Bucksport High School senior David Gross is one of five offensive linemen from around the state to be named as a semifinalist for the Frank J. Gaziano Scholarship and Awards on Thursday.
Five offensive linemen and five defensive linemen were selected from the field of 23 nominees for the awards, with the two winners each receiving $5,000 and a trophy, while four runners-up (two offensive and two defensive) will receive $1,000 and a trophy apiece.
The winners will be announced at a banquet set for 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Augusta Civic Center.
The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Gross shook off the pain of a dislocated kneecap he suffered during preseason to lead Bucksport to a 9-2 record and the program’s first LTC-Class D North championship since 2013.
He anchored an offensive line that helped generate more than 2,500 rushing yards and two individual 1,000-yard ground gainers in freshman Jaxon Gross — his brother — and sophomore Josh Miller.
On defense Gross led a unit that yielded just 27 points in seven regular-season games.
Gross, who also finished second in his weight class at last winter’s New England wrestling championships, is the only Gaziano semifinalist from a Class D school.
“That’s pretty cool that I get to represent Class D and northern Maine,” said Gross, who plans to have surgery on his left knee soon in anticipation of a potential college football career.
“I’ve been able to represent Maine in the wrestling world, and now I get to represent it in football. Everything’s really come together even though I’ve got stuff going on with the knee, but everything happens for a reason.”
Other semifinalists for the Gaziano offensive lineman award are Reese Boucher of Sanford, Jonah Green of Portland, Riley Parmenter of Leavitt in Turner Center and Jack Rogers of Thornton Academy in Saco.
Semifinalists for the Gaziano defensive lineman award are Connor Caverly of Marshwood High School in South Berwick, William Horton of Bonny Eagle in Standish, Camden Jordan of Leavitt, Kyle Ouillette of Gorham and Nathan Mars of Scarborough.
The Gaziano Lineman Awards selection committee will interview the 10 semifinalists in the coming weeks to determine the six finalists based on each applicant’s essay and in-person interview as well as game footage featuring the player competing against his two toughest opponents. Finalists will be selected based on strong leadership on the field, in the classroom and in the community.
“It’s worth all that pain I went through and all the work I went through because this award is not just for football but for the person. It’s just as much about what you do in your community and school as what you do on the football field,” Gross sad. “That’s why it’s so meaningful to me and my family and my team and community. It’s just such a blessing.”