honored when the Ohio Valley Conference’s annual football awards were announced on Tuesday.
But, for the first time in 50 years, no EKU student-athlete was selected as the top player at his position in the league.
The Colonels did not have a First-Team All-OVC selection this year. That had not happened since 1963 — the year before Roy Kidd took over as head coach.
Wide receiver Devin Borders was named OVC Freshman of the Year and five seniors — punter Jordan Berry, defensive lineman Anthony Brown, offensive linemen Travon Carter and Justin Meredith and linebacker Ichiro Vance — were all named Second-Team All-OVC.
The Colonels had five First-Team selections in 2012, seven first teamers in 2011 and three in both 2010 and 2009.
Four of the Colonels honored this season were All-OVC selections before.
Berry was a First-Team selection in 2011 and a Second-Team pick in 2010. Brown was a First-Team selection each of the past two years. Vance was a First-Team pick in 2011 and a Second-Team selection in 2012 and Meredith was a Second-Team selection last season.
Tennessee Tech’s Chad Zinchini was the First-Team All-OVC selection at punter this year, beating out Berry for that honor.
Zinchini led the league with a 45.9 yard per kick average, but a case could be made that Berry, who averaged 43.3 yards a kick, had a better all-around season and was more valuable to his team.
The Australian-born punter had the longest punt in the league (77 yards), had 18 kicks of more than 50 yards, placed almost half of his kicks inside the 20-yard line (28 of 60 punts) and had only four touchbacks all season.
Berry also completed a pass for 14 yards and had a 25-yard touchdown run on a fake field goal in a win at Southeast Missouri State.
Led by Berry, EKU’s punting unit ranked first in the OVC and fifth nationally (FCS) in net punting at 39.08 yards per punt.
Romano’s first start a short one
Redshirt freshman Kyle Romano made his first collegiate start in Saturday’s season-finale at Murray State.
The quarterback didn’t stay in the game long, though.
Romano took a hard hit on the Colonels’ second series of the game and did not return to the lineup.
Junior Jared McClain, who had started every game this season, was under center for the rest of the game. McClain completed 15-of-27 passes for 119 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed 18 times for 66 yards and was sacked four times.
Romano attempted just two passes, both of which were incomplete.
For the season, McClain completed 128-of-228 passes for 1,535 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also had a team-best seven rushing touchdowns and had 414 rushing yards — the second-most on the team.