Football Hands Out Postseason Awards; Lewko Named MVP

PHILADELPHIA - On Friday, the University of Pennsylvania football team recognized 2008’s outstanding performers at its annual Awards Banquet. In celebrating last year’s achievements, the school presented seven awards to 14 recipients, including the team’s MVP award to junior linebacker Jake Lewko.

The prestigious George A. Munger Award, named after the Hall of Fame coach and presented to the team’s most valuable player, was given to Lewko, the team’s leading tackler in 2008. Lewko had a tremendous junior season for the Quakers. The Medford, N.J., native received All-Ivy second team honors with 61 tackles, while also pitching in two sacks and 6.5 tackles for a loss for the fourth-ranked defense in the nation.

Senior co-captains Josh Koontz and Tyson Maugle received the Edgar Church Memorial Award, designated to the offensive and defensive players who made the biggest contribution to the team. As the team’s starting tight end, Koontz was third on the team with 24 catches for 224 yards in 2008. On the other side of the ball, Maugle was a key player in the Ivy League’s best secondary, pitching in a well-rounded line of 42 tackles, two sacks, and two forced fumbles.

The Bednarik Award, given to the most outstanding offensive and defensive linemen, was presented to senior Chris Kovalcik and junior Joe Goniprow. For the offensive lineman Kovalcik, this type of recognition has become routine. At last year’s banquet, he was the recipient of the Bagnell Award and in 2008, he was named First-team All-Ivy. Goniprow was a force on the Quakers’ defensive line in 2008, leading the team with an exceptional 10 tackles for a loss.

Seniors Jason Miran and Britton Ertman took home the Bagnell Award for most improved offensive and defensive players of the year. Miran saw time as both a fullback and tight end for the team in 2008, while Ertman was a takeaway machine as part of the Quakers’ potent secondary.

The Football Club Award for distinct athletic achievement was given to running back Michael DiMaggio on offense, cornerback Chris Wynn on defense, and place kicker Andrew Samson on special teams. Quarterback Keiffer Garton and safety Josh Powers also received the award as offensive and defensive rookies. DiMaggio and Garton were Penn’s top two runners in 2008, combining for over 900 rushing yards. Chris Wynn led the team with five interceptions, while Josh Powers gave him protection over the top and added three picks of his own. Andrew Samson had a record-setting season for the Quakers, converting on 16-of-19 field goal attempts, including two of more than 40 yards.

Senior co-captain Jay Colabella was honored with the George A. Weiss Award, given to the player who most embodies the grit and determination that is the “Pennsylvania kind of football.” The linebacker was a leader on defense for the team and a strong contributor, placing second on the team with 52 tackles.

In addition to the player awards, Sheldwin Erwine was presented with the Man of the Year Award for his continuous dedication to and support of Penn’s football program.

Penn returns to the field in just over a month when spring practice begins on March 18. Seventeen of the team's 22 starters will return from last season's squad that fell just one game short of the Ivy title.