Mandas and Rogers Earn All-NEC First Team Honors: Embler on Second Team
The Sacred Heart football team had three Pioneers secure a spot on a NEC All-Conference team as Chris Mandas (Mission Viejo, CA), Chris Rogers (Cazenovia, NY), and Justin Embler (Cinnaminson, NJ) all received recognition in a vote of the league's head coaches. The trio helped the Pioneers defy odds and become a program on the rise after being picked to finish eighth in the NEC preseason poll.
Mandas validated his preseason All-NEC selection throughout 2011, pacing Sacred Heart and ranking second in the league with 112 tackles. The senior linebacker was top in the Northeast Conference with 18.5 tackles for a loss. Mandas also made a habit of getting to the quarterback, finishing his final year in red and white with 8.0 sacks, third in the circuit. Mandas' 112 tackles will him in the Pioneer record book with the sixth highest single season mark in program history.
Rogers earned his spot on the All-NEC first team as the only place kicker in Division I's FCS to hit a perfect 100 percent of his field goal attempts in 2011. The red-shirt freshman knocked through 11 field goals and 30 extra points on the season to lead the Pioneers with 63 points scored. Rogers also came through in the clutch against Columbia, splitting the uprights with a go-ahead field goal with one minute remaining in regulation. Rogers is the only Pioneer in school history to capitalize on all of his field goal attempts in a single season.
Embler made 60 tackles in his senior year en route to his selection to the All-NEC second team. However, the defensive lineman made most of his impact in the backfield, registering 16.5 tackles for a loss. That toat was good for second in the Northeast, behind only his teammate Mandas. He also forced two fumbles and hauled in an interception in 2011. In his final game at Campus Field, Embler dove on a fumble in the end zone for a SHU touchdown against Duquesne.
Jordan Brown of Bryant was named the NEC Offensive Player of the Year while Albany's Bob Ford was tabbed the NEC Coach of the Year. Serge Kona (Duquesne), Neal Sterling (Monmouth), and Kyle Jordan (Albany) all also claimed NEC major awards.