Nine Grid Bears Earn All-Conference Honors
Dec. 2, 2013
ST. LOUIS – Nine Missouri State football players have been named to the 2013 All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Team, the league announced Monday (Dec. 2), including first-team selections Caleb Schaffitzel (Jr., S, Fair Grove, Mo.) and Robert Booker (So., OC, Ozark, Mo.).
The Bears also landed four players on the All-MVFC second team in defensive backs Howard Scarborough (Sr., CB, Tulsa, Okla.) and Sybhrian Berry (Sr., CB, Camden, Ark.) as well as defensive lineman Anthony Grady (Sr., DE, Texarkana, Ark.) and linebacker Nick Canavan (Sr., OLB, Norman, Okla.). Linebacker Andrew Beisel (Jr., ILB, Fenton, Mo.) and offensive linemen Zack Cooley (Jr., OT, Lebanon, Mo.) and Richard Galbierz (Jr., OG, Fenton, Mo.) were named as All-MVFC honorable mention selections.
“It’s the most all-conference players we’ve had here in a long time, and it’s really reflective of the overall team effort we had this season,” said Missouri State head coach Terry Allen. “I’m really proud of how this year’s team stuck together throughout the season and got better each week.”
The nine all-conference selections by Missouri State this fall is the program’s most since 2004 when the Bears landed a dozen all-conference performers in what was then an eight-team league. The 2013 Bears were 5-3 in the MVFC which tied them for second in the league for the first time since 1996.
Schaffitzel was a Valley first-team last season in addition to earning All-America honors from the Associated Press and The Sports Network. He was also named National Defensive Back of the Year by College Football Performance Awards and was named as a Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-American. This year, he is a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award for FCS Defensive Player of the Year after leading the league in interceptions (0.33) and finishing second among all players in tackles (9.16) and passes defended (1.25). Overall, he ranked 44th nationally in tackles and 30th nationally in interceptions. He earned 2013 Capital One Academic All-District 6 honors and was the MVC’s fall 2013 Leadership and Service Award recipient from MSU. Also this fall, he was named FCS Co-National Defensive Player of the Week by The Sports Network with a game-high 14 tackles, 4 PBU’s and a fourth-quarter interception return vs. South Dakota State on Oct. 12.
Booker transitioned into a starting role for the Bears this season in an impactful way, starting all 12 games at center while carrying out a 98 percent assignment grade. He also graded out at 84 percent overall for the season with 86 knockdown blocks. The sophomore was named MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week for Sept. 14 performance at Murray State, in which he helped the Bears to its best offensive showing in three years with 578 total yards, including 366 rushing yards. He also earned team offensive lineman of the week recognition on three occasions and earned the club’s overall offensive performer of the week award for his Sept. 21 effort against Central Arkansas. Booker helped anchor a Missouri State offensive line that allowed the fewest sacks per game (1.12) and had the second-most rushing yards (185.5) per game in league play.
Scarborough turned in a breakout senior season in which he led the MVFC in passes defended (1.57) and PBU's (1.20) and ranked 9th nationally in total passes defended (14). He also posted career highs for tackles (55), solo tackles (34) and interceptions (2) and tallied 12 passes broken up to tie for fourth on the Bears’ single-season list. His 30 career PBUs finished third all-time at MSU. He matched a career high with 11 tackles, including 7 solo stops to help MSU defeat South Dakota State on Oct. 19 to kick off the team’s four-game MVFC win streak.
Berry made all 12 starts at cornerback, finishing fourth on the squad with a career-high 74 tackles, including a team-best 44 solo stops. He was second in the league behind Scarborough in passes defended and registered 10 passes broken up to go along with a pair of interceptions. He was a two-time MSU defensive player of the week and earned CFPA national defensive back performer of the week honorable mention after picking off a pass and logging 9 tackles in the team’s Nov. 9 win at Southern Illinois.
Grady started 11 games as a senior and 19 over his last two years at MSU and led all Bears defensive linemen with 48 tackles and 2.5 sacks to go along with 12 QB pressures, 5 passes broken up and an 82% overall grade for the season. He blocked a pair of kicks to rank eighth on MSU’s single-season chart and matched a career high with 9 tackles in the Bears’ season opener against Northwestern State (Aug. 29). He was also named MSU co-player of the week for his performance vs. Illinois State (Sept. 28), in which he recorded a sack, recovered a fumble and blocked a kick.
Canavan was a 12-game starter this season at will linebacker spot and made 36 starts for his MSU career. In league games, he led the conference and ranked 35th nationally in sacks (0.88) and currently leads the league and is 39th nationally in tackles for loss (1.56). He finished third on the club with 80 total tackles, posted 14.5 stops for losses -- good for second in the MVFC -- and forced a pair of fumbles. Canavan recorded a career-best 8.0 sacks and led the league in both sacks and TFLs in conference play. He recorded at least one sack in his last five MVFC games, capped by a personal-best 15-tackle performance vs. UNI (Nov. 16).
Beisel finished second on the team in total tackles with 96 while starting all 12 games. He registered 28 solo stops, 2 tackles for loss, an interception and a forced fumble. In league games, he was 7th in the MVFC in tackles per game (8.5) and had four games with double-figure tackles, including 16 in the season finale against UNI (11/16/13). He had a 98.2 percent assignment grade for the season and 86.8% technique and performance grade in 721 snaps.
Cooley started all 12 games as the Bears’ left tackle this season, stretching his streak of consecutive starts to 34 straight games. He completed 98 percent of his assignments with a 79 percent technique/performance grade and 40 knockdown blocks. He was named MSU Offensive Lineman of the Week following the Bears’ Nov. 9 win at SIU and protected the blindside for a unit that allowed the fewest sacks (9) and second-most rushing yards (1,484) of any MVFC offensive line in conference play.
Galbierz made all 12 starts at right guard in 2013 and ended the year with a streak of 23 consecutive starts overall. He carried out 97 percent of his assignments and graded out at 81 percent overall for the season with 52 knockdowns. He was named MSU offensive lineman of the week three times in helping the Bears lead the league in sacks allowed (1.12) in conference games while posting 185.5 rushing yards, which ranked second behind only No. 1 North Dakota State.
The MVFC will announce its 2013 All-Newcomer Team on Tuesday and its All-Academic Team on Wednesday.
Allen and his staff will recognize the club’s award winners and 21 seniors on Sunday, Dec. 8 at Plaster Student Union on the Springfield campus. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with the program and buffet-style dinner starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are available for just $20 and may be reserved by calling the MSU Football office at (417) 836-5343.