Ricca, Olivero Earn Top Football Player Awards
November 25, 2008
SALEM, VA.-- After winning the ECAC Southeast Bowl and capping their senior season, both Keith Ricca (Poolesville, Md./St. John's Prospect Hall) and Nick Olivero (Fairfax, Va./W.T. Woodson) are likely feeling even better about the 2008 season. Both were named Players of the Year, and Olivero's off field prowess earned him the ODAC/Farm Bureau Scholar-Athlete award as well. In addition to these two players, five other CUA players were named to the ODAC First Team, while five were named to the Second Team, and two earned Honorable Mention.
Catholic University took home three of the top five awards in the annual all-conference voting of the league's football coaches on Monday afternoon. Cardinal quarterback Keith Ricca was named the ODAC Offensive Player of the Year while CUA defensive back Nick Olivero was named the ODAC Defensive Player of the Year as well as the ODAC/Farm Bureau Scholar-Athlete. Randolph-Macon College head coach, Pedro Arruza, earned his first ODAC Coach of the Year award, and Washington and Lee University quarterback, Charlie Westfall, was tabbed as the ODAC Rookie of the Year.
Ricca finished the season as the ODAC's top-rated passer with a 153.7 rating. He also led the league in touchdown passes (34) while only throwing 10 interceptions in 389 attempts. He was second in the league in completion percentage (59.9%), and posted the conference's highest mark for total offense in a game this season with 546 yards (16 rushing and 530 passing) in a win over Guilford. He is the only quarterback in the ODAC to pass for 500 yards or better this season, having also thrown for five touchdowns in a game three different times and registered four 300-plus yard passing games. Ricca finishes his career as the owner of all the major passing records at Catholic including completions (915), yards (11,403), touchdowns (97) and attempts (1,623). He is second in the ODAC record book in each of those career categories.
Olivero is as much a star in the classroom as he is on the field. The Cardinals' senior maintains a 3.79 grade point average as a sociology major. On the field, he led Catholic and the ODAC with 95 tackles this season, 48 solo. He tied for the team lead with four interceptions, having also broken up four passes. He doubled as the team's return man, posting a 24.2 kick-off return average and a 6.7 yard-per-return clip on punts. Olivero made 285 total tackles in his career, and is second all-time at Catholic with 18 career interceptions. Those 18 interceptions also tie him for third in the ODAC history book.
Other All-ODAC First Teamers were Miles Sabrick (Douglassville, Pa./Reading Central Catholic), Jim Gehringer (Chalfont, Pa./LaSalle (Pa.)), Dean Petrone (Hamilton, N.J./The Hun School), who was also the ECAC Southeast Bowl Most Outstanding Player, Bill Gross (Southampton, Pa./Archbishop Wood), and T.J. Breslin (Sugarloaf, Pa./Bishop Hafey (Pa.)).
Ricca, Sabrick, and Gehringer all earned offensive honors while Petrone, Gross, and Olivero grabbed defensive honors. Breslin was honored for his abilities as a specialist.
The All-ODAC Second Team consisted of David Woo (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) on defense. Second Team Offense honors went to Greg Brown (Philadelphia, Pa./Malvern Prep), Andrew Buis (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg), Ryan McManus (Malvern, Pa./Malvern Prep), and Rich Brennan (Summit, N.J./St. Peter's Prep). Sean Green (Salisbury, Md./Parkside) and Chris McNicholas (Philadelphia, Pa./Cardinal Dougherty).