The Brewer High School football team battles rivals Bangor at Doyle Field in Brewer, Maine, in the season opener on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. Bangor beat Brewer 54-13. Credit: Lindsay Putnam / BDN

The Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards for Maine high school football players will be awarded after this season after the presentations were interrupted  in 2020 when the tackle football season was canceled due to COVID-19.

The Gaziano Awards are the largest high school scholarships of their kind in the country and honor the memory of the late Frank J. Gaziano, who was a college football All-American and professional player before founding National Distributors Inc. in South Portland.

National Distributors has donated $140,000 to Maine student-athletes during the last 10 years. This year, for the first time, KeyBank will co-sponsor the awards and will provide the four runners-up with scholarships. National Distributors will continue to award the two top awards.

Applicants from all of Maine’s high school football classes are eligible for the scholarships as nominated by their coaches.

To qualify for consideration, an applicant must be a high school senior, have competed at the varsity level for a minimum of two years, and have an exemplary record of positive athletic and non-athletic citizenship. The submission of a student essay and a game film featuring the applicant competing against his two toughest competitors also are part of the application process.

The state’s top offensive and defensive linemen will be honored based on their work on the field, the classroom and in their communities. Two winners will each receive $5,000 and a trophy, and four runners-up will receive $1,000 each and a trophy.  

Nominations are being accepted until Dec. 1, and winners will be announced next January.

John Bapst of Bangor head football coach Dan O’Connell heads up the Gaziano Awards selection committee, with Jeffrey Wells, Kevin Cooper, Charles Hews, Pete Cloutier, Chris Davis, Luke Libby, Mark Bonnevie and Andrew Livingston also on the panel.

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).  

For more information on the scholarship program, visit gazianolinemanawards.org.

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...