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Connell Becomes Tenth NEFWA Gold Helmet Award Winner in Program History

Connell Becomes Tenth NEFWA Gold Helmet Award Winner in Program History

East Marion, N.Y. native ran for 170 yards and four touchdowns in Saturday's NEFC-title clinching win at Salve Regina

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (November 9, 2016) – Senior running back Nick Connell (East Marion, N.Y.) of the Western New England University football team was presented with his New England Football Writers Association (NEFWA) Division II/Division III Gold Helmet award earlier today at Dillon Fieldhouse on the campus of Harvard University.

Connell's career day helped Western New England (9-0) clinch its second consecutive New England Football Conference (NEFC) title with a 41-22 victory at Salve Regina on Saturday. The senior captain established new career-highs in carries (30), yards (170) and touchdowns (four) against a defensive unit that entered the game ranked second in NCAA Division III in rushing defense. Connell averaged 5.7 yards on his 30 carries, scoring on runs of five, seven, 19 and 25 yards.

The East Marion, N.Y. native becomes the tenth Golden Bear in program history to receive the prestigious Gold Helmet award, which recognizes the outstanding performances of one Division I and one Division II/III football player each week. He joins Kevin Cook (2014), Alex Miller ('12), Mike Graham ('11), Bryce Brown ('10), Justin Walz ('07), Jordan Capitanio ('06), Jon Tallerico ('06), Mike Laroche ('04), and Marvin Langley, who is the only player to earn the award multiple times ('01, twice in '00).

Connell, with his Gold Helmet award, and head coach Keith Emery today at the NEFW luncheon on the campus of Harvard University. 

Connell, who was also named NEFC Offensive Player of the Week following Saturday's performance, ranks second in the NEFC with 873 rushing yards and tied for third with ten rushing touchdowns through nine games this season. In 37 career contests, he has compiled 2420 yards on 439 carries (5.5 avg.) and 25 touchdowns on the ground. His 2420 rushing yards and 25 scores both rank fifth in program history.

Western New England will look to complete its second consecutive undefeated regular season this Saturday, as the Golden Bears are set to host Coast Guard in the final NEFC contest between the two programs. Western New England will recognize its seniors prior to the 1 p.m. kickoff.