BEVERLY, Mass. – Endicott senior inside linebacker Christian Martinez (Tariffville, Conn.) was named the New England Football Conference's (NEFC) Senior Achievement and Perseverance Award winner, while freshman cornerback Jesse Simoni (East Greenbush, N.Y.) claimed Defensive Rookie of the Year and All-Conference Second Team Cornerback accolades to highlight nine other student-athletes who garnered All-Conference honors from the league earlier today.
Senior defensive lineman Craig Anderson (Franklin, Mass.) headlined Endicott's All-Conference selections with a nod to the first team, while cornerback Travis Bounsy (West Newbury, Mass.), return specialist Zach DeNike (Old Tappan, N.J.), fullback Hakim Fleming (Bridgeport, Conn.), defensive lineman John Fortes (North Reading, Mass.), punter Brett Fox (Niantic, Conn.), guard Isaiah Gibbs (Teaneck, N.J.), wide receiver Chris Lipscomb (West Springfield, Mass.), and tackle Shane Toland (Canton, Conn.) received All-Conference second team honors at their respective positions.
MAJOR AWARD WINNERS
Christian Martinez | Senior | Inside Linebacker | Tariffville, Conn.
Martinez received the Senior Perseverance and Achievement Award for his stellar 2016 campaign, which involved him switching positions – from running back to inside linebacker this season – in addition to bouncing back from a season-ending injury a year ago. After rehabilitating from injury his entire junior year, Martinez was asked by the coaching staff to switch positions for the betterment of the team and the senior accepted his new role without any questions, despite having not played linebacker since high school.
His trust in the coaching staff, his own abilities, and his hard work over the last year and a half paid dividends in 2016 as Martinez currently ranks second on the team in tackles with 66 (37 solo, 29 assisted) to go along with his 1.5 sacks, nine tackles for a loss, one interception, and five pass breakups. Martinez also ranks ninth in the conference in total tackles, and 14th overall in tackles per game (6.6).
Academically, Martinez boasts one of the highest cumulative grade point averages on the team at 3.66 as a Business Administration major. He also has been named to the NEFC All-Academic Team twice in his career.
Jesse Simoni | Freshman | Cornerback | East Greenbush, N.Y.
Simoni, who was also named to the NEFC All-Conference second team at cornerback, played a key role in Endicott's defense throughout the entirety of the 2016 campaign compiling 35 tackles (21 solo, 14 assisted), three interceptions, six pass breakups, and two blocked kicks in his first collegiate season. His three interceptions rank sixth in the NEFC, while his two blocked kicks rank No. 21 nationally.
Statistically speaking, Simoni's best game of the season came against perennial power St. Lawrence University where had recorded five tackles (four solo), one interception, and two pass breakups on September 17.
FIRST TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE WINNERS
Craig Anderson | Senior | Defensive Line | Franklin, Mass.
Anderson finished his senior season with 28 tackles (15 solo, 13 assisted), four sacks, two quarterback hurries, and one blocked kick. Anderson currently ranks first in the conference in sacks, and second in sack yards (29).
Anderson will go down in the Endicott record books as one of the best defensive lineman in program history as he sits second overall in sacks at 21.5 over 39 games played. He also accumulated 204 tackles (95, solo, 109 assisted), 5.2 per game), 40.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, and two blocks.
SECOND TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE WINNERS
Travis Bounsy | Freshman | Cornerback | West Newbury, Mass.
In his first collegiate season, Bounsy notched 34 tackles (16 solo, 18 assisted), forced two fumbles, and broke up three passes.
Zach DeNike | Freshman | Return Specialist | Old Tappan, N.J.
DeNike registered 978 all-purpose yards in 2016 with 135 coming off of punt returns, 487 on kickoff returns, 274 receiving yards, and 82 rushing yards. DeNike also averaged 8.2 yards of total offense per game, 9.1 rushing yards, 10.5 yards after catch, 19.5 kickoff return yards, 9.6 punt return yards, and 97.8 all-purpose yards.
As a wideout, DeNike also caught two touchdowns and finished the year with 26 total receptions.
John Fortes | Senior | Defensive Line | North Reading, Mass.
Fortes had 25 tackles on the season (11 solo, 14 assisted), 1.5 sacks, 4.0 tackles for a loss, and three quarterback hurries in 10 games played. Fortes also played a pivotal role in the run game at nose tackle for Endicott clogging up running lanes for opposing backs all year long.
Brett Fox | Junior | Punter | Niantic, Conn.
Fox was instrumental in the field position game for the Gulls once he took sole possession of the role in Week Six against Maine Maritime. Over the final five games of the year, Fox tallied 25 punts for 994 yards (39.8 average, long 57), recorded three punts of 50-yards or more and placed 11 attempts inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
Among NEFC punters, Fox ranks sixth in attempts (29), fifth in yards (1,141), first in average (39.3), fifth in inside-20 (11), ninth in fair caught punts (2), and fifth in touchbacks (1).
Hakim Fleming | Freshman | Fullback | Bridgeport, Conn.
Fleming punched home five touchdowns as a freshman – including three against Curry on November 12 which fell one shy of tying the single-game program record – to become just the second fullback in program history to earn All-Conference honors.
On the season, Fleming totaled 196 yards on 49 attempts (4.0 average rush), caught three passes for 13 yards, and racked up 214 all-purpose yards in addition to his blocking responsibilities on passing and rushing downs.
Isaiah Gibbs | Freshman | Guard | Teaneck, N.J.
Gibbs is the first freshman guard in program history to earn NEFC All-Conference accolades since the program began in 2003. Gibbs started in every game as a freshman and was the most consistent offensive linemen on the squad throughout the entirety of the season.
Chris Lipscomb | Senior | Wide Receiver | West Springfield, Mass.
Lipscomb hauled in 40 catches for 647 yards and six touchdowns to cap his stellar career for the Gulls. Lipscomb also averaged 16.2 yards per catch, 64.7 all-purpose yards per game, and had two games with a pair of touchdown catches in addition to accumulating 899 punting yards on 24 attempts (37.5, 60 long, two touchbacks, six fair catches, three 50+, seven inside-20).
Lipscomb finishes his career with 112 receptions for 1,622 yards (45.1 yards per game/14.5 average), and 11 touchdowns in 36 games played.
Shane Toland | Sophomore | Tackle | Canton, Conn.
Toland, who switched from guard to tackle this season, aided Endicott in being ranked fifth overall in total offense in conference games this season.
As a team, Endicott posted a 5-5 overall record and 5-2 mark in NEFC play in 2016.