Hamby claims third Empire 8 Special Teams Player of the Year honor; Seven Gulls honored by league

Hamby claims third Empire 8 Special Teams Player of the Year honor; Seven Gulls honored by league

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Empire 8 Athletic Conference announced its all-conference teams on Monday and the Salisbury University football team, in its final season in the league, had three players named to the all-conference first and second teams while senior Kyle Hamby collected the conference's Special Teams Player of the Year award for the third-consecutive season.

Hamby was named a first-team punter while senior Nick Ochoa and sophomore Ryan Kolb were each named to the second team and senior Marquis Morgan was named Salisbury's Sportsman of the Year. The Sea Gulls also had three players named honorable mention all-conference.

Hamby finished the season as the league's leader, and ranked sixth in the nation, with a 42.1-yard average per punt while dropping 11 of his 45 punts inside the 20-yard line. This is Hamby's third-straight Special Teams Player of the Year award in the Empire 8 and his third year being named first team all-conference.

Ochoa was a force in the middle of the defensive line as a senior, playing nose guard in the Sea Gulls' 3-4 defensive formation. He recorded 54 tackles this season, 14 of which were solo stops, while demanding a double team on many plays. Eleven of his tackles came behind the line of scrimmage, as he ranked eighth in the conference in tackles for loss. Ochoa also had two sacks and blocked a kick.

Kolb was one of the most dangerous weapons in the return game this season, as he returned both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in 2014. Kolb averaged 28.2 yards per kick return and 15.4 yards per punt return, both of which would have been ranked in the top 15 nationally, but he came up just short of the statistical minimums due to an injury early in the season.

Morgan, who returned after missing the 2013 season due to a shoulder injury, played a key role as a downfield blocker from the wide receiver position this season.

Junior offensive lineman Ben LaNeve and Kevin Perretta, along with senior linebacker James Hall were all named honorable mention.

LaNeve and Perretta led the offensive line, which paved the way for Salisbury to average 322.7 rushing yards per game. That number ranked fifth in Division III football this season. Hall posted 61 tackles this season, which was fourth-best on the team.

The Sea Gulls finished the season 7-4 with the program's fifth win in an Eastern College Athletic Conference bowl game, winning the ECAC South Atlantic Bowl against Albright College, 48-27.

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