September 8, 2008

Mortali and Coles Winners of NEC Football Awards

Sept. 8, 2008

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (September 8, 2008) - The Sacred Heart football team took home two more Northeast Conference Football weekly awards Monday afternoon with sophomore Mike Mortali (Branford, CT) and freshman Garry Coles (Southington, CT) earning Defensive Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week honors. Mortali picks up his first career weekly honor while Coles takes home top-rookie honors for the second-straight week.

Retaining the NEC Rookie of the Week title he earned for his debut effort, Coles totaled 128 all-purpose yards and found paydirt twice to power the Pioneers to their second consecutive victory. Following a key fumble return by Anthony Mortali, Coles scored the game's first touchdown on a 35-yard screen pass. The rookie running back provided some cushion with a 10-yard touchdown catch that increased SHU's lead over Bentley to 14-3 in the third quarter. In addition to making three catches for 52 yards, the Sacred Heart freshman ran three times for 13 yards while contribute heavily on special teams. Coles averaged 26.5 yards on two kickoff returns and brought back one punt for 12 yards.

Called upon to step in for injured strong safety Steve Young, Mortali stepped up during Sacred Heart's 21-10 win over Bentley. The sophomore safety made a game-high nine tackles (four solo), recorded a sack, recovered a fumble, and broke up three passes. A play after he sacked Bentley quarterback John White in the red zone, Mortali returned a fumble to the opponent's 35-yard line in setting up the Pioneers' first touchdown of the game on the very next snap. With Mortali's help, Sacred Heart held its opponent to 29 yards on 33 rushing attempts.

The Pioneers are off this week and return to action on Saturday, September 20th when they travel to Iona for a 1:00 pm kickoff.