It has been a long road back for Pittsfield native Chad Shade. It has, however, paid off in a big way.
Shade, a senior quarterback at Springfield College, has been named the winner of the Jerry Nason Award from the New England Football Writers.
"Obviously, he went through a lot in the last year," Springfield College football coach Mike Cerasuolo said. "To be able to come back the way he did, even getting back on the field with the surgery and the rehab, and the reoccurring hamstring injuries, I think it's well deserved."
The Jerry Nason Award is one of the top awards given out by the New England Football Writers, and it goes to the senior football player in New England who succeeds in football against all odds.
The former Pittsfield High School three-sport standout, will receive the Nason Award at the New England Football Writers Captains and Awards Banquet. The banquet will be held on Thursday, Dec. 12, at Rosaria Restaurant and Function Facility in Saugus, a community north of Boston.
Shade, who was injured during the fourth game of his junior season, received a medical redshirt after undergoing surgery on a broken leg. Shade ended up missing the spring baseball season as well, tearing his hamstring during the Pride's spring break trip to Florida.
Springfield went 6-4 in 2019, at one point winning five consecutive games. He led the Pride with 771 yards on 182 carries, and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. He scored eight touchdowns.
Cerasuolo, who just finished his fourth season as the Springfield head coach, said he was not surprised by Shade's success.
"I think he's such a competitive kid, and his nature is that whatever the obstacle, and he's such a positive influence — not only within the team, but in his own mindset — I don't think he ever doubted his ability to come back and perform the way he did," Cerasuolo said. "It definitely took him probably a couple of weeks longer than he wanted to as well, to get back into things. He wasn't fully cleared until a week into preseason.
"I don't think anybody had a doubt that Chad Shade was going to come back and play and compete."
Shade, who had rushing totals of 169 and 117 yards in wins over Norwich and Coast Guard, respectively, was named a first-team pick by the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference.
Tom Lamb, who cut his playing and coaching teeth in Berkshire County, will receive the George Carens Award, given for contributions to football in New England.
Lamb was a three-sport athlete at Adams High School, and came back to coach under Joe Doyle. Lamb also played collegiately at Holy Cross.
Lamb and Doyle were inducted into the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in the same 1995 class.
Lamb coached Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie and all of his brothers during his time at Natick.
Lamb is currently the freshman coach at Natick.
Boston College running back A.J. Dillon will receive the Harry Agganis/Harold Zinman Award, given to the most outstanding player in New England. Dillon, who ran for 1,685 yards and 14 touchdowns, is the first two-time award winner.
The Football Writers selected Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens as the Jack Grinold University Division Coach of the Year Award winner for leading the Big Green to a 9-1 record and Ivy League co-champions. The College Division coach of the year was WPI's Chris Robertson, who guided the Engineers to a 10-1 record.
The end-of-season Gold Helmet winners, presented to the players of the year, go to Yale quarterback Kurt Rawlings in the University Division and Stonehill running back Justin Felder in the College Division.
Howard Herman can be reached at email@example.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.