The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) has announced its 2019 Football All-Conference Teams, including 10 members from the Winona State University Warriors. The list of Warrior award winners includes All-NSIC South First Team Offense, Sam Santiago-Lloyd; All-NSIC South First Team Defense, Isaiah Hall, Nick Pridgeon; All-NSIC South First Team Special Teams, Paul Ortiz (K & P) and Jake Balliu; All-NSIC South Second Team Offense, Carter Berlin and Jake Balliu; All-NSIC South Second Team Defense, Michael Gomez and Devon Moore; All-NSIC South Second Team Special Teams, Isaiah Hall; and All-NSIC South Honorable Mention, Cam Gavin and Cole LaLiberty.
Santiago-Lloyd, a first time All-NSIC recipient, rushed for career highs in yards (956) and touchdowns (8). The junior ranked third in the NSIC in yards/game (95.6), and fourth in rushing yards and touchdowns. Santiago-Lloyd racked up 1,094 all-purpose yards despite missing the final game of the regular season.
Hall was an All-Conference First Teamer for Defense and Special Teams a year ago. The junior recorded 48 tackles (30 solo) one forced fumble, two interceptions and eight pass break-ups. On special teams, Hall led the NSIC and ranked 14th in the country in kickoff returns (27.9 yards/return). His 585 kick return yards are a new career best, and were highlighted by a 98-yard touchdown return.
Pridgeon, the 2019 NSIC Southern Preseason Player of the Year, is a three-time All-NSIC honoree, earning First Team honors for the first time. After returning from a 2018 injury, the redshirt senior led the Warriors with a career-high 70 tackles (37 solo) with 1.5 sacks and 12.0 TFL. Pridgeon recorded two forced fumbles and two interceptions.
Ortiz earns NSIC All-Conference honors for the first time in his career. The senior led the league in field goals made (18-22) and had a career-long 49-yarder this season. Ortiz also handled the punting duties in 2019, posting an average of 38.98 yards/punt with eight attempts sailing over 50 yards and 17 times pinning the opponent inside the 20-yard line.
Balliu, a three-time All-Conference recipient, is named to the First Team for the second time. The redshirt junior also returned from a season-ending injury in 2018 and ranked second in the NSIC and 16th in the country in punt return average (12.0). Additionally, Balliu led Winona State in catches (45), receiving yards (569) and touchdowns (7) while ranking sixth in the NSIC in TD catches.
Berlin, despite missing the final five games due to injury, repeats as an All-Conference First Team member.
Gomez, another Warrior who missed the 2018 campaign with an injury, becomes a two-time First Team recipient. The redshirt junior led WSU in sacks (5.0), ranked second in TFL (10.5), and third in total tackles (49) while recording one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Moore earns All-Conference Second Team honors for the second straight year while also having his 2019 season cut short due to injury. The junior captain recorded 28 tackles (16 solo) with 3.0 TFL in five games.
Gavin, another Warrior who missed 2018 with an injury, bounced back for a great year in 2019 to earn his first All-NSIC nod. The redshirt junior totaled 47 tackles (34 solo), had a team-best nine pass break-ups, and was second in the team in interceptions (3).
Cole LaLiberty continued to battle through an injury-plagued career to earn honorable mention status for the second straight season. The redshirt junior started the first eight games of the 2019 campaign before having his year cut short due to injury.
Winona State (8-3) will continue its 2019 season into the postseason when the Warriors take on the University of Nebraska-Kearney in the Mineral Water Bowl on Saturday, December 7, at 12 p.m.