SUNY Cortland's Dan MacNeill named Div. III East Region Coach of the Year

The following is a republished press release…to submit a community announcement, email Peter Blanchard at [email protected].

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CORTLAND, N.Y. – SUNY Cortland senior defensive end Jake Ceresna (New Fairfield, CT), junior strong safety Carson Lassiter (Madison, NJ), senior kick returner Dylan Peebles (Port Leyden/South Lewis) and junior quarterback Steven Ferreira (West Sayville/Sayville) have been selected to the 2015 All-East Region team. Ceresna and Lassiter are second-team honorees, while Peebles and Ferreira were named third-team all-region. In addition, Cortland 19th-year head coach Dan MacNeill has been named the East Region Coach of the Year.

Dan MacNeill

Dan MacNeill

The players are eligible for All-America honors, which will be announced on Friday, Dec. 18, at the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl (Div. III national title game) in Salem, Va.

Ceresna started all 12 games this fall and finished with 63 tackles, 38 solo. He led the Red Dragons with 9.5 sacks and 18.5 total tackles for loss, and also registered six pass breakups, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and 17 quarterback hurries. He ranks in the top 50 nationally in Division III in both sacks and total tackles for loss.

Lassiter led Cortland this fall with 100 tackles, 68 solo, from his strong safety position. He's the first Red Dragon to register 100 tackles in a season in five years. Lassiter led Cortland with 13 passes defended (three interceptions, team-high 10 pass breakups), and he also totaled two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 3.5 tackles for loss. He led the Empire 8 with 5.7 solo tackles per game.

Peebles earned all-region honors for the third straight year. He was a first-team all-region selection last season and a third-team choice in 2013. This fall, Peebles ranked in the top 20 nationally with 26.8 yards per kickoff return on 25 returns. He returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown at Framingham State and had three other returns of more than 45 yards. Peebles finished his three-year Cortland career with 31.2 yards per kickoff return on 62 attempts with a school-record five touchdowns.

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The SUNY Cortland Football team celebrating their sixth consecutive Cortaca Jug victory over Ithaca College (Darl Zehr Photography)

Ferreira completed 225-of-339 passes (66.4 percent) for 3,127 yards and 29 touchdowns with only five interceptions in 11 games. He also rushed for 200 net yards and seven touchdowns. Ferreira set school single-season records for passing yardage, completions, pass efficiency rating (169.1), and total offense (3,327 yards), and his 29 TD passes are second-best in school history. Ferreira ranks in the top 10 nationally in passing efficiency and total passing yards and in the top 15 in completion percentage and total passing touchdowns.

MacNeill guided the Red Dragons to a 9-3 overall record and a 6-2 mark to win the Empire 8 title in the program's first year as a league member. Cortland clinched the conference title with its sixth straight win over Ithaca in the annual Cortaca Jug game. The Red Dragons won their NCAA playoff opener versus Salisbury before falling at Linfield in the second round. MacNeill and his assistants were named the Empire 8 Coaching Staff of the Year, and MacNeill was previously chosen as the New Jersey Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2012. He is's East Region Coach of the Year for the first time; the award originated in 2005.

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