AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – The Wilmington College football team was well represented on the All-Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) teams that the league announced on Tuesday morning.
For special awards, senior linebacker Tavion Bryant was named the Gene Slaughter Award winner and Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Corey Fillipovich garnered Assistant Coach of the Year honors. Itika Wynn Jr., Caleb Deaver and garnered All-OAC Offensive recognition while Bryant, Tre'Quez Parks and Brandon Weaver were named to the All-OAC defensive team. Additionally, a trio of Fightin' Quakers – Ace Taylor, Xzerious Stinnett and Jarod Lee – earned Honorable Mention All-OAC honors.
Fillipovich, who finished his fourth season as Wilmington's defensive coordinator, engineered quite the improvement in the Quakers' defense in the spring of 2021. The Quakers improved in nearly every statistical category including most notably: points allowed (41.4 to 27.6), yards allowed (438 to 309) and rushing yards allowed (197 to 86).
"The job Coach Fillipovich was able to do with our defense this year was nothing short of remarkable," Head Football Coach Bryan Moore said. " It is great to see the passion and effort he puts into this defense and into this program has been noticed by other coaches around the OAC. There was a noticeable difference in how fast and physical we played."
Bryant, the leader of the Wilmington linebacking core, tallied 31 tackles during the 2021 spring season including a team-high six for loss. The Beechcroft High School alumnus had a critical second-half interception that fueled the team's 17-10 comeback win at Otterbein University on March 19 and also forced a fumble and had a sack in a loss at Ohio Northern University on April 2.
"Tavion is a special player, a special leader a special person, and has been a vital piece of the puzzle in our rebuilding process," said Moore. "The growth and development he has shown each year is a road map to success for everyone else to follow. How he played on Friday nights is exactly how he practiced every day during the week - confident, vocal, physical, and always around the football."
Parks, a high school teammate of Bryant, led the Wilmington defense with 41 total tackles for an average of over eight per contest. The senior had 5.5 tackles for loss, one sack, two pass breakups and an interception which occurred against Heidelberg University.
Wynn Jr, a First Team All-OAC selection from a season ago, led Wilmington's receiving core with 34 catches for 440 yards and five touchdowns. The Columbus, Ohio, native finished second in the OAC in receptions and fourth in touchdowns. One of those touchdowns capped a 90-plus yard drive late in the fourth quarter to beat Capital University in the season-opener.
Deaver, a three-year starter on Wilmington's offensive line, aided quarterback Kyle Barrett to averaging over 280 yards per game as well as creating holes for the Quaker's quartet of running backs to average nearly 100 yards per game.
Weaver has started the last two years on the Quakers' defensive line. He finished with 15 total tackles, five of which were for loss, to go along with two sacks and a forced fumble.
Ace Taylor was Barrett's second-favorite target as the Purcell Marian alumnus hauled in 22 receptions for 256 yards and a touchdown. Lee and Stinnett, both freshmen, had over 35 tackles and one sack on the season. Lee picked off two passes, one at Otterbein and the other versus Heidelberg, while Stinnett had an interception at Ohio Northern.
Wilmington finished the 2021 spring season with a 2-3 record and a third-place finish in the Western Division of the OAC.