Central’s Hawkins, McMartin headline all-league football picks

Central College Quarterback Blaine Hawkins threw for 1,896 yards in the 2018 season. (photo courtesy of Central College)

PELLA—After leading Central College to a share of the American Rivers football title, quarterback Blaine Hawkins (junior, Ankeny) was named the league’s offensive player of the year Tuesday.

Central’s Jeff McMartin was tabbed as the coach of the year. Coe College senior linebacker Logan Rickard was the defensive MVP.

Hawkins is among 10 Central players to receive all-league honors, including five first-team picks.

Central posted a 7-1 league mark to share a record 31st conference crown and its first since 2009. The Dutch are 10-1 overall heading into a second-round NCAA Division III playoff game at Wheaton College (Ill.) Saturday.

Other first-team selections include defensive lineman Blade Durbala (junior, Blairstown, Benton HS), linebacker Tate O’Tool (senior, Fort Dodge, St. Edmond HS), offensive tackle Cody Smith (senior, Orland Park, Ill., Carl Sandburg HS) and kicker Jon Alberts (senior, Huntley, Ill.).

Named to the second team were free safety Brayden Egli (sophomore, Saint Charles, Interstate 35 HS), running back Jason Hopp (sophomore, Earlham), wide receiver Erik Knaack (junior, Reinbeck, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS), offensive guard Josh Mayhew (junior, Aurora, Ill., West Aurora HS) and punt returner Hunter Robinson (senior, Lisbon). Linebacker Connor Lewin (senior, Stillman Valley, Ill.) received honorable mention.

Hawkins is the 16th Central player to receive league MVP honors. The award was split into offensive and defensive player of the year awards in 2010. He’s the first Dutch player cited since defensive lineman Danny Samson in 2013.

In eight league games, Hawkins completed 162 of 246 passes (65.9%) with 11 interceptions and 29 touchdowns, gaining 2, 217 yards. He also rushed for 440 yards on 89 carries with seven touchdowns and was the conference total offense leader with 2,657. It’s the second straight year he’s gained first-team all-conference distinction after receiving honorable mention in 2017 as a freshman.

McMartin, in his 16th season, was cited for the fourth time (2005, 2006, 2007, 2019). He’s piloted Central to at least a share of five conference crowns. Also honored were Dutch assistants Ryan Maiuri (offensive coordinator), Nick Mulder (defensive coordinator), Jeff Bollard, Logan Emendorfer, Cody Huisman, Eric Jones, Seth Marburger, Austin Mercer, Matt Paulsen, Kyle Pepper, Jeff Sanger, Austen Schueler and Drew Sikkink.

Alberts received first-team honors for the third time. Smith moved up to the first team after gaining second-team recognition last year. The other Dutch selections were first-time honorees. Central had four seniors cited, along with four juniors and two sophomores.