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Frontier Conference places seven on NAIA All-America football teams

Michael Palandri UM Western.jpg
Posted at 5:32 PM, Dec 13, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Seven football players from the Frontier Conference were named to the 2023 AFCA NAIA Coaches' All-America Teams, which were announced Tuesday.

Rocky Mountain College defensive back Kaysan Barnett, Montana Tech punter Andrew Almos, College of Idaho offensive lineman Garrett Rehberg and Southern Oregon defensive lineman Noah Turnbull were first-team selections.

Barnett led the Battlin' Bears with four interceptions and 11 pass breakups this season. His four interceptions tied for the second most in the Frontier Conference this season, while his 11 pass breakups were tied for the most in the conference during the regular season. He also added 29 total tackles and two tackles for loss.

Almos, a junior from Great Falls, led the Frontier and the nation in punting this season. The Great Falls High product averaged 45.9 yards per punt. Almos landed 17 of his 26 punts inside the 20-yard line with just three touchbacks.

Carroll offensive lineman Hunter Mecham was a second-team selection, while Western's Michael Palandri and Marcus Lombard were third-team selections.

Mecham anchored the left side of Carroll's offensive line for the past four seasons. He started 38 games for the Saints dating back to the 2019 season. Mecham and the Fighting Saints allowed only 13 sacks this season.

Palandri, a quarterback from Maple Valley, Wash., was also chosen the Frontier Conference offensive player of the year after he led the conference with 269.0 passing yards per game (eighth in the NAIA). His pass efficiency rating of 165.5 also ranked sixth in the country. He was in the top 15 for total completions, completion percentage, total passing yards, yards per game and total touchdowns.

Lombard, an offensive lineman from Laie, Hawaii, helped a Bulldog offense that led the conference and was fifth in the NAIA with 455.5 yards of offense per game. UMW also led the Frontier with 176.9 rushing yards per game (22nd in NAIA) and ranked second in the Frontier with 36.8 points per game (15th in NAIA).

View the complete All-America teams.