HADLEY, Mass. -- Bates seniors Shawn Doherty, Andrew Kukesh and Liam O'Neil were all named First Team All-Conference on Tuesday, as the New England Small College Athletic Conference announced the 2013 All-NESCAC football teams.
It is the first season since 2003 that Bates has had three players selected First Team All-NESCAC. Jeff Bolduc, Mike Moynahan and Mike Horan were the Bobcat trio that year.
It is the second straight year that Kukesh (Exeter, N.H.) has captured First Team Defense laurels, and the third time in his career being named all-conference, since the honor was instituted in 2000. Bates' four-year starting free safety becomes the third Bates player to earn three All-NESCAC honors over his career, joining running back Sean Atkins '03 and defensive lineman Kurt Chapman '03. Kukesh was also an All-East selection by D3football.com last season, and a preseason All-America pick by two media outlets prior to this season.
O'Neil (Hingham, Mass.) is now a two-time All-NESCAC honoree, having won Second Team Offense honors a year ago.
Doherty (Mansfield, Mass.), the team co-captain along with Kukesh, got a nod as a running back on the First Team. The slotback led the NESCAC in all-purpose yards from start to finish, with 156.6 per game, including 541 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 93 attempts (5.8 yards per carry). He is 35th among all Division III players in all-purpose yards per game. Doherty averaged 26.0 yards on his 23 kickoff returns, ranking second in the league in that category, and also caught 16 passes for 116 yards. Doherty was eighth in the NESCAC in rushing yards per game (67.6), while senior teammate Ryan Curit (South Portland, Maine) ranked fourth, at 76.0.
As Bates' starting right offensive tackle, O'Neil was one big reason that Doherty, Curit and other Bates backs were able to lead the conference in rushing yards per game, at 231.5. Bates ranked 34th in all of Division III in rushing, and also protected its quarterbacks well, allowing just 10 sacks in eight games on the season. Other key contributors on Bates' offensive line included senior guard Michael Bernstein (New York, N.Y.), junior center Larry Guinee (Peabody, Mass.), sophomore guard Lyle Seebeck (Chicago, Ill.), first-year tackle Mitch Hildreth (Needham, Mass.) and junior two-way lineman Owen Mahan (Camden, Maine).
Kukesh registered another outstanding season in 2013, perhaps his finest in an illustrious career. He totaled eight or more tackles in every game, racking up a career-high 81 tackles, including 60 solo stops. Kukesh led the NESCAC and ranked third in Division III in solo tackles per game (7.5), and he was second in the NESCAC in tackles per game (10.1). He also had three interceptions for 17 in his career.