2021-22 Football Players of the Week

2021-22 Football Players of the Week

Players of the week are evaluated on their performance during the week prior to the announcement. Each player is selected out of a pool of conference and Association of Independent Institution's award winners.

Quick Find: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11

Week 1 (August 30, 2021)

Offensive Player of the Week: JD Woods, Banker (Kan.)

  Picking up right where he left off, Woods had four rushing touchdowns on Saturday and one passing touchdown, contributing to 30 of the team's 38 points on the day. With 140 yards rushing, Woods is now just 309 rushing yards away from the NAIA Career Rushing Yard Record.

Nominees: Nick Calzaretta, College of Idaho; Markell Lee, Florida Memorial; Chance Whitehead, Sterling (Kan.); Jordan Cooper, Waldorf (Iowa); Blake Fryar, Northwestern (Iowa)


Defensive Player of the Week: Dylan Martinez, College of Idaho 

  Martinez had a record-setting day against MSU-Northern, tying the C of I school record with 16 tackles - including 2.5 tackles for loss and a half-sack...added a key forced fumble and recovery late in the second quarter to stop a MSUN drive in the red zone...part of a C of I defense that held MSUN to just 23 total yards in the second half.

Nominees: Martin Rodriguez, Arizona Christian; Jerrod Williamson, Valley City State (N.D.); Devin Johnston, Ottawa (Kan.); Zack Kern, Missouri Baptist; Oswaldo Garcia, Evangel (Mo.), Jaden Snyder, Northwestern (Iowa), Christian Broaden, Lawrence Tech (Mich.), Philman Roundtree, Florida Memorial


Special Teams Player of the Week: Zachary Cahill, Eastern Oregon 

  Cahill was key on the kicking game for No. 18 EOU in its 26-24 road win over Montana Tech ... Was 4-4 in field goal attempts with 2 coming from 40+ yards out ... Also nailed both PAT attempts to finish the game 6-6 in scoring attempts ... Finished with 14 points and nailed what was the gamewinning FG in the final minute from 42 yards out.

Nominees: Kole Telford, Northwestern (Iowa); Nathan Hellig, Tabor (Kan.); Nathan Hamilton, Grand View (Iowa); Hunter Martensson, Louisiana College; Gavin Claud, Missouri Baptist; Nico Magana, Valley City State (N.D.); Marquise Thorns, Lawrence Tech (Mich.)


Week 2 (September 6, 2021)

Offensive Player of the Week: Joe Dolincheck, Morningside (Iowa)

  Ended just 10 yards shy of tying single-game passing yardage career-best ... Dating back to 2020 campaign, it was his sixth straight 300-yard-plus passing outing and 26th time in his 27 career appearances he's fired multiple touchdown strikes in a game ... His 461-yard effort ranks ninth among the best single-game efforts in program history.

Nominees: JD Woods, Baker (Kan.); Isaiah Wright, Union (ky.); Brandon Burgess, Georgetown (Ky.)' Kai Quinn, Eastern Oregon; Malik Nesbitt, Avila (Mo.); Jalen Pfeifer, Valley City State (N.D.); Jack Strouse, Keiser (Fla.); Brenden Lamb, Taylor (Ind.); Ronald Allen, Missouri Baptist; Austin McCullough, OUAZ (Ariz.)


Defensive Player of the Week: Jason Freeman, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)

  Jason Freeman was the main defensive stalwart for the Tigers on Saturday. Freeman accumulated 16 total tackles, including 10 solo tackles. Additionally, the Tiger linebacker sacked the Siena Heights' quarterback twice for 15 yards and gathered five tackles-for-loss for 24 yards.

Nominees: Mar'Quess Daniels, Central Methodist (Mo.); Kole Murlin, Siena Heights (Mich.); Tyquandrik Conner, Texas Wesleyan; MaCoy Yeakel, Waldorf (iowa); Damon Byrnes-Mitchell, Cumberlands (Tenn.); Ethan Hurst, Rocky Mountain (Mont.); Byron Fraley, Keiser (Fla.); Kwame Sexton, Sterling (Kan.); Ty Barbazon, Doane (Neb.); Teon Burroughs, Reinhardt (Ga.)


Special Teams Player of the Week: Nico Magana, Valley City State (N.D).

  Made a game-winning 40-yard field goal as time expired in VCSU's 35-32 victory at Concordia-Moorhead. Also made a 30-yard extra point to tie the game at 32-32 with 43 seconds remaining, one of two successful tries for the kicker. 

Nominees: Aaron Main, Kansas Wesleyan; Ian Sauter, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.); Taylor Soper, Marian (Ind.); Caden Davis, Faulkner (Ala.); Chance Gagnon, Keiser (Fla.); Christian Rodriguez, Midland (Kan.); Gregory Blaser, Texas Wesleyan; Nathan Hamilton, Grand View (Iowa); Jaiden Machuca, Eastern Oregon


Week 3 (September 13, 2021)

Offensive Player of the Week: Matt Struck, Southern Oregon

  Threw for 5 touchdowns -- becoming the first Raider to do so since 2014 -- and rushed for another in SOU's 42-7 win over MSU-Northern ... Completed 22 of 34 passes for 326 yards, connecting with eight different receivers, in his first start as a Raider.

Nominees: Josh Nelson, Bluefield; Ben Sherman, William Penn (Iowa); Clint Epperson, Texas Wesleyan; Ben Nixon, Cumberlands (Ky.); Landon Barnes, Bethel (Kan.); Rontavious Farmer, St. Thomas (Fla.); Gavin Esquivel, Iowa Wesleyan

 Defensive Player of the Week: Robert Carter, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)

  Robert Carter had a career day in the Blue Raiders 34-2 win over No. 4 Keiser. The senior tallied a career and program high three interceptions on the day adding another pass breakup. He also led the team in tackles with eight as five were solo.

Nominees: Brandon Tomerlin Jr., OUAZ (Ariz); Dalton Huffman, Culver-Stockton (Mo.); Kenneth Lowery, Reinhardt (Ga.); Cole Parker, Kansas Wesleyan; Christopher Williams II, Webber International (Fla.); Joe Caicedo, Montana Western

Special Teams Player of the Week: Anthony Bobb, Texas Wesleyan

  Bobb broke loose on an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown to make it a 35-14 game in the third quarter in a game-breaker for the Rams special teams unit. He totaled 86 yards of kick returns - with a long of 38 - and 114 punt return yards. 

Nominees: Ethan Olivas, William Penn (Iowa); Roman Newkirk, Ave Maria (Fla.); Caden Davis, Faulkner (Ala.); Kaivon Mortazavi, Avila (Mo.); Trip Holloway, Cumberlands (Ky.); Cesar Ruiz, Southern Oregon


Week 4 (September 20, 2021)

Offensive Player of the Week: Devodney Alford, Indiana Wesleyan

  Running back Devodney Alford lead the charge for the Wildcats in a upset over No. 6 Olivet Nazarene. Alford ran wild racking up 143 yards while finding the endzone on three occasions for a career high. In addition, Alford used his arm in the RedZone connecting with Charlie Hill for his first career touchdown. He also added 34 yards receiving on Saturday. Alford's performance helped the Wildcats take down No. 6 Olivet Nazarene.

Nominees: Cade Moser, Northwestern (Iowa); Isaiah Randalle, Kansas Wesleyan; Drew Boedecker, Dickinson State (N.D.); Tyler Thomas, St. Thomas (Fla); Tyler Ball, Missouri Baptist; Marcelous Chester-Riley, OUAZ (Ariz.); Nolan Chowbay, Bethel (Tenn.); Connor Perrine, Culver-Stockton (Mo.); Nate Simkins, Montana Western; Kade Young, Faulkner (Ala.)

 Defensive Player of the Week: Tanner Leaf, College of Idaho

  The two-sport athlete (also the starting LF on baseball team) had a huge afternoon in his first career start (at LB)...leading the Yotes with 10 tackles, including 4 tackles for loss and two sacks...had a TFL on a 4th down play to stop a SOU drive and added a sack on a 4th down attempt in the fourth quarter...is the first Coyote with 4 TFL's since the 2019 season...the 3 points allowed by C of I the fewest against SOU since 2011.

Nominees:  Gabe Whitmore, Concordia (Mich.); Elijah Hall, Texas Wesleyan; Devonta Brooks, Kansas Wesleyan; Pat Robinson, Culver-Stockton (Mo.); Tyler Wingert, Morningside (Iowa); Curtis Williams, Southeastern (Fla.); Malik Meadows, Faulkner (Ala.); Peyton Nigro, Saint Xavier (Ill.); Vonte Bates, Bethel (Tenn.); Gustavo Bonilla, Dakota State (S.D.)

Special Teams Player of the Week: Brandt Hixson, Saint Xavier (Ill.)

  Hixson busted a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, tied for the fourth longest return in program history, right after Siena Heights took a 7-3 lead midway through the second quarter. He finished the game with three returns for 124 yards and averaged 41.3 yards per return in his first game as the primary returner. 

Nominees: Marlon Pomili, Marian (Ind.); Zachary Cahill, Eastern Oregon; C'quan Jnopierre, St. Thomas (Fla.); Jakob Headley, Pikeville (Ky.); Samuel Petrin, Central Methodist (Mo.); Jared Quinonez, Midland (Kan.); Angel Sanchez, Tabor (Kan.); Reid Schratwieser, Reinhardt (Ga.); Kieran Woodley, SAGU (Tex.); Caleb Nielsen, Dakota State (S.D.)


Week 5 (September 27, 2021)

Offensive Player of the Week: Luke Barns, Southwestern (Kan.)

  Knocked off No. 15-ranked Avila University with over 300 yards passing and four touchdowns through the air, while completing 77.8% of his throws. He averaged 12.9 yards per attempt, threw no interceptions, and tossed a game-long pass of 47 yards. 

Nominees: Bryce Goggin, Southern Oregon; RaQuon Washington, Langston (Okla.); Jordan Cooper, Waldorf (Iowa); Jerson Jacques, Keiser (Fla.); Garrett Kettle, Benedictine (Kan.); Brandon Stuckey, Cumberlands (Ky.); Amari Venerable, Saint Xavier (Ill.); Johnny William, Marian (Ind.); Isaiah Wright, Union (Ky.)

 Defensive Player of the Week: Jonathan Morton, Pikeville (Ky.)

  For the second consecutive week, true freshman Jonathan Morton played brilliantly for the Bears on defense. Not only did he make eight total tackles (4 assisted, 4 solo), he also had one pass break up and a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown. This helped lead the Bears to a 59-0 win over Webber International. Morton now has a team-high 17 tackles this season over two games.

Nominees: Devron Sims, Wayland Baptist (Tex.); Jacob Denney, Saint Xavier (Ill.); Riley Gerhardt, Valley City State (N.D.); Coban Honey, Sterling (Kan.); Kole Murlin, Siena Heights (Mich.); Byron Fraley, Keiser (Fla.); Tyler Hallum, Reinhardt (Ga.); Mitchell Henry, Baker (Kan.); Drew Schuler, Southern Oregon

Special Teams Player of the Week: Riley Garrett, Rocky Mountain (Mont.)

  Garrett did it all on special teams this week. He made what ended up being the game deciding field goal midway through the fourth (and four extra points), had eight punts that averaged 41.1 yards (three inside the 20), and added a couple touchbacks on Kick off.

Nominees: Gabriel Medrano, Southwestern (Kan.); Kieran Woodley, SAGU (Tex.); Joshua Edwards, Georgetown (Ky.); Seth Burke, Union (Tenn.); Bryce Deguira, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.); Nico Magana, Valley City State (N.D.); Shane Mclnerney, Peru State (Neb.); Marlon Pomili, Marian (Ind.); Hunter Smith, Warner (Fla.)



Week 6 (October 4, 2021)

Offensive Player of the Week: Gavin Esquivel, Iowa Wesleyan

  Gavin threw for 8 touchdowns in our Homecoming game against Crown College on Saturday. This broke IW's previous school record for touchdowns thrown in a game, which was 7. That record was set by Dustin Dewald in 1991 when Coach Hal Mumme and Mike Leach were at IW.

Nominees: Tyler Thomas, St. Thomas (Fla.); Kade Young, Faulkner (Ala.); David Hutton, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.); DJ McGarvie, Concordia (Neb.); Ben Nixon, Cumberlands (Ky.); Jack Prka, Carroll (Mont.); Isaiah Randalle, Kansas Wesleyan; Daylen Taylor, Marian (Ind.); JD Woods, Baker (Kan.)

 Defensive Player of the Week: Zyan Bethel, Georgetown (Ky.)

  Zyan picked off UPike QB twice and both returned for touchdowns. The first came as he read the situation, swooped in and plucked it out of the air to race 24-yards and a 14-0 GC lead.  GC was held scoreless in the third as the Bears scored twice for a 31-14 game. They were on the move again looking for a 10-point, two-score game when Bethel altered the flow. He made his second interception of the game and returned it 70-yards to get the Tigers going again and put a dagger in the UPike rally.

Nominees: Alejandro Sanchez, Southern Oregon; Drew Bessey, Morningside (Iowa), Nicholas Engler, St. Thomas (Fla.); Riley Gerhardt, Valley City State (N.D.); Troy Hall, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.); Hunter Maynard, Concordia (Mich.); Quan Neal, Point (Ga.); Josh Seabolt, Bethel (Kan.); Scott Tumilty, St. Francis (Ill.)

Special Teams Player of the Week: Jalen Jennings, Marian (Ind.)

  Jalen returned three kicks and two punts against Taylor, racking up 176 yards in the return game while scoring his NAIA-leading third kickoff return touchdown of the 2021 season. The speedster ran back the opening kick of the second half 66 yards, and in the fourth quarter returned one 85 yards after a safety for a touchdown. Jennings is now Marian's all-time leader in kick return touchdowns, and is second all-time in program history in return yards.

Nominees: Jason Bachle, Hastings (Neb.); Shane McLaughlin, Southern Oregon; Harlin Brown, Cumberlands (Ky.); Chance Gagnon, Keiser (Fla.); Dillon Hester, Evangel (Mo.); Gabriel Medrano, Southwestern (Kan.); Jeremiah Paine, Dickinson State (N.D.); Alvin Renteria, Faulkner (Ala.); Jake Vance, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)



Week 7 (October 11, 2021)

Offensive Player of the Week: Anthony Sims, Morningside (Iowa)

  Set a new single-game program record for rushing touchdowns with six, five of which occurred in the first half ... Posted third successive multiple-touchdown outing as his 203 yards were the most ground yards for an individual since the final game of 2020-21. His record breaking day only took 12 touches as he busted out for a 16.9 average and a long run of 54 yards.  

Nominees: Ke'von Johnson, Roosevelt (Mo.); Billy Hall, Reinhardt (Ga.); Tyler Duncan, Arizona Christian; Nathan Dick, Rocky Mountain (Mont.); Cameron Dukes, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.); Joshua Jenkins, Ave Maria (Fla.); Xander Stokes, Indiana Wesleyan; Dominick Watt, Waldorf (Iowa)

 Defensive Player of the Week: Keagan McCoy, College of Idaho

  McCoy came up with two HUGE fourth quarter plays for the Yotes. He had a blind-side QB strip sack to end a Montana Tech drive (which led to a C of I touchdown)...recovered a fumble with 2:02 left, returning it 40 yards for a TD to cap the come from behind victory. Keagan tallied two solo and three assisted tackles. 

Nominees: Deavon Crawford, Dickinson State (N.D.); Hunter Maynard, Concordia (Mich.); Julian Bell, Roosevelt (Mo.); Matt Hernandez, Oklahoma Panhandle State; Victor Alvarez Jr., Keiser (Fla.); Caydren Cox, Concordia (Neb.); Gabriel Jacon-Duffy, Point (Ga.); Champ Leddon, Cumberland (Tenn.); Shane Rodriguez, Southwestern (Kan.)

Special Teams Player of the Week: Kendall Wilson, St. Thomas (Fla.)

  Wilson had a big day on special teams picking up two blocked punts and returning one for a 12-yard touchdown in St. Thomas' win against Webber International to improve to 6-0 on the year, the best start in program history. He also added a solo and assisted tackle. 

Nominees: Jaylen Boyd, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.); Aidan Quinn, Arizona Christian; Ben VonGunten, Indiana Wesleyan; Riley Garrett, Rocky Mountain (Mont.); Caleb Nielsen, Dakota State (S.D.); Caden Davis, Faulkner (Ala.); Logan DeMond, Bethel (Kan.); Bryce Deguira, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.); Dalton Tremayne, Midland (Neb.)



Week 8 (October 18, 2021)

Offensive Player of the Week: Frazzie Wynn, Doane (Neb.)

  Wynn rushed for a career-high 225 yards and four rushing touchdowns. He is the first Tiger to eclipse 200 yards and score four touchdowns on the ground since 2016. His longest run of the game was a 64-yard touchdown run on the first play of the 4th quarter. He scored the first and last three touchdowns of the game.  

Nominees: Nathan Herstich, Bluefield (Va.); Larry Harrington, Langston (Okla.); Drew Boedecker, Dickinson State (N.D.); James Christian, Cumberland (Ky.); Lorine Parker, Southeastern (Fla.); Daylen Taylor, Marian (Ind.); Amari Venerable, Saint Xavier (Ill.); JD Woods, Baker (Kan.); Thomas Yam, Southwestern (Kan.)

 Defensive Player of the Week: Noah Guse, Dakota State (S.D.)

  Guse had a monstrous defensive game for Dakota State (S.D.), sparking to a 24-10 upset victory over No. 15-ranked Valley City State (N.D.). He caught a total of three interceptions in the game, including a 'pick six' return for touchdown. Guse is one interception away of tying the all-time school record interceptions of 18 (set in 1988-91). Guse currently have 17 interceptions during his career at DSU. He also finished the game with three tackles and a pass break-up.

Nominees: Luke Bowman, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.); Marc Viechec, Southeastern (Fla.); Drew Boffelli, Grand View (Iowa); Damaris Herron, SAGU (Texas); Chris Johnson, St. Francis (Ind.); Hunter Maynard, Concordia (Mich.); Lane Napier, Concordia (Neb.); Josh Seabolt, Bethel (Kan.); Dylan Wampler, Montana State-Northern; Damarcus Wimbush, Bluefield (Va.)

Special Teams Player of the Week: Tom Gillen, St. Ambrose (Iowa)

  Tom Gillen kicked three field goals in St. Ambrose's 17-10 win at No. 12 Olivet Nazarene, upsetting the Tigers. The 47-yarder was a career long; he also successful kicked from 35 and 39 yards. 

Nominees: Tristan Connell, Southeastern (Fla.); Korrell Koehlmoos, Concordia (Neb.); AJ Bobb, Texas Wesleyan; Joey Dales, Bluefield (Va.); Isaiah Kludt, Dickinson State (N.D.); Aaron Main, Kansas Wesleyan; Shane Mclnerney, Peru State (Neb.); Ian Sauter, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.); Taylor Soper, Marian (Ind.)

Players of the Week full calendar

Championship Information

NAIA Football Championship


November 20, 27, December 4, 2021
Football Championship Series
Campus Sites

December 18, 2021
Durham County Memorial Stadium | Durham, N.C.