Gridiron Club Announces 2021 New England College Football Awards

Brown Quarterback EJ Perry and Harvard Linebacker Jack McGowan Win 83rd Bulger Lowe Award; Club to Forgo Annual Banquet and Present Awards in Person

BOSTON – December 17, 2021 – Gridiron Club of Greater Boston Awards Committee chairman Tim Whelan today unveiled the club’s slate of college football awards for the 2021 season and announced that two Ivy League players, quarterback E.J. Perry (Andover, MA) of Brown and linebacker Jack McGowan (Canton, MA) of Harvard are winners of the 83rd annual Bulger Lowe Award.

The Bulger Lowe, given to the best players on offense and defense in in the NCAA Bowl Subdivision/Football Championship Subdivision (FBS/FCS) is the nation’s second-oldest nationally recognized college football award, after the Heisman Trophy. Perry played a year at Boston College before transferring to Brown. He played two seasons there and passed for 5,981 yards and 45 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,132 yards. Both Perry and McGowan were first team All-Ivy League as seniors. McGowan had 50 tackles and two interceptions in leading the 8-2 Crimson’s defense.   

The 75th annual Swede Nelson Award, for sportsmanship, academics, and athletic achievement was awarded to Holy Cross senior running back Peter Oliver (Auburn, MA) in the FBS/FCS Division and Tufts running back Mike Pedrini (Melrose, MA) in Divisions II/III. Oliver was the Patriot League Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2021. He led the league in rushing with 780 net yards on 150 carries, and four touchdowns. He is a chemistry and Spanish double major, carrying a 3.95 cumulative GPA. Pedrini, the only three-year captain in Tufts history, is a political science and government major, carrying a 3.23 GPA. Both Pedrini and Oliver were semifinalists for the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame’s William V. Campbell Trophy.

The Gridiron Club customarily honors the athletes, coaches and officials of all New England college football levels at its annual Bob Whelan College Football Awards Night in December.  This year, however, the dinner will not be held due to lingering concerns about Covid-19.

“It was a difficult decision to forgo College Awards Night for the second year in a row,” said Whelan. “Our committee members will be making the presentations in person. We’ll make the rounds individually, to meet with our award recipients at a time and place of their choice.”

Cheryl Duddy Schoenfeld, Gridiron Club president, added, “Our primary concern is the health of all – players, coaches, officials, their families, and friends. I’m sure we’ll be back in full force in 2022. College Night is the highlight of our year.”

The 25th annual Joe Zabilski Award, which recognizes New England’s top offensive and defensive players in Divisions II/III, has co-winners in the offensive category in Williams College senior quarterback Bobby Maimaron (Duxbury, MA) and Stonehill senior running back Justin Felder (Hollis, NY).  Maimaron led Williams to an undefeated season and was also the NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year, with over 1,600 yards passing and 500 yards rushing. Felder led Stonehill to an 8-2 record, with 1,127 yards rushing and 17 TDs. The Zabilski Award for defense goes to Bentley University graduate linebacker Cole McCubrey (Boylston, MA). He led Bentley to the playoffs with 114 tackles.

Head Coach of the Year Awards to Bob Chesney of 10-3 Holy Cross in the FBS/FCS and Bill Kavanaugh of  9-2 Bentley University in Divisions II/III.

Assistant Coach of the Year Awards to Jon Poppe, coach of the secondary and special teams at Harvard in FBS/FCS; and Bill deLuze, defensive line coach at Curry College, in Divisions II/III.

The Joseph V. McKenney Award for top collegiate football official to Ryan Flynn of Arlington, MA, a field judge in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Ryan has been named to the officiating crew for the NCAA championship football game in Indianapolis on January 10.

The John Baronian Award for Lifetime Contribution to Football to Framingham State director of athletics and head football coach Tom Kelley. Tom returned to the coaching ranks unexpectedly in the eve of the 2021 current season and led the Rams to and 8-3 record and a berth in the national championship tournament after opening the season with a pair of losses. Tom has been head coach at Framingham for a total of 17 seasons and has been the school’s director of athletics for 25 years.

About the Gridiron Club, “Keepers of the Flame”

Founded in 1932, the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston (www.gridclubboston.com) promotes the game of football at all levels and nurtures the ideals of citizenship, sportsmanship, leadership, and athletic and academic achievement. A registered 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, the Gridiron Club is supported by membership dues, philanthropic contributions, and proceeds from its annual dinners.  The Club honors exemplary players, coaches and officials at all levels of the sport and supports worthy charitable causes, especially those that assist children.

About gridclubboston

"Keepers of the Flame" of sporting tradition in New England since 1932.
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