Providence Gridiron Celebrates Local Football Greats

by | Apr 13, 2023

Above: East Greenwich’s Vin Ucci gives acceptance speech after receiving the 2023 Jack Cronin Award as the Rhode Island High School Coach of the Year. Photo by Chuck Nadeau

It was a great night last Wednesday (4/5/23) as the Providence Gridiron Club celebrated its 30th Annual Awards Night. The best of the best were feted and toasted and a fine time was had by all.

The big award of the evening was the presentation of the Gilbane Trophy to the 2022-23 Rhode Island High School Player of the Year. That award was presented to Cranston West senior Marcus Chung, who combined for well over 2,000 yards as a running back, receiver and kick returner. He also shone on defense for the Falcons.

The Jack Cronin Award for the Rhode Island Coach of the Year, went to Moses Brown’s Vin Ucci, who, along with his twin brother Joe, guided the Quakers to an unbeaten season in D3B and that league’s state title. Both Ucci boys played football and coached at East Greenwich High School.

The Frank E. Morey Award to the R.I. Lineman of the Year went to Pat Conserve, the brilliant two-way star of the Cumberland Clippers, who is going on in his gridiron quest as he will suit up for the URI Rams in the fall of 2023.

The Francis “Monk” Maznicki Award for RI Back of the Year went to North Kingstown Skipper quarterback Eddie Buehler, who once again was the capstone for the Black & Gold as he threw for over 2,000 yards.

Club President Bob Izzi got things kicked off with introductions and prayer. He presented the Lou Cimini Officiating Award to the 2023 recipient Marc DiSalvo. Then came the Divisional Awards; presentation of the College MVP Awards, followed by the presentation of Individual trophies to high school players.

Longtime Shea football coach Dino Campopiano received the Lawrence P. Gallogly Humanitarian Award in memory of Gallogly, a beloved and longtime member of the PGC, who unselfishly gave his time to people and organizations on the RI athletic scene throughout the years.

Coach of the Year Awards went to: D1 – Geoff Marcone – LaSalle; D2A – Mike Sassi – St. Ray’s; D2B – Dustin Almeida – Portsmouth; D3A – Matt Kestler – Middletown;  D3B – Vin Ucci – Moses Brown; D4 – Glenn Castiglia – Smithfield.

High School Lineman of the Year : D1 – ALEX MORIN – Bishop Hendricken ; D2A – PATRICK CONSERVE – Cumberland ; D2B – DYLAN SHEEHAN – Shea ; D3A- GUY BAMBA – Tolman ; D3B – DEVIN BEAULIEU- West Warwick ; D4 – CHANDE NOBRE -Central Falls.

High School Back of the Year – D1 – JAMEZELL LASSITER _ LASALLE ; D2A – MOSES MEUS – St. Rays ; D2B – LANCE WILLIAMS – Westerly; COLIN FITTS -Chariho ; D3B – MYLES CRADDOCK – Moses Brown ; D4 – ANTONIO CABRAL – Davies.

College MVP awards went to WES ROCKETT – Brown ; ZEVI ECKHAUS – Bryant; KASIM HILL – URI.

Home State Hero Award – MALIK GAVEK – Cranston East – URI.

Pride of Rhode Island Award –  CRISTOS ARGYS – Moses Brown – Holy Cross.

Cristos Argys (holding trophy) celebrates his choice as Pride of Rhode Island Award winner at recent Providence Gridiron Club dinner with friends and family. Photo by Chuck Nadeau

The Quonset ‘O’ Club, as usual, provided a splendid meal of salad, family-style pasta, stuffed chicken, coffee and desert and received a rave review from the crowd.

The Club has a short time off before they put together their annual golf tournament fundraiser. Money from this event goes towards supporting their six dinners during the year with money left over going toward scholarships for deserving RIHS football players.

The Providence Gridiron Club Executive Board consists of: Robert Izzi, President; Jim Anderson, Vice President, and members Brad Carson, Kevin Deignan, Mitch Foresti, Terri Fossa, Bill McCagney, Tom Milewski and J.Carl Ricci.

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