Casey Mills of Cony High School in Augusta and Thomas Horton of Bonny Eagle High School in Standish were named Saturday as winners of the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Defensive and Offensive Linemen Awards, symbolic of the state’s top senior linemen.

Mills and Horton were honored based on their work on the gridiron, in the classroom and in their communities, and will each receive a trophy and a $5,000 scholarship from award co-sponsor National Distributors that will be presented to them at events held later in the school year at their schools.

Mills was named the recipient of the Gaziano defensive lineman award. A three-year starter at defensive end, he completed his senior season with 87 tackles, eight quarterback sacks, two  forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for the Rams, who finished the 2021 regular season with a 5-2 record and reached the Class A North semifinals.

Horton, the Gaziano offensive lineman of the year, becomes the seventh winner of the award from Bonny Eagle High School, which finished this fall with a 6-4 record after reaching the Class A semifinals.

“[He’s] the best two-way lineman I have ever coached,” Scots’ head coach Kevin Cooper said. “Thomas stands alone at the top.”  

As a sophomore, Horton amassed 21 knock-down blocks and as a senior he registered 42 knock-down blocks, plus did not yield a quarterback sack from his right guard position.

Horton, a two-way starter at Bonny Eagle, also is a finalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy, symbolic of the state’s top senior football player regardless of position.

Two linemen on each side of the ball were named Gaziano award runners-up.

Earning defensive runner-up honors were Jack Boutaugh of Leavitt Area High School in Turner Canter and Cody Ruff from Thornton Academy in Saco. The offensive runners-up were Thornton Academy’s Seth Beyea and Reeve Twitchell from Leavitt.

Each runner-up will receive a trophy and $1,000 scholarship from award co-sponsor KeyBank.

 

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.


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...