Cats cap season with awards banquet

The Wildcats officially put an end to the 2003 season, and in essence, the John Mackovic era. While the actual season ended on Friday in Tempe, the Wildcats said goodbye with their annual awards banquet.

Sophomore halfback Mike Bell (Phoenix, Ariz.) was named the team's Most Valuable Player for the 2003 season at the University of Arizona Football Awards banquet Sunday evening.

Bell, who closed the season with 168 carries for 920 yards, six touchdowns and a 5.5 yards-per-carry average, also earned top honors as the Most Valuable Offensive Player. Senior linebacker Joe Siofele (Waipahu, Hawaii), who led the team with 7.5 tackles for loss and finished second on the team with 84 tackles, was named the team's Most Valuable Defensive Player. Senior cornerback Gary Love (Los Angeles, Calif.) earned the team's Most Valuable Special Teams Player Award, finishing the season with 49 tackles.

All four of the MVP honors, plus the UA's captains awards, are citations picked by the players.

The Wildcats elected Love, senior linebacker Clay Hardt (Tucson, Ariz.), and senior offensive lineman Reggie Sampay (Houston, Texas) as the team's captains for the season. Hardt (defense), Love (special teams) and Sampay (offense) were four-year lettermen.

Junior center Keoki Fraser (Kailua, Hawaii) won the team's Martin Gentry Lineman of the Year Award for offense, while sophomore defensive end Marcus Smith (San Diego, Calif.) earned the Martin Gentry Award on the defensive side.

The Coach's Recognition Award for outstanding performance and team leadership by a senior was given to offensive tackle Brandon Phillips (Chandler, Ariz.).

Senior defensive tackle Carl Tuitavuki (Oakland, Calif.) earned the Golden "A" Award for exemplary leadership, citizenship and overall effort in team contributions.

Senior linebacker Matt Molina (Scottsdale, Ariz.) was honored with the Jim Ewing Memorial Award for superior character and scholastic performance, while redshirt freshman place kicker Nicholas Folk (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) earned the Undergraduate Academics Award for the best grade point average and classroom excellence.

True freshman quarterback Kris Heavner (Johnson City, Texas) received the Offensive Newcomer of the Year Award, while true freshman tackle Clifton Stanford (Los Angeles, Calif.) earned the Defensive Newcomer of the Year honor. Heavner took over as Arizona's starting quarterback after four games, and he was one of only six other true freshmen around the country to have started for a Division I-A team this season. In his first season, Heavner completed 121-of-237 (51.1 percent) passes for 1,501 yards, and he had 15 interceptions and eight touchdowns.

Champion Player-of-the-Year Awards for outstanding performances on scout teams went to freshman tight end Matt Richards (Cupertino, Calif.) for offense, freshman defensive lineman Bobby Kaspar (Austin, Texas) for defense and sophomore wide receiver Chris Landauer (Columbus, Ohio) for special teams.

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