Springfield Gardens, New York, sophomore running back is the first in program history to receive organizations annual Player of the Year honor
EASTON, Mass. (December 2, 2019) – Stonehill College sophomore running back Justin Felder has been named the 2019 New England Football Writers College Division Gold Helmet Award recipient as the top football player in Divisions II and III in New England, the organization has announced today.
Felder, the Northeast-10 Conference Most Valuable Player and a candidate for the Harlon Hill Trophy from Super Region 1, is the first Stonehill football player to earn the New England Football Writers Gold Helmet Award for the season. It marks the second-straight year an NE10 football standout has earned the honors after former University of New Haven quarterback Ajee Patterson was named last fall and Felder is the eighth NE10 football standout to earn the honors overall. The New England Football Writers Gold Helmet Award is given annually in Division I (University Division) and Divisions II/III (College Division) since 1975. Felder will receive the award at the New England Football Writers Captains and Awards Banquet on Thursday, December 12, at Rosaria Restaurant and Function Facility in Saugus, Massachusetts.
Felder, an All-NE10 first team selection who was named a Division II/III All-Star by the New England Football Writers last week, enjoyed a breakout sophomore season for Stonehill this fall, setting program records for rushing attempts (236), yards (1,513), touchdowns (16), total touchdowns (18), scoring (108 points) and all-purpose yards (1,611). The D2football.com NE10 Offensive Player of the Year started the last eight games of the season after senior running back Brian Kearns, Jr. went down with an injury in the first quarter of the Skyhawks second game of the year and went on to lead the NE10 in each category listed above, ranking fourth in Division II for rushing yards per game, fifth for rushing yards, ninth for rushing and total touchdowns, 12th in points scored, 13th in all-purpose and 23rd for rushing yards per attempt (6.4).
Felder is Stonehill's first College Division Gold Helmet Award recipient as the Division II/III Player of the Year (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)
Felder earned NE10 Offensive Player of the Week honors a program-record four times over the course of the season. He also received the New England Football Writers Division II/III Weekly Gold Helmet Award on November 10 and posted the first 100-point and 1,500-yard rushing season in program history, surpassing 100-yards in seven of ten games and is the first running back in NE10 history to rush for over 300-yards in back to back weeks. Felder set a school-record with his 314 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns, averaging a program-best 13.1 yards per carry, in Stonehill's 41-20 win over Southern Connecticut State University on November 2. He followed that up with 311 yards on a career-high 40 carries and four touchdowns, with three rushing and another receiving, in the Skyhawks 34-22 win over Pace University on November 9. He scored three touchdowns in the first quarter of the 38-14 win at Saint Anselm College on September 21 and then capped his season on November 16, with 164 yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns against a New Haven team that led the NE10 and ranked tenth nationally for rushing defense at 82.6 yards per game – which Felder had eclipsed by halftime.
Felder is already quickly moving up Stonehill's career rushing leaders after just 18 games played through his first two seasons. He ranks third in program history with his 18 career rushing touchdowns, which is just six shy of the program record of 24 by Eddie Vachon '11 and Kearns, Jr., while ranking seventh with 1,942 career yards, eighth with 21 total touchdowns and ninth with 331 rushing attempts.
Stonehill finished its 2019 season with a 6-4 record overall, including 5-3 in the NE10 to finish in third place in the Conference, just a game out of first place. In addition to Felder's Offensive Player of the Year selection by D2Football.com, head coach Eli Gardner was named the website's NE10 Coach of the Year after leading the Skyhawks resurgence from a 2-8 campaign a year ago and being picked sixth in the NE10 preseason coaches' poll. A program-record 14 from Stonehill earned All-NE10 honors this fall, including a program-best six on the first team.
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