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Northwestern’s Atwell Player of the Year, Pace’s Zaccheo Coach of the Year

After leading his Miami Northwestern team to the Class 6A state championship earlier this month, senior quarterback Chatarius “Tutu” Atwell found himself holding up another trophy Friday morning.

Atwell received the 2017 Tournament of Champions Warren Henry Player of the Year Award in a ceremony held at the Warren Henry Range Rover Showroom in Miami Gardens while Miami Monsignor Pace head football coach Joe Zaccheo was named the 2017 Coach of the Year.

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound dual-threat quarterback was said – by TOC President Wesley Frater – to be the first unanimous winner of the five-year-old award, which includes Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (Miami Central) and Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (Miami Central) as previous winners.

Atwell, a Louisville commit, said that winning the award and joining the distinguished list of winners meant the most to him.

A four-year starter for the Bulls, Atwell accounted for nearly 2,500 total yards of offense and 20 touchdowns as Northwestern finished the season 12-2 after its 21-16 win over Seffner Armwood in the Class 6A championship game.

Atwell’s speed and athleticism made him a dynamic force in the pocket – able to throw passes downfield from the pocket but also able to dishearten a defense when he broke out of the pocket and gained large chunks of yards.

Evident by his third-quarter performance in the state title game, where Atwell put his team ahead with an electrifying 51-yard touchdown scramble and extended the lead with a 46-yard touchdown pass.

Zaccheo earning the Coach of the Year honor was also a bit of an easy decision for voters as the veteran coach led Monsignor Pace to a renaissance season – with the Spartans finishing the year 8-4 after reaching the Class 4A regional finals.

Also, Zaccheo – who returned to the sidelines before the 2016 season after an eight-year absence in which he served as Pace’s athletic director – overcame personal adversity in 2017.

Zaccheo took ill during the season and spent a significant amount of time in the hospital, before making a full recovery and returning to the team.

J.T. Wilcox
J.T. Wilcox is an award-winning sports journalist who has worked in South Florida for more than a decade. He authors "The Bald Predictions" blog and "The Baldcast" podcast.

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