On Sunday February 13th, the 2010 St. Olaf Football Team gathered for their annual banquet. About 180 were in attendance. Special guests included Coach Tom Porter, Coach Bob Gelle, Coach Jim Dimick, AD Matt McDonald, TD Club Board Member Matt Schraan, Mary Danielson-Gates, and all the usual attendees (players/parents/managers/trainers/coaches).
During dinner, the 2010 Highlight Video was shown. This year the football program hired a professional videographer to document every aspect of game-day. Watching the game by game highlights, testimonials by players, and behind the scenes footage reminded everyone that the 2010 Oles lived by their FAMILY motto.
The banquet also provided a chance for the players to reunite with their captain and All-MIAC wide receiver, Antonio Jennings. Antonio completed his graduation requirements at St. Olaf in the fall and is no longer on campus. He is currently preparing for an opportunity to work out for NFL Coaches. He has been training in Florida with other NFL hopefuls. Antonio described his daily routine as grueling, with 3 two hour workouts and other sessions about nutrition and speed exercises. A full day, but as you can imagine, AJ is excited about getting better and improving his chances to play at the next level. He will be working out for NFL scouts during Pro-Days at both the University of Minnesota and the University of South Florida. For now he’s focused on getting the attention of the NFL, but if that doesn’t work out he will have plenty of other options. When introducing Antonio last night, Coach O noted that “Antonio is a young man who inspires me to be a better person on a daily basis." Antonio has an amazing story and whether or not the NFL bites, he’ll be making this world a better place.
Immediately after the season, the players voted on several awards. Coach OJ announced the recipients of these awards during the banquet. There were as follows:
Offensive MVP: Antonio Jennings
Although he consistently attracted significant attention from opposing secondaries, including getting double covered for entire games, Antonio put up big numbers in 2010. Antionio had 52 catches for 835 yards and 11 touchdowns. Antonio averaged an amazing 16.1 yards per catch. His effort was definitely one of the best seasons an Ole receiver has ever had and the fact that he did it on a team that had a balanced running attack is even more of a tribute to his ability to make big plays. His 2010 receptions are 5th all-time, yards are 6th all-time, and his 11 TDs were good for 2nd all-time -- one behind Horace Gant's 12 in 2007. Antonio ended his career 5th in all-time receiving yards and touchdowns and 6th in receptions. All those ahead of him on the list (Gant, A. Schmiesing, Ryan, Buslee) were starters for all four years. Antonio was a first-team All MIAC selection this season.
Defensive MVP: Nick Ondler
As Coach OJ described, Nick is probably the most improved player on our roster over the last few seasons. His primary responsibilities a season ago were filling in as our starting kicker. This season Nick dominated opposing centers and guards and was one of the top interior defensive linemen in the conference. Although his impact was more telling by the bodies he occupied than the tackles he accumulated, Nick still had a phenomenal season. He ended with 42 tackles (9 for loss), 3 sacks and 1 fumble recovery. He ended the season 6th in the conference in tackles for loss. Nick was a first-team All-MIAC selection this season.
The Tom Porter Team MVP Award: Leon Clark
Coach Tom Porter was in attendance, once again, and able to announce Leon as the recipient. Leon was the recipient of this award last year as well, and he is only a Junior. If he happens to receive the award again next year, he would be the first Ole to be voted Team MVP in 3 consecutive seasons. His effort in 2010 was the 5th best rushing performance in Ole history. For his career, Leon now has 2,232 rushing yards. That has him currently sitting at 4th on the all-time list. The Ole faithful are excited to see Leon return for his senior season. He has current Ole radio announcer Mark Gelle in his sights, who has 2,829 career rushing yards. The two former Oles ahead of Mark Gelle are Manuel Spreigl (3,122 yards) and Ole Gunderson (3,899 yards). Leon was an All-MIAC first team selection in 2010.
The Danielson Award: Drew Penz
The Danielson Award is given to a player for their inspiration and leadership. (Click HERE to learn more about the history of the award) Drew has been the starting center for the Oles the past three seasons. During each of those three seasons, Drew has been the binding force in the huddle that has kept our offense focused as we’ve had a different starting quarterback in each of those seasons. As the award describes, Drew’s impact on Ole football goes far beyond the field. He has truly been a servant leader for this program. He has fought through injuries, set an example in the weight room /classroom/community, and exuded the upmost character. Drew Penz is an outstanding football player [First Team All-MIAC], but his legacy to this program is symbolized by this award. Mary Danielson-Gates attended the banquet and was able to present the award to Drew. Mary has attended the banquet the last several years and it has been wonderful for current players, parents, and coaches to form relationships with her. She continues to be a proud member of the Ole Football Family.
After the awards were distributed and the 14 seniors were honored, the Oles appropriately ended the banquet by singing Um Ya Ya! Thanks to all the parents, coaches, and players who make the banquet possible!