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Brewer’s Austin Lufkin wins Gaziano Award

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From left to right: Jeff Kane, retired president of National Distributors, Nicholas Bartholomew of Thornton Academy, Austin Lufkin of Brewer High School and Peter DeSimon, president of the Gaziano Awards. From left to right: Jeff Kane, retired president of National Distributors, Nicholas Bartholomew of Thornton Academy, Austin Lufkin of Brewer High School and Peter DeSimon, president of the Gaziano Awards. (Photo courtesy of Gaziano Awards)

Thornton Academy’s Nicholas Bartholomew also a winner

AUGUSTA - The scholarship winners of the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards were announced during a ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center on Jan. 28.

Austin Lufkin of Brewer High School and Nicholas Bartholomew of Thornton Academy were named the top senior football defensive and offensive linemen, respectively, in the state based on their hard work on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. The two winners each received a trophy, a leather jacket and a $5,000 scholarship - the largest high school football scholarship of its kind in the country.


The runners-up for the Gaziano Awards were offensive linemen Parker Gammon from Bonny Eagle High School and Dylan Wike from Portland High School, and defensive linemen David Redmond of Westbrook High School and Raffaele Salamone from Deering High School. Each runner-up received a $1,000 scholarship, a trophy and a leather jacket with the Gaziano Awards logo.


The scholarship and awards program for Maine senior 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 lifelong passion for local sports. Annual funding for the $14,000 in scholarships is provided by National Distributors in South Portland, the company founded by the late Gaziano. During the past seven years of the Gaziano Awards, $82,000 has been awarded to Maine students.

Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Award and Scholarship Recipients:

Austin Lufkin, Brewer High School

Frank J. Gaziano Defensive Lineman of the Year 

Lufkin was the team captain in his senior season and was named first-team all-conference on both sides of the ball. He was also named All-Academic in the Pine Tree Conference Class B. He has a cumulative 90.8 grade point average. He has been active in the community through coaching youth football and volunteering at his church and has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America.

“The model of the man he (Frank Gaziano) was, is awesome. Anybody would want to be like him. I would want my kids to be like him, if I had them. He’s just a great person, a great football player and great person to look up to; he’s a great role model,” said Lufkin.

Nicholas Bartholomew, Thornton Academy
Frank J. Gaziano Offensive Lineman of the Year

Bartholomew is a two-time state champion with the Trojans. He was named to the SMAA All-Conference team in 2015 and 2016. In the classroom, he was named to the SMAA All-Academic team in 2016 and has a 3.92 GPA while taking AP and honors courses. He has numerous academic honors in writing, US history, and graphic design. He is also a member of the National Honor Society and Anglers’ Society at Thornton Academy, and is involved with the Explorers Club with the Saco Police and Fire Departments. In the Biddeford-Saco area, he volunteers time at the food pantry and helps the local youth football program. He is also involved with the Mary’s Walk, a fundraising event hosted by Thornton Academy to benefit The Maine Cancer Foundation.

“To represent the name Frank Gaziano; he was a tremendous person and to carry that weight with me, I can’t explain it with words, it is the biggest honor of my life,” said Bartholomew. 

The finalists considered for the annual Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards epitomize the character, leadership, and perseverance of Gaziano. The top recipients were selected by the awards committee based on their strong leadership on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. 

“I know Frank would be proud to see the contributions these young men have made on the field and in their communities. When you hear the stories from previous winners about what the scholarship did for them, it is clear that this event and scholarship has become about much more than football. This event has become a Maine tradition and he would be so proud of that,” said Kane. 

All eligible applicants must have been a high school senior in 2016, competed at the varsity level for a minimum of two years and have an exemplary record of positive athletic and non-athletic citizenship. As part of the selection process, the students submitted an essay and game film featuring each lineman against his toughest competition. 

Applicants from all levels of Maine’s high school football were eligible for the scholarship and able to be nominated by their coaches. For more information on the scholarship program application process, or to contribute to the scholarship fund, visit www.gazianolinemanawards.org.

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