21 football players nominated for Gaziano Memorial lineman awards

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Eleven high school offensive linemen and 10 defensive linemen from around the state have been nominated for the ninth annual Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Awards, it was announced Thursday.

Eighteen different high schools are represented among the nominees with three schools — Brewer, Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft and Portland — having two nominees apiece.

The awards are presented to players considered the top senior linemen from the most recent season and who epitomize the character, leadership and perseverance of Gaziano, a former college All-American and professional football player who went on to become founder of National Distributors in South Portland.

Offensive linemen nominated for the Gaziano Award are Elijah Bickford of Foxcroft Academy, Braxton Cassidy of Windham, Koa Farnsworth of Portland, Gilbert Isaacs of Mount Desert Island in Bar Harbor, Chase Lamontagne of Kennebunk, Aidan McGlone of Bonny Eagle of Standish, Connor Patten of Hermon, Zachary Reed of Scarborough, Noah Scanlon of John Bapst of Bangor, Jarred Spencer of Old Town and Zachary Steiger of Brewer.

Nominated defensive linemen are James Boyd of Nokomis of Newport, Seth Bussell of Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield, Colin Hutchins of Mt. Blue of Farmington, Nathan Kapongo of Portland, Caleb Ladd of Foxcroft Academy, Jacob McCluskey of Brewer, Cole Melanson of Leavitt of Turner Center, Nicholas Mills of Cony of Augusta, Thomas Palmer of Thornton Academy of Saco and Morgan Welch-Thompson of Wells.

One offensive lineman and one defensive lineman will each receive a $5,000 scholarship — the largest high school football scholarship of its kind in the nation — and a first-place trophy. Four runners-up each will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

The award winners will be announced during a luncheon ceremony on Jan. 26, 2019, at the Augusta Civic Center.

Applicants from all levels of Maine high school football are eligible for the awards and must be nominated by their coaches.

The Gaziano award selection committee is chaired by Dan O’Connell, a former Bangor High School and Bates College lineman and now head football coach and athletic administrator at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor. Other committee members are 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 of Winslow (Maine Maritime Academy), Frank Curran of Cheverus High School in Portland (Husson University), Zach Davis of Windham (Maine Maritime Academy), Zordan Holman of Cheverus of Portland (University of Connecticut), Austin Lufkin of Brewer (Wofford College), Jedidiah Scott of Sanford (Assumption College), Luke Washburn of Oak Hill of Wales (Husson University) and Kurt Massey of John Bapst of Bangor (University of Maine).

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