The Big Sky Conference released its all-conference football teams Tuesday morning, and 11 Cal Poly players earned postseason recognition.
Sophomore fullback Joe Protheroe was named to the first-team all-conference offense after rushing for 779 yards and six touchdowns in nine games. Three Mustangs earned third-team accolades in senior center Stephen Sippel, junior running back Kori Garcia and senior linebacker Burton De Koning.
Sippel, a three-time all-conference performer, anchored Cal Poly’s offensive line that helped pave the way to more than 4,200 yards rushing during a 4-7 season. Garcia made the all-conference team for the second straight year after rushing for 780 yards and five touchdowns.
De Koning recorded 82 tackles, including eight for lost yardage and three sacks. He made a career-high 17 tackles during the Mustangs’ loss against eventual conference champion Southern Utah in late October.
Cal Poly senior offensive tackle Weston Walker and sophomore offensive guard Joey Kuperman garnered honorable mention all-Big Sky recognition. Senior quarterback Chris Brown, junior defensive tackle Marcus Paige-Allen, senior cornerback Karlton Dennis and junior safety B.J. Nard also received honorable mention.
Reserve linebacker Chris Santini earned honorable mention for his performance on the Mustangs’ special teams units. Walker, Brown, Dennis and Paige-Allen earned all-Big Sky accolades for the second consecutive season.
Walker never missed a game in 47 opportunities. Brown finished his career as one of three active players in the FCS with 3,000 yards rushing and passing. Dennis was the Mustangs’ sixth-leading tackler with 55 stops and broke up a team-high seven passes.
Paige-Allen contributed 25 tackles in the middle, including 4.5 for lost yardage, with one sack to his credit.
Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp was chosen as the Big Sky offensive player of the year, and Southern Utah’s James Cowser earned defensive player of the year honors. Northern Arizona quarterback Case Cookus and North Dakota running back John Santiago were tabbed as the conference’s co-freshmen of the year.
Portland State quarterback Alex Kuresa, a transfer from Snow Junior College, was named the Big Sky newcomer of the year after leading the Vikings to a 9-2 record and a bye in the first round of the FCS playoffs.
Cal Poly is scheduled to host its end-of-the-year football banquet Dec. 6 at Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo. Those interested can attend for $25 per person, and supporters also can sponsor a table at the banquet for $250.