The Benton Courier

Givens, Johnson highlight all-region picks

Special to The Saline Courier


The Ouachita Baptist University football team tied for the second-most selections to the 2023 NCAA Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-Super Region Three Teams, highlighted by two first team selections in junior running back Kendel Givens and junior safety Josiah Johnson.

Givens and Johnson are now eligible for D2CCA All-America honors, which will be announced next month.

The Tigers also earned three second team allregion selections in freshman return specialist Carter McElhany, senior offensive tackle Zac Henson, and junior receiver Connor Flannigan.

All five are earning their first all-region honors of their collegiate careers. All were recently selected to the All-Great American Conference First Team.

Givens currently leads all of NCAA D2 in total touchdowns with 25, 21 of those coming on the ground. The Little Rock native ranks second in D2 in rushing touchdowns, total points scored (150), and scoring per game (13.6). He had seven games with at least two rushing touchdowns, and three games with at least three. He broke Ouachita’s career rushing touchdown record this season and has 57 heading into his final campaign in 2024. He also broke the school record for career scoring this year with 378 points and counting.

Johnson led Ouachita and was the GAC’s fourth-best tackler this season with a total of 90 and an average of

8.2 per game. The Little Rock native was third in the league in solo tackles. He was named the GAC Defensive

Player of the Week after helping Ouachita beat Northwestern Oklahoma State 66-0, a game in which he had an interception, three tackles, and one sack.

McElhany wasted no time to make an impact on the Tiger football program and the GAC. The Greenbrier native

was named the GAC Freshman of the Year in 2023 after leading the league and ranking 13th in the nation in kickoff returns with an average of 27.1 per return. He was named the GAC Special Teams Player of the

Week twice, the second following a 94-yard return for a touchdown against Arkansas-Monticello. He was also second on the team in receiving with 13 receptions for 266 yards and two touchdowns.

Henson was Ouachita’s top offensive lineman this season and one of the

best in the region. The Alma native graded out at 91 percent for season.

He committed zero holding penalties, gave up just two sacks, and totaled 76 domination blocks in 11 games.

Flannigan was an AllGAC first team selection at receiver and was also named an honorable mention as a return specialist. The Fayetteville native was the top receiver in the GAC this season and ranked top 20 nationally in receiving yards (948), yards per game (86.2), and receptions per game (6.6). He had a final total of 73 receptions for 948 yards with six touchdowns. He had five games with at least 100 receiving yards. He was also

Ouachita’s punt return specialist this season with eight returns for an average of 13.13 yards.

Super Region Three consists of teams from the GAC, the MidAmerica Intercollegiate Athletics Association, the Great Lakes

Valley Conference, and the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference. Grand Valley State and Harding, the two teams still remaining in the playoffs from the region, tied for the most all-region selections with seven each. Ouachita’s five selections tied for second-most with Central Missouri and Ferris State.





Alberta Newspaper Group