National Distributors and KeyBank Announce 2023 Finalists for Gaziano Lineman Awards
The Gaziano Awards selection committee has selected the finalists for the 2023 Frank J. Gaziano High School Scholarship and Awards.
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SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – January 9, 2024 - The Gaziano Awards selection committee has selected the finalists for the 2023 Frank J. Gaziano High School Scholarship and Awards. The list of six finalists consists of three defensive linemen and three offensive linemen from high schools across the state. From these finalists, two winners will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. The winners receive $5,000 each and a trophy, and four runners-up will receive $1,000 each and a trophy.
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. In the past 12 years, National Distributors has donated $164,000 to Maine students. For the third year, KeyBank will co-sponsor the awards in partnership with National Distributors and will provide the four runners-up scholarships. National Distributors will continue to award the two top awards.
The three finalists for the
Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Defensive Lineman Award are:
Owen Bourque, Kennebunk High School, Kennebunk ME
Position: Defensive Tackle
Owen Bourque of Kennebunk High School is a finalist for the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Defensive Lineman Award for his accomplishments as a Defensive Tackle. An anchor on defense, he relentlessly disrupts the offensive scheme with strength and tenacity. He consistently occupies and sheds blockers, stuffs run gaps, pursues the ball, and finishes the down with punishing tackles and forceful hits. Head Coach Keith Noel remarks, “His commitment to mentoring younger players, coupled with an unwavering positive attitude, played a crucial role in our team's success, culminating in a State Championship victory.” The quality of his play does not go unnoticed. Kennebunk High School Principal Jeremie Sirios writes, “Owen has a motor that never stops…He rallies his team with his energy, enthusiasm, and emotion…He was elected captain…and thrived in that role…(he) is what a leader should be.” His classroom focus is evident, as he performs at a strong level, reflecting his consistent character. Community citizenship is a strong value for Bourque. He takes on responsibilities to be a leader and bring his community together. An example of these efforts includes his volunteerism as a coach for three middle school sports: football, lacrosse, and wrestling. Bourque plans to matriculate to a 4-year college.
Alex Dobson, South Portland High School, South Portland ME
Position: Defensive Tackle
Alex Dobson of South Portland High School is a finalist for the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Defensive Lineman Award for his accomplishments as a Defensive Tackle. He is critical to a strong defensive front, as he plays with vision, technique, and power. He has a strong ability to read the play, both pre-snap to gain leverage, and a nose for the ball during the play. Head Coach Aaron Filieo states, “Alex’s senior season was the epitome of hard work and dedication…As a captain, Alex was a steady leader...He was very invested in the success of the team” and “his level of commitment and gregarious personality significantly contributed to creating a positive team culture. Camaraderie was, without a doubt, the most important thing for Alex.” Leadership characterizes his community involvement at school and in volunteer efforts. Persevering in the classroom, he demonstrates an indomitable will to succeed, seeking to be self-aware and enhance his outcomes. He strongly believes in volunteerism in the local community. His areas of focus include coaching youth football, umpiring and coaching Little League baseball, and helping the Rotary Club. A clear example of his dedication, Dobson was awarded The Rotary Youth Leadership Award. He will continue to a 4-year college with plans to study Business/Sports Management.
Jace Negley, Leavitt Area High School, Turner ME
Position: Nose Guard
Jace Negley of Leavitt Area High School is a finalist for the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Defensive Lineman Award for his accomplishments as a Nose Guard. A force on the defensive front, Negley brings ferocity to his game, attacking opponents with explosive intent. His play raises the defense to a championship level, proven by back-to-back State Championships in ’22 and ’23. In his three years as a two-way starter, the team earned a 29-1 record, three Conference Championships and two Regional Championships. Head Coach Michael Hathaway reports, “I would put him in the pantheon of all the best lineman to play here at Leavitt” and “he was without a doubt one of the most disruptive forces I have seen on a Maine High School Football field...He is a lineman’s lineman…plays tough on every snap, practices every day, plays injured, does whatever he can for his team.” Negley is a leader in his school and community and understands the importance of academics as a foundation to successful athletics. Athletic Director Ryan LaRoche states “(he) is exactly the kind of young man who should be nominated…(he) shows all of the character, leadership, and perseverance that Frank J. Gaziano has come to represent in Maine High School Football.” He plans to matriculate to the University of Maine and join the Black Bear Football Program.
The three finalists selected for the
Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive Lineman Award are:
Marshall Addy, Medomak Valley High School, Waldoboro ME
Position: Left Guard
Marshall Addy of Medomak Valley High School is a finalist for the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive Lineman Award for his accomplishments as a left guard. A well-rounded athlete, Addy’s play demonstrates a strong desire to win and a top-level ability to channel his athleticism to unleash blocks on his opponents. He is equally distinguished in his drive blocking and pulling, ultimately engaging to open running lanes and disrupt the defense. Head Coach Ryan Snell reports, “I have had the privilege of coaching Marshall for the past four seasons and have watched his growth…He has not only been one of the top players to come through our program, but also is one of the most well-rounded. (He) has been a three-year First Team All-Conference selection as a guard in Class C North, and for this past season, he was recognized as the Lineman of the Year for our Conference.” Leadership, dedication, and academics are all reflected in his overall presence in his school community. To name several of his accomplishments to-date, Addy is a State Champion wrestler at 220, Student Council President, and member of the National Honor Society. Addy will continue his academics at a 4-year college with plans to study Engineering – top choices include University of Maine and Maine Maritime Academy.
William Gale, Falmouth High School, Falmouth ME
Position: Left Tackle
William Gale of Falmouth High School is a finalist for the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive Lineman Award for his accomplishments as a left tackle. Combined with physicality and talent, his defining traits are leadership, perseverance, and high character. Notably, he played every snap during his Junior and Senior seasons. He set the tone during team activities – motivating teammates to be at their best, with emphasis on technique. Gale’s dominant play is clear in all blocking schemes and resulted in him being named Class B North Player of the Year. Head Coach John Fitzsimmons comments, “(he) is blessed with size (6’4” 290 lbs.), strength, talent, and determination…He set a new standard for excellence…Not one defender he was assigned to block ever got to our QB. When we needed a first down, we ran behind Will.” Gale’s excellence extends to his community citizenship and the classroom. Director of Athletics James Coffey Sr. remarks, “Will is a well-rounded student athlete, as he performs well academically, athletically, and in the community.” He combines his community service with his own passion for cooking by volunteering at the Preble Street Food Security Hub. Gale will continue his football career at Williams College, with plans to study Economics.
Kaden Sullivan, Bonny Eagle High School, Standish ME
Position: Left Tackle
Kaden Sullivan of Bonny Eagle High School is a finalist for the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive Lineman Award for his accomplishments as a left tackle. His on-field play demonstrates dedication to winning every snap, and his blocks indicate tenacity, strength, and willpower. Versatility is clearly an attribute, both in straight-ahead run-blocking and from point-of-attack to the second level. Head Coach Kevin Cooper states, “(he) got it done with a combination of technique, smarts, toughness, and athletic ability… Where you really see his athletic ability is when he gets up to the linebacker level or leads our play as a puller. He is outstanding on his feet.” Sullivan is not one to back down from a challenge, including in the classroom. He excels in a challenging set of AP and Honors courses, his GPA ranks near the top of his class, and he is a member of the National Honor Society. His community citizenship stands out for his commitment and leadership, as captain of the track team, and three years on varsity basketball. He puts sports to work, volunteering at basketball camp and youth football clinic each summer, and at middle school track meets. Sullivan plans to attend a 4-year college to pursue his passion for Biology, with sights set on Boston University.
For more information on the scholarship program, visit the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards website.
About National Distributors:
Established in 1960, National Distributors Inc. is a family-owned company that has been providing quality beverages to retailers for the benefit of consumers for more than 50 years. Though predominantly servicing retailers in southern Maine, the company continues to provide a variety of products and expand their distribution to central and coastal Maine. National Distributors maintains a strong vision for a greener future with an active environmental program. The company and its more than 170 employees also continue to be proud community leaders and promote the responsible consumption of their products. For more information, visit www.nat-dist.com.
KeyCorp's roots trace back nearly 200 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $188 billion at September 30, 2023. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of approximately 1,000 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.
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