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Friday, December 15, 2006

Saluting Santos: QB wins Payton Award



Santos celebrates as he scores against Delaware in September
(AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)

The legend continues to grow for Bellingham's Ricky Santos.

On Thursday night, the University of New Hampshire's record-setting junior quarterback received the prestigious Walter Payton Award, annually awarded to the top player in Division 1-AA/FCS.

Santos was honored in Chattanooga, Tenn., site of tonight's Division 1-AA national championship game between the University of Massachusetts and Appalachian State (ESPN, 8 p.m.).

Santos, who was named a Walter Camp All-American and the Atlantic 10 Football Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year, passed for 29 touchdowns and led all players in the conference at the end of the regular season with 12 rushing touchdowns. He also topped the 3,000-yard passing mark for the third straight time in his career with 3,125 yards. A first-team All-Atlantic 10 selection, he has broken most of UNH’s career passing records.

Santos piloted the Wildcats to a 9-4 record and their third straight apperance in the national quaterfinals. He will enter his senior season with 10,240 career passing yards and 99 touchdown passes. But the most impressive number? The Wildcats are 30-9 since he entered the starting lineup as a freshman.

Closer to home, Wildcat wideout David Ball, Santos' favorite target the last three years, also received a big honor last night. The 6-foot-3 senior received the Harry Agganis Award at the annual New England Football Writers' Captains and Awards banquet held at Casa Di Fior in Wilmington. The Agganis Award honors the top senior football player in New England. He graduates as the Division 1-AA record-holder in TD receptions (56), breaking the former mark of Jerry Rice.

-- Craig Larson

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