ROCK HILL, S.C. – The South Atlantic Conference announced its AstroTurf Football Players of the Week for games played Sept. 17 through Sept. 23. Mars Hill wide receiver Craig Rucker was tabbed as the Offensive Player of the Week, while Wingate defensive end Cardell Rawlings was named the Defensive Player of the Week, and Newberry kicker Shea Rodgers was named Special Teams Player of the Week.
Rucker, a junior from Orlando, Fla., led the Lions to a 39-33 win over SAC foe Catawba last week. He hauled in 11 catches for 174 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning grab with 30 seconds left in regulation. He also rushed for 33 yards in the win, finishing with 207 all-purpose yards. This is Rucker's first Player of the Week honor this season.
Rawlings, a senior from Smithfield, N.C., had an outstanding game on defense against one of the most prolific offenses in the SAC, Lenoir-Rhyne. He piled up 14 tackles, including six solo tackles. Along with his 14 tackles, he had five tackles for loss with 3.5 sacks, forced two fumbles and had two quarterback hurries. This is Rawlings' first Defensive Player of the Week accolade this season.
Rodgers, a junior from Indian Land, S.C., led the Newbery to a stunning 23-3 upset of preseason favorite Carson-Newman. He booted four punts and connected on two field goal attempts and two extra points. He averaged 52 yards on his punts, including a career-long 70-yard punt in the first quarter. Three of his four punts were placed inside the 20-yard line and two of his four went for 50-plus yards. His perfect placekicking game moved him up the career ranks in NCAA Division II. He is now No. 2 among active kickers in career field goal percentage at .850 (17-for-20). This is Rodger's first Player of the Week award of the season.
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