Casey Mills and Thomas Horton Named 2021 Winners of Gaziano Lineman Awards

Casey Mills

Photo caption: Defensive lineman Casey Mills (left) and Offensive lineman Thomas Horton (right) have been selected as the top high school football linemen in the state of Maine.


SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine January 22, 2022 - Today, the Gaziano Awards selection committee announced the scholarship winners of the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Defensive and Offensive Linemen Awards. Casey Mills of Cony High School in Augusta, ME has been named the top senior football defensive lineman and Thomas Horton of Bonny Eagle High School in Standish, ME has been named the top offensive lineman in the state based on their hard work on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. The two winners will each receive a trophy and a $5,000 scholarship from National Distributors, which will be presented to them at events held later in the school year at their respective schools.

The defensive linemen runners-up were Jack Boutaugh of Leavitt Area High School in Turner, ME and Cody Ruff from Thornton Academy in Saco, ME. The offensive linemen runners-up were Seth Beyea, also Thornton Academy and Reeve Twitchell of Leavitt Area High School. Each runner-up will receive a trophy and $1,000 scholarship from 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. In the past 10 years, National Distributors has donated $140,000 to Maine students. This year, for the first time, KeyBank has stepped up to co-sponsor the awards in partnership with National Distributors and provide the runners-up scholarships.

Casey Mills, Cony High School, Augusta ME Position: Left Defensive End
Mills’ coaches consider him to be one of the most well-rounded athletes to play for the Cony Rams in school history. A two-way starter, his success as a defensive end indicates his remarkable talent and competitive spirit. His athletic capability is enhanced by “his strong work ethic, compassion for others, and dedicated leadership” – as described by Cony High School Principal Kimberly E. W. Silsby. A 3-year starter on defense, Head Coach B.L. Lippert describes his play as “smart” and “relentless”. It is clear watching Mills play that these characteristics define him, and he completed his senior season with 87 tackles, 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.

Thomas Horton, Bonny Eagle High School, Standish ME Position: Right Guard
When comparing Horton to the previous seven Gaziano Award recipients from Bonny Eagle, Head Coach Kevin Cooper described him as the “the best two-way lineman I have ever coached...Thomas stands alone at the top.” Horton’s play on offense showcases his exceptional ability as a drive blocker and pass blocker. He is one of the best at his craft, especially when pulling, where he imposes his will on his assignment and any other opponents in his path. As a sophomore, he registered 21 knock-down blocks and as a senior he registered 42 knock-down blocks plus no sacks given up. Head Coach Cooper, classified these statistics as, “...unheard of.” His athletic skills are top-notch and further reflected in his additional nomination for the Fitzpatrick Trophy.

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

About KeyBank:

KeyBank'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 $187.0 billion at September 30, 2021. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states through a network of 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 KeyBank is Member FDIC.