Football | Friday, January 4, 2013
Pastorino Earns Second Team All-America Recognition
Senior safety is Willamette's ninth All-America selection since 2003
SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University senior safety Cody Pastorino (Glenn, CA/Willows HS) has been named Second Team All-America by D3football.com. Overall, a total of 100 NCAA Division III athletes were selected for All-America recognition, with 25 players each named to the First Team, Second Team, Third Team and Fourth Team.
Pastorino was eligible for the All-America Team after being named First Team All-West Region last month. He also was chosen First Team All-Northwest Conference for the second year in a row.
"Cody is the type of player every coach wants," said Willamette Head Coach Glen Fowles. "He is a naturally gifted athlete that has a real 'feel' for the game of football."
This season, Pastorino led the Bearcats with five interceptions for 53 yards. With 62 tackles (40 solo), Pastorino was Willamette's second-leading tackler, and also tied for second on the team with 6 pass breakups. He achieved 2.0 sacks and 4.5 tackles for losses.
Pastorino registered at least one interception in three of Willamette's first four games of the season, as the Bearcats earned road wins at Hardin-Simmons University (Tex.) and Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.), while defeating NWC rival Pacific University at home.
Pastorino's pick against Sewanee, which came in the fourth quarter at the Bearcats' 10-yard line, snuffed out a Sewanee drive and kept Willamette within 24-21. Ultimately, it allowed the Bearcats to earn a tough 28-24 victory.
In a home contest against East Texas Baptist University, Pastorino made another key fourth quarter play, forcing a fumble after ETBU had closed Willamette's lead to 35-24. That play came after Pastorino had earlier blocked an ETBU extra point that would have made the score 35-25.
As the season continued, so did Pastorino's stellar defensive play. In a road victory at Whitworth University, Pastorino broke up two passes and registered one sack. Pastorino also registered a sack the following week against rival Lewis & Clark College.
In a pivotal game at Pacific University, Pastorino broke up three passes as the Bearcats came from behind to claim a 35-31 victory. Pastorino also earned eight tackles in that game. Just one week later, in Willamette's senior day contest against the University of Puget Sound, Pastorino registered a team-high 12 tackles in WU's 55-0 win.
"In football, everyone wants to win, but not everyone has the desire to prepare to win," Fowles said. "Cody prepares himself as well as any player I have been around – both physically and mentally. Combine this with his natural athletic ability, his 'feel' for the game, and his leadership qualities, and Cody becomes the player that every coach wishes they had."
In addition to his outstanding defense, Pastorino also blocked three kicks on special teams, bringing his career total to a remarkable seven blocks over the last three seasons.
"Cody is probably the best special teams player we have ever had at Willamette," said Josh Scott, in his 13th year running the Bearcats' special teams. "He has an innate ability to simply make plays, especially when it came to blocking punts.
"A majority of our schemes this year revolved around getting him into a position where he could go one-on-one. In this situation, he was unblockable, and our team usually benefited from a big play," Scott said.
Pastorino and six other Willamette football players have been honored as D3football.com All-America selections a total of nine times.
Previous Bearcat honorees were linebacker Ralph Pineda, 2009 (3rd Team); offensive tackle Jake Forshey, 2008 (2nd Team); flanker Merben Woo, 2008 (2nd Team); offensive guard/tackle Brandon Bennett, 2007 (3rd Team), 2006 (HM), 2005 (HM); center Billy Joe Murray, 2003 (2nd Team); and offensive tackle Morgan Smith, 2003 (HM).
In addition to its All-America teams, D3football.com named Nate Wara, a quarterback at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, as the NCAA Division III Offensive Player of the Year. Javicz Jones, a linebacker at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, was selected NCAA Division III Defensive Player of the Year.
Larry Kehres, head coach at the University of Mount Union, was chosen NCAA Division III Coach of the Year. Kehres guided Mount Union to its 11th NCAA title this season.
The Bearcats, who finished 8-2 overall, 4-2 in the NWC (3rd place), played a challenging schedule in 2012 that featured six road games and just four home games. WU's only losses on the year were road games at nationally-ranked NCAA Division III playoff participants Pacific Lutheran University and Linfield College.
Willamette's 8-2 record in Fowles' first season as head coach represents the best first-year record for a head coach in Bearcat football history, and is the third time Willamette has finished with eight or more wins since 2008.