Jan. 12, 2009
Wide receiver Tony Davis, defensive end Greg Peach and special teams standout Nicholas Ramos were awarded team MVP accolades from the 2008 season at the Eastern Washington University Football Awards Banquet on Jan. 9.
Davis received the offensive MVP honor and Peach won on the defensive side. Ramos was the special teams MVP for the Eagles.
Other award winners included quarterback Jeff Minnerly as the offensive scout team player of the year and defensive lineman Jim Haman as the defensive scout team player of the year. Also recognized were EWU’s 2008 co-captains -- defensive end Jason Belford and quarterback Matt Nichols.
Senior long snapper Mark Lathim was also presented with the Pat Roberts Memorial Award. Former Eagle Kyler Randall (2000-01-02-03) who is currently in Honduras working for the Peace Corp, received the Tom Oswald Memorial Award.
Davis was a junior from Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS ’05) who earned honorable mention All-Big Sky Conference honors and Big Sky All-Academic accolades in 2008. He caught 53 passes for 579 yards and three touchdowns.
Peach, a senior from Vancouver, Wash. (Evergreen HS ’05), won the Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. He was named to the first team on all five All-America teams at the FCS level (American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp, Associated Press, Sports Network, College Sporting News) and was named defensive player of the year by the Sports Network (Buchanan Award), College Sporting News and the Big Sky Conference. His 18 sacks in 2008 led FCS.
Ramos, a 2005 graduate from Winters, Calif., High School, averaged 23.2 yards on kickoff returns and was a mainstay on kick coverage units with 12 tackles, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Also a 5-foot-8 backup wide receiver, he caught eight passes for 88 yards.
Minnerly redshirted after graduating from Ferris High School in Spokane in 2008. Haman is a 2007 graduate of Milwaukie, Ore., High School and Lathim was a 2004 graduate of Connell, Wash., High School. Lathim was Eastern’s long snapper all four years he played for the Eagles.
Belford, one of 18 seniors on the 2008 squad, graduated from Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash., in 2004. Nichols, who will be a senior for the Eagles in the 2009 season, is from Cottonwood, Calif., and graduated from West Valley High School in 2005.
Thanks to a three-game winning streak to end the 2008 season -- including a season-ending victory over eighth-ranked and Big Sky Conference champion Weber State -- Eastern salvaged the 2008 season with its 11th winning season in the last 13 years.
As a result, the off-season will again be filled with high expectations for the 2009 season. The Eagles expect to return 39 letter winners, including nine starters on offense and seven on defense. Among the 18 seniors Eastern had on its 2008 roster, six were starters in addition to the team’s kicker, punter and long snapper.
The Eagles ended the regular season with a victory for the 10th time in the last 12 seasons. Eastern opened November with a 15-13 home loss to Sacramento State to fall to 3-5 for the season, but rallied for wins at Northern Colorado (31-16), at home versus Northern Arizona (28-13) and Weber State (33-26).
The Eagles had entered the year as the seventh-ranked team in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision and had hopes of qualifying for the FCS Playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. But three losses in a four-game stretch from Oct. 4 to Nov. 1 spoiled those hopes.
Weber State had entered its game with EWU having already clinched at least a share of the Big Sky title and assured itself of the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Football FCS Playoffs. But the loss to EWU, coupled with Montana’s victory over Montana State, also gave the Grizzlies a share of the league title. It was the 11th-straight season UM has won or shared the Big Sky title, and they went on to defeat Weber State in the quarterfinals of the playoffs after both schools picked up first-round wins. Montana would finish as the FCS runner-up.
Montana and Weber State both finished with a 7-1 Big Sky record, with fifth-ranked ending the season 14-2 and the Wildcats closing at 10-4 overall. The Eagles finished their season 6-5 overall and 5-3 in the Big Sky to finish third.
For 18 Eastern seniors, including 11 four-year letter winners, the Weber State game was their final hurrah. Several of those players were in the program since 2004 and had been a part of two Big Sky championships (2004, 2005), three playoff berths (2004, 2005, 2007) and 34 total victories.