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Dascalo is lone Eagle selected on All-Big Sky first team


November 30, 2017

Dascalo is lone Eagle selected on All-Big Sky first team

The Eastern Washington University football team had 13 players honored on the All-Big Sky Conference team announced Nov. 21, but even more noteworthy is the number 10.

That's the number of selections expected to return for the 2018 campaign, as only a trio of seniors - including first team pick Jordan Dascalo - were on the list of Eagles selected by the league's head coaches for yearly honors in the Big Sky. Besides Dascalo, Eastern's 13 selections included six players on the second-team, three on the third team and three receiving honorable mention.

The six second team selections included junior quarterback Gage Gubrud, senior wide receiver Nic Sblendorio, junior center Spencer Blackburn, sophomore running back Antoine Custer Jr., senior defensive end Albert Havili and sophomore kickoff return specialist Dre' Sonte Dorton.

On the third team were junior wide receiver Nsimba Webster, junior safety Mitch Fettig, and true freshman special teams standout Anfernee Gurley. Junior running back Sam McPherson, junior cornerback Josh Lewis, and sophomore offensive guard Tristen Taylor received honorable mention.

Formerly from Los Angeles and a transfer from Washington State, Dascalo led the Big Sky and was 16th in Football Championship Subdivision in average per punt (42.6 yards), with 16 of his 47 punts downed inside the opponent 20-yard line. He had 12 punts of at least 50 yards this season, including a career-long 67-yarder that helped him earn Big Sky Conference Player of the Week honors following EWU's win at North Dakota on Nov. 11.

Eastern closed the season 7-4 overall and in a tie for third in the Big Sky Conference with a 6-2 record. It's the 11th consecutive season with a winning record and 20th in the last 22 years.

Eastern was seventh in FCS in passing (320.5 yards per game) and sixth in total offense (476.7) in the 2017 season, and was also 20th in scoring (34.5) and 10th in third down conversions (46.1 percent).

A first team selection a year ago, Gubrud led FCS in total offense per game (357.8) following the end of the regular season.

Sblendorio capped his career with a near-record 273-yard receiving performance against Portland State on Nov. 18 in a game in which Webster was injured on the game's opening kickoff.

On special teams, Dorton averaged 27.4 yards on 22 returns to finish ranked eighth in the FCS and third in the conference.

The 2017 season was a rare year in which an Eagle did not win the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year honor. A year ago, Gubrud was the Co-Offensive MVP along with Cooper Kupp, giving Eastern that award in 12 of the previous 16 seasons. Wide receiver Keelan Doss of UC Davis won the award in 2017.

Weber State's Taron Johnson was Defensive Player of the Year, Troy Anderson of Montana State was Freshman of the Year and Jake Maier of UC Davis was the league's Newcomer of the Year.


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