USF’s Sparks named MSFL Defensive Player of the Year

FINDLAY, Ohio – University of Saint Francis defensive end Lucas Sparks has been voted Mid-States Football Association Mideast League Defensive Player of the Year the MSFA announced on Thursday.

Sparks (Springfield, OH / Shawnee H.S.) finished ninth in NAIA regular season sacks with 9.5 and was named MSFA MEL Player of the Week after USF defeated Olivet Nazarene University on Sept. 3. He had 15 tackles for loss, 26th in NAIA, and averaged 1.0 sacks per game, ninth in NAIA. Sparks is the first USF defensive player to win the award since Brian Kurtz was chosen in 2006. He is the seventh Cougar selected for the honor. (see list below)

USF had 19 total selections – 10 first team, six second team and three honorable mention.

Sparks was one of 10 Cougars named All-MSFA MEL first team and one of 19 Cougars selected. Two-time selections included Sparks, junior WR Seth Coate (Ft. Wayne, Ind.), QB Nick Ferrer (Westfield, Ind.), OL Keegan Bruner (Warsaw, Ind.), LB Spencer Cowherd (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and

LB Piercen Harnish (Bluffton, Ind.). Ferrer was 2015 MSFA MEL Player of the Year and led the MSFA MEL in TD passes in 2016 with 35.

First-time offensive selections included senior WR Montay McDowell (Indianpolis, Ind.), and senior center Brian Gegner (Indianapolis, Ind.).

First-time defensive picks included sophomore tackle Eric Hemmelgarn (Portland, Ind.) and senior corner back Na’Shawn Lewis (Indianapolis, Ind.).

USF Second-Team selections included . . .


RB: So. Justin Green (Griffith, Ind).

LINEMEN: Sr. Zach Minardo (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Jr. Alex Woods (Indianapolis, Ind.)


LINEMEN: Sr. Christian Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.)

LB: So. Eric Dunten (Fort Wayne, Ind.)


Honorable Mention:

Sr.TE Jason Nicodemus (Churubusco, Ind.) TE

Jr. DB Lee Stewart (Lima, Ohio)

So. DB Wilmer Cole (Indianapolis, Ind.)


USF MSFA MEL Players of the Year

  1. Jeremy Dutcher, Sr. 2000  WR
  2. Cory Jacquay, Jr. 2004      RB
  3. Chris Bramell, Sr., 2005     QB
  4. Brian Kurtz, Sr.     2006       LB
  5. Cam Edwards, Sr. 2013     OL
  6. Nick Ferrer, So.    2015       QB
  7. Lucas Sparks, Sr. 2016    DE