BOSTON, Mass.-Coast Guard sophomore defensive back Joe Rizzardi was honored today by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston with their weekly Gold Helmet Award. He becomes the fifth Coast Guard football player to win the honor, joining cornerback/kick returner Pat Bennett (2010), quarterback John Resch (2009), quarterback Niles Pierson (2006), and running back Scott Huerter (1988).
The Gold Helmet Award is a big deal in New England college football circles as it is presented to the Division I-FCS, Division II, or Division III football player who has established himself for outstanding contributions to his team on the given week.
Rizzardi was recognized for his performance in Coast Guard's 37-20 victory over Nichols in the New England Football Conference (NEFC) opener for both schools. The Ashburn, Va. native played an integral part in the victory, returning two interceptions for touchdowns (equaling a Coast Guard single season record) and recording six solo tackles on the afternoon.
Earlier in the week Rizzardi was named both NEFC Defensive Player of the Week and CGASPORTS.com Athlete of the week.
During the first quarter of the contest he returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown to give the Bears a 10-6 lead. With time winding down in the second quarter and the score tied at 13-13, Rizzardi returned his second interception, this time 30-yards, for a touchdown to break the tie and give Coast Guard a 20-13 lead heading into the halftime break.
The starting strong safety lead all NEFC defensive backs with 29 solo tackles and 39 total tackles on the season.
Coast Guard is scheduled to host Western New England on Saturday at 1:30 in a NEFC game as part of Celebrate New London Day at the Academy.