Frank Gaziano High School Football Scholarship Finalists Announced | News

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Frank Gaziano High School Football Scholarship Finalists Announced
Frank Gaziano High School Football Scholarship Finalists Announced

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine - Today, Jeffrey Kane, President of National Distributors and Frank Gaziano's son-in-law announced the finalists for the Frank Gaziano High School Scholarship and Awards. The list of 11 finalists consists of five offensive linemen and six defensive linemen from high schools across the state. All finalists will be invited to appear before the awards committee for a personal interview. The award and scholarship presentations to the Gaziano Award winners will be announced at a banquet brunch on Sunday, January 23 at 11:30 a.m. at the Augusta Civic Center.

"We were thrilled with the number of entries that we received in just the first year of the scholarship and awards. The committee had a very difficult job, but has narrowed the list to the 11 student athletes that represent Frank's legacy. We are looking forward to meeting the 11 finalists and announcing the winners at the banquet," said Kane.

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

The Annual Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards will be presented to players who epitomize the character, leadership, and perseverance of Gaziano. Recipients will be selected by the awards committee based on their strong leadership on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.

Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Award Finalists:

Offensive Linemen
Matthew Archer, Mount Blue

Zach Dulac, Cheverus

Jake Huerfano, Waterville

Nicholas Ramsdell, Windham

Matt Welch, South Portland

Defensive Linemen
Trevor Bates, Westbrook

Chris Desmond, John Bapst

Christian Durland, Mountain Valley

Jack Horton, Falmouth

Nathan Martel, Bonny Eagle

Connor McAleney, Cape Elizabeth

The winners for each award and scholarship will be announced at the official awards banquet on January 23 at the Augusta Civic Center. Each finalist and all applicants will receive four free tickets to attend the banquet. At the event, one offensive player and one defensive player will each be awarded a first place trophy and a scholarship of $2,500.

Each recipient's name will be engraved on permanent plaques that will rotate each year among high schools with winning players. In addition, two runners up will be recognized in each category, with a $500 scholarship and each of the selected players will receive a commemorative plaque. All winners will be given a special Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards leather jacket.

To qualify for consideration, applicants must be a high school senior, 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 toughest competitor were also part of the application process. Applicants from all levels of Maine's high school football three-class system are eligible for the scholarship and were nominated by their coaches. For more information on the banquet or the scholarship program visit or contact the Frank J. Gaziano Lineman Awards Board of Directors at (207) 773-1719, ext 3303.

Gerry Raymond and Raibonne Charles will be guest speakers at the banquet. In 1978, Raymond became the only lineman to ever win a Fitzpatrick Trophy, awarded annually to Maine's top high school football player, while at Lewiston High School.  He went on to become an All American player for Boston College, and an All Pro for the United States Football League. Currently, Raymond is an umpire on a five-man crew officiating 5A Texas High School Football, the highest level of football in the state. Charles is a former Windham High football player and a starting defensive lineman with the University of Maine Black Bears.

The guest emcees for the event will be Bill Green, host of Bill Green's Maine and sports director Bruce Glasier both from WCSH 6, the local NBC affiliate in Portland.

Funding for the $2,500 scholarships is being provided by National Distributors. The awards committee will also be securing sponsorships and selling corporate tables at the awards banquet to increase the sponsorship level this year and in subsequent years. Individual tickets for the event are $25. Sponsorship tables start at $250. If you are interested in attending the event or contributing to the scholarship fund, call (207) 773-1719, ext 3303.

The Frank J. Gaziano Lineman Awards Board of Directors includes Peter DeSimon; Matt Perkins; Pete Cloutier; Jill Gaziano Mitchell; Jeff Kane of National Distributors; Judy Gaziano Kane; Mike Haley; Charles Hews; Mike Marston of Mid-Maine Homeless Shelters; and Michael Quinlan of Jensen, Baird, Gardner and Henry.

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