Courtsey of Pete DiVito, Nichols Collegte Sports Information
DUDLEY, Mass. – Nichols College senior Matthew McEvilly (Clinton, Mass.) has been named the recipient of the Joe Zabilski Award as the best defensive player in New England at the Division III level, which is presented annually by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston.
McEvilly will receive the award from the Gridiron Club at the organization’s annual banquet on Thursday, December 15, 2016 at the Burlington Marriott Hotel.
McEvilly – who was named to the New England Football Conference (NEFC) First Team as a linebacker on Monday – closed the regular season leading the conference and ranked No. 6 nationally in tackles/game (12.7); nationally, he is also No. 26 in solo tackles (6.3 tackles/game) and No. 35 in tackles for loss (1.7 TFL/game). A two-year captain, he recorded 127 tackles this season, registering 10-or-more in all but one game, and 16.5 tackles for loss. McEvilly opened the season with a 21-tackle performance against Westfield State and closed the season with 18 tackles in a double overtime win against MIT this past Saturday. McEvilly finished his career with 275 tackles.
“This award means everything to me,” explained McEvilly. “I am really honored because to see where this program was when I was a freshman to where it is now, it makes all of the hard work I put in during the summer worth it. There’s no better feeling. Football is the ultimate team sport and I could not have won this award without the great coaches and teammates that surrounded me this year. I can’t thank them enough. I also want to thank my family for supporting me throughout my career. There’s simply no better way to end my career.”
Founded in 1932, the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston promotes the game of football at all levels and nurtures the ideals of citizenship, sportsmanship, leadership, and athletic and academic achievement. Through its annual dinners and golf tournament, the club carries on its tradition of honoring exemplary players, coaches and officials at all levels of the sport, and supporting worthy charitable causes, especially those that assist children.
“I would like to thank the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston for bestowing this year’s Joe Zabilski Award on Matt McEvilly,” said Nichols head coach Dale Olmsted, who guided the Bison to a 6-4 record this past season – the program’s highest win total since 2003. “This is an incredible honor awarded to the top defensive D3 football player in New England. Matt had an extraordinary season and was among the national leaders in tackles. I couldn’t be happier for Matt.”