Two of Idaho’s hardest-hitting football players found themselves in familiar territory when the Big Sky released its all-conference teams Tuesday.
Fullback Logan Kendall and linebacker Tre Walker earned first-team All-Big Sky accolades for the second consecutive season, it was announced.
In total, eight Vandals were honored by the league with third-team spots going to running back Roshaun Johnson, receiver Terez Traynor, offensive tackle Logan Floyd and defensive end Charles Akkano, and honorable mentions going to defensive tackle Noah Elliss and safety Tyrese Dedmon.
For UI, the awards were a nice consolation prize for an up-and-down season that ended with a 4-7 overall record, 3-5 record in conference play and the firing of their head coach, Paul Petrino, on Thursday.
Kendall, a unanimous first-team selection for the second straight season, finished the fall with four carries for 31 yards and two touchdowns and two catches for 26 yards.
His impact was most felt in the blocking game, where the 273-pound junior paved rushing lanes for UI’s plethora of ball carriers.
But on the rare occasion he carried the ball himself, Kendall often left a wake of defenders in his path. A human bowling ball, Kendall sometimes carried two or three defenders with him down field for extra yards.
One of those instances came on fourth-and-7 in the Oct. 30 38-31 loss against Northern Arizona in which Kendall blasted through a wall of defenders like the Kool-Aid Man, breaking a series of tackles and requiring three Lumberjacks to drag him down 26 yards later.
Kendall’s response after the game?
“I was just trying to get the first down.”
Kendall also tallied a sack in limited time on defense.
Walker, a mainstay at middle linebacker, racked up a team-high 105 tackles, ranking fourth in the Big Sky in that category. He also registered three tackles for loss, three pass breakups and a forced fumble.
Walker six times reached double-digit tackles, including 11 solo stops and 16 total in a Sept. 11, 56-14 nonconference loss at Indiana.
Walker’s hard hits often could be heard in the press box at Idaho’s home games at the Kibbie Dome.
Akanno’s third-team designation might’ve been the biggest travesty in the all-conference selections.
The senior edge rusher ranked in the top four in the Big Sky in four major defensive categories — fourth in tackles for loss (19), tied for second in sacks (11), tied for second in fumbles recovered (2) and tied for first in forced fumbles (4).
Akanno also scored a defensive touchdown against NAU and garnered three sacks on the same drive in the Nov. 6 win against Southern Utah.
Speaking of the Thunderbirds, the biggest overall performance of the season goes to Johnson and his six-touchdown game.
Johnson, a 235-pound junior, broke UI’s single-game record of four touchdowns — a mark he’d tied by halftime — in the 42-24 Vandal win .
He finished the season with 444 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
As for UI’s other honorees, Traynor arguably was the team’s biggest newcomer of the year. The Football Bowl Subdivision transfer from Western Kentucky was UI’s leading pass catcher with 50 receptions for 737 yards and three scores.
Floyd anchored an Idaho offensive line that picked up steam as the season went along, playing center and tackle.
Elliss was a handful for opposing offensive lines, compiling 46 tackles, 6.5 for loss, a sack and three pass breakups.
Dedmon finished with 59 tackles, six passes defended and an interception.
QB — Eric Barriere*, EWU. RB: Isaiah Ifanse*, Montana State; Ulonzo Gilliam, UC Davis. FB — Logan Kendall*, Idaho ; WR: Talolo Limu-Jones, EWU; Lance McCutcheon, Montana State; Pierre Williams, Sacramento State. TE — Marshel Martin, Sacramento State. OL — Lewis Kidd*, Montana State; Braxton Jones, Southern Utah; Tristen Taylor, EWU; Thomas Parker, Sacramento State; Noah Atagi, Weber State; Jake Parks, UC Davis.
DT — Jared Schiess, Weber State; Chase Benson, Montana State. DE — Daniel Hardy, Montana State; Josiah Erickson, Sacramento State. OLB — Patrick O’Connell, Montana; Conner Mortensen, Weber State. MLB — Troy Andersen, Montana State; Tre Walker, Idaho. DB — Justin Ford, Montana; Eddie Heckard, Weber State; Robby Hauck, Montana; Anthony Adams, Portland State; Jordan Perryman, UC Davis
K — Kyle Sentkowski, Sacramento State. P — Brian Buschini, Montana. KR — Rashid Shaheed*, Weber State; Malik Flowers*, Montana. PR — Shaheed. ST — Trevin Gradney, Montana. All-purpose — Asher O’Hara*, Sacramento State.
Offensive player of the year — Barriere
Defensive player of the year — Andersen
Newcomer of the year — Ford.
Freshman of the year — RJ Martinez, QB, Northern Arizona
QB — Davis Alexander, Portland State. RB — Kevin Daniels, Northern Arizona; Dennis Merritt, EWU. FB — Ryan Rivera, Cal Poly. WR — Andrew Boston, EWU; Beau Kelly, Portland State; Tanner Conner, Idaho State; Shaheed. TE — McCallan Castles, UC Davis
OL — Connor Pettek, UC Davis; Kooper Richardson, Sacramento State; Grant Stephens, UNC; Taylor Tuiasosopo, Montana State; Brandon Weldon, Sacramento State; Conlan Beaver, Montana.
DT — Alex Gubner, Montana; Bryce Rodgers, UC Davis. DE — George Tarlas, Weber State; VJ Malo, Portland State. OLB — David Hoage, Northern Colorado; La’akea Kaho’ohanohano-Davis, Southern Utah; Marte Mapu, Sacramento State; Callahan O’Reilley, Montana State. MLB — Jace Lewis, Montana; Marcus Hawkins, Sacramento State. DB — Greg Filer III, Sacramento State; Ty Okada, Montana State; Preston Smith, Weber State; Morgan Vest, Northern Arizona; Jaylin White, UC Davis.
K — Isaiah Gomez, UC Davis. P — Daniel Whelan, UC Davis. KR — Lan Larison, UC Davis. PR — Isaiah Thomas, UC Davis. All-purpose — Trent Tompkins, UC Davis.
QB — Jake Dunniway, Sacramento State. RB — Cameron Skattebo, Sacramento State; Roshaun Johnson, Idaho. WR — Efton Chism III, EWU; Freddie Roberson, EWU; Terez Traynor, Idaho. TE — Hayden Meacham, Weber State. OL — Hunter Mayginnes, Montana; Logan Floyd, Idaho; Jonas Leader, Northern Arizona; Wyatt Musser, EWU; Terren Carey, Idaho State.
DT — Josh Jerome, EWU; Myles Cecil, Cal Poly. DE — Mitchell Johnson, EWU; Francis Bemiy, Southern Utah; Charles Akanno, Idaho. MLB — Matt Shotwell, Cal Poly; Jack Sendelbach, EWU. DB — Calin Criner, EWU; Jerone Jackson, Northern Colorado; Kobe Singleton, Southern Utah; Tre Webb, MSU; Malik Jeter, Sacramento State.
K — Blake Glessner, Montana State. P — Sam Clark, Sacramento State
WR — Kassidy Woods, Northern Colorado; Mitch Roberts, Montana; Nate Bennett, Portland State; Coleman Owen, Northern Arizona; Hendrix Johnson, Northern Arizona. TE — Cole Grossman, Montana; Jared Scott, Idaho State.
DT — Semise Kofe, Portland State; Noah Ellis, Idaho; Doug Schiess, Weber State; Jett Stanley, Sacramento State. DE — Carson Taylor, Northern Arizona; Joe Babros, Montana; Elijah Ponder, Cal Poly; Joe Golden, Northern Colorado; Justin Belknap, Montana; Amandre Williams, Montana State. MLB — Sherwin Lavaka, Weber State; Jace Bobo, Northern Colorado; Ty Graham, EWU; Tristen Vance, Northern Arizona; Harrison Beemiller, Northern Arizona. DB — Marque Collins, Weber State; Jeffrey Manning Jr., Montana State; Jayden Dawson, Idaho State; Tyrese Dedmon, Idaho.
P — Kevin Ryan, Idaho State; DJ Arnson, Northern Arizona.
* — Unanimous selection
Wiebe may be contacted at (208) 848-2260, email@example.com or on Twitter @StephanSports.