AMHERST, Massachusetts -- Five members of the Amherst College football team earned post-season recognition by the Eastern College Athletic Conference on two New England All-Star teams. Co-sponsored by Spalding Sports Worldwide, they are among the 58 finest Division III players in the region and represent 21 colleges and universities.
Devin Moriarty (Springfield, MA) leads the All-Stars as the Player of the Year. The defensive tackle tallied a team-high 16 hits behind the line of scrimmage, including a Jeff-best nine sacks for 56 yards. Finishing his senior season as the team's fourth leading tackler, Moriarty registered 52 hits (25 solo) on his way to an All-America First Team selection. Collectively the Amherst defense dominated the NESCAC as the only team to allow less than 100 points (93) and fewer than 2,000 yards (1,727) for two straight years. The Jeff defense finished 6th in the nation, allowing only 215.9 yards per game while holding rushers to 66.0 yards per game on the ground (5th). The Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought major has also earned NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year and All-New England distinction, and he will play in two Division III All-Star Bowls over the next few weeks.
David Heaton (Milford, MA) makes his second appearance as an ECAC All-Star as a First Team offensive lineman. After switching from guard to center, the senior helped running backs complete 331 carries for 1,435 yards and 15 touchdowns. Amherst compiled 3,089 offensive yards in 1997 and scored 256 points on 35 touchdowns to lead the NESCAC. The Political Science major has also earned All-League and All-New England recognition.
Seth Zimmerman (Lewistown, PA) concludes his collegiate career on his first ECAC All-Star team. The inside linebacker powered the Jeff defense as the team's leading tackler for the last three years, finishing his senior season with 87 hits (42 solo) and 5.5 sacks. A co-captain of the 1997 squad, Zimmerman also won All-NESCAC honors.
Todd Nichols (Skaneateles, NY) is the youngest of Amherst's honorees, earning First Team recognition as a junior defensive back. The free safety doubled his career interception total as he notched five this season, including three against Middlebury in his second pick hat trick in two years. Nichols registered 34 hits (21 solo) in 1997 as he won ECAC and NESCAC Defensive Player recognition, as well as All-NESCAC honors as a junior. The Political Science major as also named to the GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-District Team, compiling a 3.68 cumulative average as a football and lacrosse player.
Senior Co-Captain Rich Willard (Johnstown, NY) makes his second appearance on the Second Team. The quarterback concluded his career as one of the finest in Amherst history, setting records for career passing yards (4,387), career attempts (563), most touchdowns in a season (16) and in a single game (5). Willard finished his senior season with a career game, throwing 26 completions for 378 yards and five touchdowns to rally the Jeffs from their first deficits of the season. The English major racked up 1,736 yards on 109-for-214 passing (50.9%) in 1997 as an All-NESCAC quarterback and the winner of the Joe Zabilski Award for New England's most outstanding offensive player.
Amherst College football finished its second straight 7-1 season in 1997 as the No. 3 team in ECAC New England and tied for first in the NESCAC. The Jeffs came just two seconds away from their first undefeated season since 1984 under the first-year direction of Head Coach E.J. Mills.
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