MARSHFIELD, Mass. - The New England Football Writers (NEFW) announced their major award winners and Division II/III All Stars this weekend. Husson University running back John Smith (Fayetville, Ga.) earned the Division II/III season Gold Helmet Award while Eagles head coach Gabby Price was named the New England College Division Coach of the Year. Presented by the Jack Grinold/Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation, the Gold Helmet Awards are given to the player deemed to be the player of the year in Division I FBS/FCS and Division II/III. In addition to Smith, three other ECFC student athletes were selected to the NEFW All Star team.
Husson University led the way for the ECFC with two selections in Smith and defensive back Quan Soyini (Manchester, Conn.). Eric Decker (Colchester, Vt.) of Castleton University was among the offensive line selections and Ricco Aaron (Douglasville, Ga.) of Dean College earned a spot as a linebacker to round out the ECFC selections.
Smith led the nation in rushing yards in Division III this season racking up 2,242 in 12 games. His rushing average of 186.8 is also the best in the country and his 31 rushing touchdowns are good for a share of tops in the nation. The Fayetteville, Ga., native helped lead Husson to a 10-2 record this season and their second-straight ECFC title. Husson upset undefeated Springfield College in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament, to capture the first NCAA tournament win in the history of the ECFC.
Husson's head coach Gabby Price earned Coach of the Year honors after leading the Eagles to back-to-back ECFC titles and NCAA DIII Championship Tournament appearances for the first time in program history. His Eagles recorded a perfect 7-0 mark in conference play for the third time in the last four seasons and finished 6th in the east in the final NCAA regional rankings, marking the highest ranking in program history.
Soyini, an ECFC First Team All-Conference selection on both offense and defense, earned All-New England honors as a defensive back after leading the league with seven interceptions and also notching 30 tackles (6 for loss) and adding 12 pass breakups.
The All- New England nod for Decker comes after the senior offensive lineman earned All-ECFC honors (first or second team) for the fourth consecutive season. The senior captain anchored the Spartan offensive line, helping the team accumulate 306.4 total yards per game in conference play and post a 5-2 ECFC record.
Aaron will add All-New England honors to his incredible sophomore campaign after also being named ECFC Defensive Player of the Year. He finished the season second in the league after racking up 100 total tackles and averaging 10.0 tackles per game for the Bulldogs. He also ranked third in the ECFC in tackles for loss with 14.
The honorees will be recognized at the New England Football Writers Captains and Awards Banquet on Tuesday, December 5, at the Montvale Plaza, in Stoneham, Mass. People interested in attending should contact Dick Lipe at Bentley University (firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-891- 2334) prior to Thursday, November 30.