PHILADELPHIA--Senior running back Stephan Lewis (Coatesville, Pa.) of the University of New Hampshire football team was named the winner of the Coca Cola Gold Helmet Award this week by the New England Football Writers and was selected Co-National Player of the Week by Don Hansen's Weekly football Gazette after putting together a three touchdown performance in UNH's 31-14 upset victory over No. 12 Massachusetts on Nov. 9. He was also named the Atlantic 10 Football Conference Offensive Player Of The Week on Sunday. Lewis received the Gold Helmet Award today at the Weekly New England Football Writers Luncheon held on the campus of Harvard University.
Lewis, who leads all of I-AA football with an average of 205.0 all-purpose yards per contest, compiled 260 all-purpose yards vs. UMass, including 185 yards rushing, 50 yards receiving and 24 yards on a kickoff return. His three touchdowns came on runs of 1 yard and 3 yards and he had a key 32-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Mike Granieri with just 38 seconds left before the half to give the Wildcats a commanding 31-7 advantage it would never relinquish.
Lewis was also named the winner of the Bill Knight Trophy as the MVP of the UNH/UMass contest, an award he has won three consecutive times. The only other player in the history of the award to accomplish that feat is present NFL starting defensive back Jerry Azumah, who was the Walter Payton Award winner for UNH in 1998. Azumah is presently playing for the Chicago Bears.
Lewis, who is presently fourth on UNH's all-time career rushing listing, has carried the football 188 times this season for 960 yards and seven rushing TDs. He has also made 38 catches for 388 yards and four TDs through the air. In the return department, he has 21 kickoff returns for 475 yards, and he even returns punts (4x22 yards). Looking at his all-purpose yardage, Lewis has moved the football an amazing 1,845 yards this season.
Lewis also remains as one of the top 16 candidates in the nation to win the Walter Payton Award, which is given annually to the top offensive player in I-AA football. He was a top 16 finalist for the honor in 2001 as well. He is also a top candidate for All-America honors.
Lewis will have an opportunity to showcase his abilities in the next two weeks as UNH entertains No. 10 Northeastern on Nov. 16 and then travels to No. 5 Maine on Nov. 23 to round out the season.