Senior team members and players honored at football banquet

Cailin Brophy

The University, friends, family and fans paid tribute to the national semifinalist Wildcat football team last Saturday at the 77th annual Villanova football banquet.

A dinner, highlight film recap and awards presentation recounted the many great moments of the most successful season in Wildcat football history since its reinstatement in 1986.

The team was honored for its first ever trip to the Division I-AA final four as well as its recognition as the best team in the east by the ECAC, who awarded Villanova the coveted Lambert Meadowlands Trophy, only the second time since 1986 that Villanova has won the award.

Individuals honors were doled out as well, as several players were recognized for their unique and outstanding contributions both on and off the field throughout the season.

The Martin J. McLaughlin Award was given to the four team captains, linebacker Jamison Young, wide receivers Shaz Brown and Brian White and quarterback Brett Gordon, all fifth-year seniors.

White also garnered the Thomas J. Burke Award, given to the most consistent performer on the team.

The Coaches Helmet Award was given to safety Gary Johnson, for his ability to “exemplify Villanova pride, dedication, loyalty and ability not only in the game, but also in practice, both on and off the field.”

The Bob Lambert 12th Man Award was handed out to defensive end Jamil Butler, for his “spirit and enthusiasm and for being a constant inspiration to his teammates.”

The Jake Nevin Award, is given to the player who excels both on the field and in the classroom. This year it was given to offensive lineman Sean McCarthy while his fellow fifth-year teammate Cameron Cross was awarded the Iron Man honors for exhibiting “consistancy, durability and performance.”

The Alumni Association Award, recognizing the player with the highest GPA who also makes a significant contribution on the field, was given to defensive tackle Baylen Botts.

Most Valuable Player Awards were given to captains Brett Gordon for the offense and Jamison Young for the defense.

Gordon quarterbacked the team with a broken thumb in the final two games of his career, leaving his mark on Villanova as the most accurate signal caller, while also taking over the record for most yards in a season.

Young led the revamped Villanova defense which led the conference in many statistical categories throughout the season.