2019-01-04 / Front Page

Storm lineman among Gaziano finalists

Special to the Leader

The selection committee for the 2018 Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman awards announced the list of 21 nominees submitted by high school coaches in Maine.

Among the finalists named on Dec. 27 is Scarborough offensive lineman Zachary Reed.

The award recognizes senior football linemen who epitomize the character, leadership and perseverance of the late Frank J. Gaziano.

The scholarship recipients are selected by an awards committee based on the student’s strong leadership on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.

The total of $14,000 in scholarships makes the award the largest high school scholarship of its kind in the country.

The committee has started the process of reviewing the nominees to determine the finalists.

The winners will be announced on Jan. 26. The nominees consist of 11 senior offensive linemen and 10 senior defensive linemen representing high schools across the state.

“This year we surpassed the number of nominees from last year and it is clear from the praise these students have received from their coaches, athletic directors and principals that the committee will again have their hands full of great candidates who have proven to be dedicated to their sport, their academics and their communities,” said Jeff Kane, retired president of National Distributors, Inc. and Frank Gaziano’s son-in-law. “The selection committee will now begin the evaluation process to learn more about each of these fine young men and what makes each one of them unique and most deserving of the award and scholarship. All the nominees and their families should be very proud of what they have accomplished and the future ahead for these young men.”

The scholarship and awards program for Maine high school football linemen was created in 2010 in memory of Frank J. Gaziano, founder of National Distributors in South Portland, and a former college All-American and professional football player with a lifelong passion for local sports.

One offensive and one defensive lineman will each receive $5,000 and a first place trophy, and four runners-up will receive $1,000. The award winners will be announced at a luncheon ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Augusta Civic Center.

Applicants from all levels of Maine’s high school football class system are eligible for the scholarship and must be nominated by their coaches.

The selection committee for the Frank J. Gaziano Lineman Awards is chaired by Dan O’Connell. Committee members include Pete Cloutier, Kevin Cooper, Chris Davis, Pete DeSimon, Mike DeVito, Charles Hews, Luke Libby, Ed McAleney, Bob Sinclair and Jeff Wells.

Former Gaziano Award winners include collegiate football players Alec Clark (Maine Maritime Academy), Frank Curran (Husson University), Zach Davis (Maine Maritime Academy), Zordan Holman (University of Connecticut), Austin Lufkin (Wofford College), Jedidiah Scott (Assumption College), Luke Washburn (Husson University) and Kurt Massey (University of Maine).

This year marks the ninth year for the annual awards and banquet. In 2012, National Distributors, Inc. increased the scholarship amount to $5,000 for the two winners and $1,000 for the two runners-up, making it the largest high school football scholarship of its kind in the country. Funding for the $14,000 in total scholarships is provided by National Distributors, Inc.

The selection committee will also be securing sponsorships ranging from $50 - $500 so players and families of the student-athletes can attend the awards luncheon ceremony free of charge. Those interested in attending the event or contributing to the scholarship fund, can contact event coordinator Jenn Bouffard at gazianoawards@gmail.com.

For more information on the awards luncheon or the scholarship program, visit www.gazianolinemanawards.org.

Nominated

Offensive linemen

• Elijah Bickford, Foxcroft Academy
• Braxton Cassidy, Windham High School
• Koa Farnsworth, Portland High School
• Gilbert Isaacs, Mount Desert Island High
School
• Chase Lamontagne, Kennebunk High
School
• Aidan McGlone, Bonny Eagle High School
• Connor Patten, Hermon High School
• Zachary Reed, Scarborough High School
• Noah Scanlon, John Bapst Memorial High
School
• Jarred Spencer, Old Town High School
• Zachary Steiger, Brewer High School

Defensive linemen

• James Boyd, Nokomis Regional High
School
• Seth Bussell, Maine Central Institute
• Colin Hutchins, Mt. Blue High School
• Nathan Kapongo, Portland High School
• Caleb Ladd, Foxcroft Academy
• Jacob McCluskey, Brewer High School
• Cole Melanson, Leavitt Area High School
• Nicholas Mills, Cony High School
• Thomas Palmer, Thornton Academy
• Morgan Welch-Thompson, Wells High
School

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