Central Missouri QB Eric Czerniewski

Ronnie Ramos, NCAA.com

FLORENCE, Ala. -- University of Central Missouri senior quarterback Eric Czerniewski won the Harlon Hill Trophy Friday night as the 2010 Division II player of the year.

Czerniewski, the most prolific passer in DII this year, claimed the DII version of the Heisman Trophy at a ceremony before 400 people on the eve of the DII national championship game.

"This is a storybook ending to a great career at Central Missouri," Czerniewski said in accepting the award after the closest vote in Hill Trophy history. Czerniewski finished six votes ahead of West Liberty (W.Va.) University quarterback Zach Amedro in the closest voting in the award's 25-year history.

Amedro was the runner-up for the second consecutive year. Northwest Missouri State quarterback Blake Bolles was third with 64 points in voting by Division II sports information directors.

"I know it definitely would be close," Czerniewski said. "I'm very excited and still shocked and surprised about the whole thing. It's just an honor to win this trophy. It means the world to me. You can say anything you can imagine, that is what it means."

Czerniewski set Division II records this season with 5,207 yards passing and a nation-leading 46 touchdown passes. He guided Central Missouri to an 11-3 record and into the quarterfinals of the playoffs. His career total of 12,847 yards is the fourth best in DII history.

"He took it to another level this year," Central Missouri head coach Jim Svoboda said. "Like he said, he had a tremendous supporting cast around him. And we were in a position where we needed to throw the ball offensively. Probably the most impressive thing is that we kind of put the whole thing on his shoulders. We weren't going to be a team that line up and pound the football. It just wasn't our makeup.

He never felt the pressure, he just did what he did because he has great passion for the game."

Czerniewski said he hasn't ruled out trying to play as a professional. "Anything, I guess is a possibility, but I actually accepted an assistant manager role with Sherwin-Williams in Kansas City."

Harlon Hill was a star receiver for Florence State Teachers College -- now North Alabama -- and the Chicago Bears.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Harlon Hill Trophy winners
Year Player Pos. School   Year Player Pos. School
2010 Eric Czerniewski QB Central Missouri   1997 Irvin Sigler RB Bloomsburg
2009 Joique Bell RB Wayne State   1996 Jarrett Anderson RB Truman State
2008 Bernard Scott RB Abilene Christian   1995 Ronald McKinnon LB North Alabama
2007 Danny Woodhead RB Chadron State   1994 Chris Hatcher QB Valdosta State
2006 Danny Woodhead RB Chadron State   1993 Roger Graham RB New Haven
2005 Jimmy Terwilliger QB East Stroudsburg   1992 Ronald Moore RB Pittsburg State
2004 Chad Friehauf QB Colorado Mines   1991 Ronnie West WR Pittsburg State
2003 Will Hall QB North Alabama   1990 Chris Simdorn QB North Dakota State
2002 Curt Anes QB Grand Valley State   1989 Johnny Bailey RB Texas A&I
2001 Dusty Bonner QB Valdosta State   1988 Johnny Bailey RB Texas A&I
2000 Dusty Bonner QB Valdosta State   1987 Johnny Bailey RB Texas A&I
1999 Corte McGuffey QB Northern Colorado   1986 Jeff Bentrim QB North Dakota State
1998 Brian Shay RB Emporia State