The Gold Helmet Award is a big deal in New England college football circles – two Gold Helmets are awarded weekly to players deemed by Gridiron Club of Greater Boston members as the best in the region, one for players in Division I (both FBS and FCS), and one for players in Divisions II and III.
Coast Guard often gets ignored – that changed this week when senior cornerback and kick returner Pat Bennett was honored.
The Capitol Heights, Md., native, who sat out in 2009 to focus on academics, returned the opening kickoff against Merchant Marine last week for 82 yards — that was the difference as the Bears won, 10-8, in their season opener, capturing the Secretaries’ Cup for the first time since 2007.
Bennett also came up big when he blocked a field-goal attempt in the second quarter. He had seven tackles and forced a fumble, too.
Bennett is the fourth Coast Guard player to receive the weekly award. Quarterback Jon Resch received the award last season for his 482-yard performance in a loss to Maine Maritime. Other Bears who won Gold Helmets were Niles Pierson (2006) and Scott Huerter (1988).
The tri-captain cornerback and kick returner also blocked a field goal in the second quarter, led the team with seven tackles, four solo, one for loss, two pass breakups and a forced fumble.
The Division I winner was Central Connecticut’s Gunnar Jespersen.