Ouachita leads SR3 in D2CCA All-Region picks

By BRIAN RAMSEY | OBU Sports Network

ARKADELPHIA — Seven members of the Ouachita Baptist University football team have been selected to the 2022 Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-Region Team, the most selections of any team in Super Region 3.

Four Tigers have earned D2CCA All-Region First Team honors, and will be placed on the national ballot in consideration for All-America honors. Those four are senior running back TJ Cole, senior offensive lineman Peyton Stafford, senior offensive lineman Anthony Chairez, and junior punter Joe Couch.

Ouachita also earned three selections to the all-region second team in senior tight end Hunter Swoboda, senior defensive lineman Anthony Freeman, and junior cornerback Andrew Hayes. All seven of Ouachita’s all-region honorees were recently selected to the All-Great American Conference First Team.

For Cole, Stafford, Chairez, and Freeman, this year’s selection marks at least their second time to earn all-region honors during their respective careers.

Ouachita’s first team all-region selections are highlighted by Cole, a finalist for the 2022 Harlon Hill Trophy. Cole broke Ouachita’s single-season records for rushing yards (1,657) and rushing touchdowns (26) this season to go along with a new Ouachita record in career touchdowns (49). He ends his career with 3,986 career rushing yards, ranking second all-time at Ouachita. Stafford, Chairez, and Swoboda were key factors in Cole’s rushing success, paving the way for the Tigers offense, which ranked in the top 10 of multiple national stat categories in 2022.

If Couch met the NCAA minimum of 3.6 punts per game, he would lead the nation in punting with a final total of 32 punts for an average of just over 43 yards. Couch had a final season total of 14 punts downed inside the opponent 20-yard line and seven punts of at least 50 yards, including his best punt of 60 yards against East Central that was downed at the three-yard line.

Freeman led the Tigers this year and ranked second in the GAC in sacks with a final total of six for a combined loss of 46 yards. He had 46 tackles overall, including 10 for a loss of combined 58 yards., which also was a team-high. Hayes tied for the team-high in interceptions with two, while also leading the team in pass breakups with nine.

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