SEGUIN — Texas Lutheran Head Football Coach Carl Gustafson was named the American Southwest Conference Coach of the Year for a second time in three seasons, and the Bulldogs claimed 18 other ASC Football honors with the release Thursday of the 2019 All-ASC Football Teams and Awards.
Gustafson, the 2017 and the 2019 ASC Coach of the Year, guided the Bulldogs to a program-best second-place finish in the ASC. TLU went 8-2 overall and 8-1 in league play.
Gustafson’s second ASC Coach of the Year honor marks the third time in school history that a Bulldog head football coach has claimed ASC Coach of the Year honors. Tom Mueller was the 2004 ASC Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to seven league wins that year.
The Bulldogs were ranked in the Top 25 and in the regional rankings at times during the 2019 season, and TLU played for the conference championship on Nov. 9 at defending national champion Mary Hardin-Baylor.
TLU’s eight wins in the ASC are the most by a Bulldog squad in the university’s 18 seasons in the ASC (1998-2012, 2017-present).
The eight overall wins marked just the eighth time in TLU’s 85 football seasons that the Bulldogs have won that many games in a single season.
The Bulldogs were picked fourth in the 2019 ASC Preseason Football Poll. TLU was picked behind UMHB, Hardin-Simmons, and East Texas Baptist.
TLU defeated ETBU on the road on Sept. 21 and then defeated then-No. 6 HSU on the road on Oct. 5. The win over HSU was the second win for TLU all-time at the Cowboys’ Shelton Stadium.
The wins over ETBU and HSU were part of the Bulldogs’ seven-game win streak entering the UMHB game.
In addition to Gustafson’s coaching honor, the Bulldogs placed five student-athletes on the All-ASC First Team, five on the All-ASC Second Team, and seven on the All-ASC Honorable Mention squad.
Senior receiver Charles Robinson Jr. (Frisco/Wakeland) was named to the ASC Football Outstanding Sportsman Team of the Year. Robinson battled back from a late-season injury in 2018 that cost him five more games in 2019. He started the last five games and had a 39-yard touchdown catch in his first game back (a road win at Howard Payne). Robinson, a four-year letterman, finished the year with 21 receptions for 238 yards and two touchdowns.
TLU’s All-ASC First Team selections included: senior offensive guard Garrett Garza (Round Rock/Stony Point), senior offensive tackle Travis York (Seguin/Seguin), senior running back Austin Mathews (Houston/Clear Creek), senior defensive lineman Manny Longoria (Geronimo/Navarro), and junior safety James Bell (Houston/Lamar).
TLU’s All-ASC Second Team selections were: sophomore quarterback Wade Freeman (Richmond/Bush), senior linebacker Derek Dunn (Houston/North Shore), senior linebacker Adairius Norwood (Waco/Waco), senior defensive back Kedrick Ward (Missouri City/ Elkins), and freshman defensive back Daniel Enriquez (Edinburg/Vela).
TLU’s All-ASC Honorable Mention selections included: senior receiver CJ Romero (Odem/Odem), junior running back Chris Monroe (College Station/College Station), sophomore kicker Juan Ocampo (Lockhart/Lockhart), junior defensive end Jackson Worley (Keller/Timber Creek), sophomore defensive lineman Brandon Bennett (Harlingen/Harlingen South), junior linebacker Keyshawn Holman (Orange/West Orange-Stark), and sophomore punter Justice Porter (Cypress/Cypress Ridge).
Garza and York, a two-time All-ASC honoree, led a Bulldog offensive line that paved the way for a top-15 rushing attack and a top-55 total offense. TLU currently ranks 14th in NCAA Division III in rushing offense that averaged 252.9 yards per game and 5.06 yards per carry. For total offense, TLU is 51st with a unit that averages 420.3 yards per game and 5.85 yards per play. TLU scored 41 offensive touchdowns.
Mathews, a two-time All-ASC First Team selection, rushed for 619 yards and seven touchdowns in 2019. He finished his Bulldog career with 1,999 yards, 26 touchdowns, and a career yards per carry average of 5.6.
Longoria, a three-year starter and three-time All-ASC selection, leaves TLU as the program’s DIII-era career leader for sacks and tackles for loss. He tallied 24.5 career sacks for 158 yards and 46.5 tackles for loss for 226 yards. He had four career forced fumbles and three career fumble recoveries. He took two of those fumble recoveries back for touchdowns, including a 39-yard recovery this year in the road win over then-No. 6 Hardin-Simmons.
In 2019, Longoria collected six sacks and 12 tackles for loss. He posted a single-season career-best 43 tackles this season and ended his four-year career with 119 total tackles.
Bell was named to the All-ASC First Team for a third consecutive season. The redshirt junior finished the year with 48 total tackles, a half-tackle for loss, and one interception (in the road win over Hardin-Simmons). Bell has started 28 career games for the Bulldogs and collected 156 total tackles and 11 interceptions.
Freeman started all 10 games at quarterback for the Bulldogs in 2019. After being part of a two-QB rotation in the season-opener, Freeman took hold of the starting job in game No. 2 – the road victory at East Texas Baptist. In that victory, he completed 10-of-14 passes for 151 yards, tossed three touchdowns, rushed 12 times for 58 yards, and scored a rushing touchdown in the 31-21 win in Marshall.
Freeman would go on to complete 65.6 percent of his passes, setting a new TLU DIII-era record for single-season completion percentage. He threw 14 touchdowns and tossed only four interceptions. Freeman also rushed for 622 yards and seven touchdowns and averaged 5.4 yards per carry. Twice, Freeman was named the ASC Offensive Player of the Week.
Dunn and Norwood, two senior linebackers, anchored a defense that ranked 68th nationally in total defense, sixth in turnover margin, 17th in fumbles recovered, 19th in turnovers gained, and 26th in team sacks. Dunn was third on the team in total tackles, with 53, and he added five sacks for 35 yards and 10.5 tackles for loss for 50 yards.
Norwood was second on the team in total tackles, with 54. He chipped in 3.5 sacks for 18 yards and 7.5 tackles for loss for 28 yards. Norwood finished his career with 163 total tackles.
Senior cornerback Kedrick Ward played in 34 consecutive games and started in his last 34. Ward had a single-season best 39 tackles in 2019, and he collected a single-season best three fumble recoveries. He returned one of those fumble recoveries 15 yards for a touchdowns against Southwestern. Ward also had a career-best four interceptions in 2019 to bring his career total to seven. Ward had a pair of interceptions in the Alumni & Family Weekend victory over Louisiana College.
Freshman safety Daniel Enriquez was an impact player for TLU throughout the season. Enriquez’s biggest play of the year came in the road win over then-No. 6 Hardin-Simmons when he intercepted a pass at the end of the first half and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown. Enriquez had two picks in that road victory. The freshman ended the year with 45 total tackles, four tackles for loss, nine pass break-ups, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, a blocked field goal, and three interceptions.
Romero started all 10 games at receiver and registered 28 catches, eight touchdowns, and 498 receiving yards. He averaged 17.8 yards per catch. Romero had three touchdowns in the first half against Louisiana College.
Monroe rushed 95 times for 594 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry. Monroe rushed 20 times for 132 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per carry, in the road win over Howard Payne.
Ocampo led TLU in scoring, with 64 points. He converted 40 extra-point and made eight field goals. He made three field goals in the season-opener against Hendrix, and he had a long of 43 (made in the home victory over Louisiana College).
Worley played and started in all 10 games at defensive end. He collected 5.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He had the game-clinching interception (returned for a 25-yard touchdown) in the road victory at Hardin-Simmons.
Bennett started all 10 games for TLU as an interior defensive lineman. The sophomore registered career-highs in every defensive category. He had 44 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 7.5 tackles for loss. He forced a fumble and recovered three fumbles.
Holman, a starter at outside linebacker, played in all 10 games and finished tied for third on the team in total tackles, with 53. Holman also tallied seven tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and an interception.
Porter, TLU’s two-year starter at punter, booted every punt for TLU in 2019. The sophomore averaged 35.5 yards per punt and had eight punts inside the opponents’ 20. He forced four fair catches and had four touchbacks.