Former Berwick football and wrestling standout Mike Viti was honored Thursday with Army’s Black Lion Award.TIMES LEADER FILE PHOTO
WEST POINT, N.Y. — The timing was anything but convenient for Mike Viti, the Army fullback and former Berwick standout. Just 10 days before the Black Knights were to open their season back in September, Viti underwent arthroscopic knee surgery.
But Viti returned in time for the opener and went on to start all 11 games for the academy on the season. On Thursday, the junior was rewarded for his leadership and dedication, receiving the prestigious Black Lion Award.
Viti, who has averaged a team-high 4.6 yards a carry this season, became the first non-senior to win the award, which is given in honor of former Army great Don Holleder, who was killed in combat in Vietnam following a standout football career.
The award is intended to go to the player “Who best exemplifies the character of Don Hollender: leadership, courage, devotion to duty, self sacrifice, and — above all — an unselfish concern for the team ahead of himself.”
“The coaches had to go through about four rounds of voting because there were so many worthy candidates for this award,” Army coach Bobby Ross said in a release. “But we got the vote right. Mike is very deserving of this award. He is the perfect choice to receive the Black Lion Award in my mind.”
Viti will wear a patch representing it during today’s Army-Navy Classic at 2:35 p.m.