Eight Coyotes earn Valley preseason accolades

Photo: Brent Nathaniel

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (GoYotes.com) — Eight South Dakota Coyotes – all seniors but one – are featured on the Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason team released Wednesday as voted on by coaches, sports information directors and a media panel.

Running back Kai Henry, tight end Brett Samson, offensive lineman Mason Scheidegger, linebacker Jack Cochrane and punter Brady Schutt were named to the 31-player team. Wide receiver Caleb Vander Esch, kicker Mason Lorber and junior long snapper Dalton Godfrey earned honorable mention.

Schutt (Orange City, Iowa) is a preseason all-American and a 2019 first-team all-MVFC selection. He finished as the nation’s fourth-leading punter that year with a 45.1-yard average. That average helped the unit finish seventh nationally in net punting. Schutt will be a four-year starter for the Coyotes who enters this season with a 42.5-yard career average.

Cochrane (Mount Vernon, Iowa) is one of three Coyotes on the preseason team who earned second-team all-Valley accolades in 2019. He was a first-team academic all-MVFC selection that year. Cochrane led the Valley and ranked 43rd nationally in total tackles with 106 last season. He also led USD with two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Samson (Oconomowoc, Wisconsin) was a second-team all-MVFC pick in 2019 after catching 26 passes for 301 yards and five touchdowns. He was the Coyotes’ third-leading receiver and caught the second-most touchdowns. Samson has competed in 36 games at USD, totaling 58 receptions for 653 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns.

Vander Esch (San Jose, California) ranked fourth in the Valley in receiving yards (651) and touchdown catches (6) and had the sixth-most receptions (45) in earning all-Valley honors in 2019. He was the Coyotes’ leading receiver in six consecutive games and in seven overall. He enters 2021 137 yards shy of 1,000 for his career.

Scheidegger (Fonda, Iowa) has earned honorable mention all-MVFC honors in each of the last two seasons. He has competed at all five positions on the offensive line during his career, but played mainly at left guard in 2018 and right guard in 2019. USD has led the Valley in passing three years in a row and had three 300-yard rushing performances in 2019.

Henry (Miami, Florida) is coming off his best season in 2019, though he’s been as consistent as they come throughout his tenure. He finished as the fifth-leading rusher in the Valley last season at 72.5 yards per game. He ran 136 times for 797 yards for a career-best 5.9-yard average. He ran for nine touchdowns last campaign and has scored 23 times in 34 career games. He enters 2021 81 yards shy of 2,000 career rushing yards.

Lorber (New London, Iowa) earned honorable mention honors last season after being the highest-scoring kicker in Valley play with 56 points, 11 clear of the field. He was also the most accurate kicker in Valley play, making all 35 extra points and going 7-of-8 on field goals. Overall, he made nine triples and has totaled 21 field goals in two seasons.

Godfrey (Cedar Falls, Iowa) has paired perfectly with Schutt and Lorber in each of the last two seasons as their snapper. Godfrey was also an honorable mention choice a season ago. He was even honored as the MVFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the Coyotes’ 24-21 win against South Dakota State in the season finale.

The 2020-21 regular season begins Feb. 19 when the Coyotes host Western Illinois in a 6 p.m. kickoff inside the DakotaDome.