Reaping the benefits from a Frontier Conference championship season, Rocky Mountain College had 12 football players earn all-conference honors for the 2018 season.
Senior quarterback Jacob Bakken was chosen the offensive player of the year by the league’s coaches while Jason Petrino was recognized by his peers as the Frontier Conference coach of the year.
Jason Ferris, a linebacker for Montana Western, was chosen the league’s defensive player of the year.
Bakken, of Wibaux, emerged from an early-season quarterback battle to throw for 3,448 yards and 35 touchdowns. He completed 63 percent of his passes and threw only seven interceptions. The 35 touchdown passes are the most by a Rocky quarterback for official records dating back to 2004, while the 3,448 yards rank fourth best.
Bakken was No. 2 nationally for total offense and total passing yards. He had three games of 400 passing yards or more.
Petrino, in just his third season as head coach, guided Rocky to its first Frontier Conference title since 1999 and first berth in the NAIA playoffs since 2013. The Battlin’ Bears were the league’s lone representative in the postseason.
Also serving as the team’s offensive coordinator, Petrino guided a Rocky offense that ranked No. 2 nationally for total pass offense, No. 7 for total offense per game and No. 9 in scoring.
After a 2-2 start, the Battlin’ Bears put together a six-game win streak. Rocky finished 8-4 overall and 7-3 in the conference. Rocky was ranked No. 16 in the final NAIA Top 25 poll of the regular season.
Joining Bakken on the first team offense were receiver Max Gray and center Troy Bacon. Bacon was a repeat first-team selection.
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Gray finished with a team-high 74 catches for 1,154 yards and 16 touchdowns. The 16 touchdown catches are the most by a Rocky receiver in records available back to 2004. Gray, who led the Battlin’ Bears in scoring, was also a first-team selection as punt returner. He handled 11 punts, averaging almost nine yards a return.
Defensive end Ryder Rice, along with defensive backs Keenan Fagan and Kendell Jefferson were first team selections on defense.
Rice, a junior from Savage, had 17 tackles for loss, including 12.5 quarterback sacks. He ranked fifth nationally for total quarterback sacks this season.
Fagan (4) and Jefferson (3) combined for seven interceptions this season. Rice and Fagan are repeat first team selections, while Jefferson was a second-team choice last year. Fagan also had 59 tackles.
The Rocky defense ranked No. 10 nationally for total sacks and were No. 19 for points allowed per game.
Offensive linemen John Boogard and Zane Guse, along with tight end Darneail Jenkins were second team picks for Rocky. All three are seniors. Jenkins, also second team pick in 2017, finished with 44 catches, 10 for touchdowns.
Linebackers Dallas Mack and Billy Williams were second-team selections for defense. Mack is a junior, while Williams is a senior. Williams had a pick-six this season and also blocked a punt for a touchdown.
Senior Matt Larson earned second-team honors as a punter for the Battlin’ Bears.