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Bucksport's David Gross wins Gaziano Award

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From left to right: Peter DeSimon, selection committee member for the Frank J. Gaziano Lineman Awards; David Gross from Bucksport High School, Frank J. Gaziano Offensive Lineman of the Year; Nathan Mars, Scarborough High School, Frank J. Gaziano Offensive Lineman of the Year and Jeff Kane, retired president at National Distributors and Frank Gaziano' s son-in-law. From left to right: Peter DeSimon, selection committee member for the Frank J. Gaziano Lineman Awards; David Gross from Bucksport High School, Frank J. Gaziano Offensive Lineman of the Year; Nathan Mars, Scarborough High School, Frank J. Gaziano Offensive Lineman of the Year and Jeff Kane, retired president at National Distributors and Frank Gaziano' s son-in-law. )Photo courtesy Gaziano Awards)

Scarborough's Nathan Mars also a winner

AUGUSTA – A Bucksport High senior is one of the winners of Maine’s most prestigious high school football awards.

The Gaziano Awards committee announced the scholarship winners of the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards. David Gross from Bucksport High School and Nathan Mars from Scarborough High School were named the top senior football offensive and defensive linemen 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.

Award runners-up were offensive linemen Riley Parmenter from Leavitt Area High School and Jack Rogers from Thornton Academy and defensive linemen William Horton from Bonny Eagle and Camden Jordan from Leavitt Area 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 10 years of the Gaziano Awards, $124,000 has been awarded by National Distributors to Maine students. This year, Nathan Mars became part of the first brother combination to win the award; his brother Logan Mars won the award in 2011.

David Gross, Bucksport High School 

Gross has been named a First Team All-Conference player since his freshman year, and has won the Bob Carmichael Defensive Lineman of the Year Award and the George “Toogie” McKay Offensive Lineman of the Year Award the past two seasons in Little Ten Conference (LTC). This year he was also named Player of the Year in the conference as well as being selected to the All-LTC first team on both offense and defense. He earned LTC All-Academic honors in 2018 and 2019. For the past two years, he has been a captain for both the football and wrestling teams at Bucksport High School. He has been on the honor roll every quarter since his freshman year and recorded his highest GPA in 2019. He is a member of the National Honor Society and student council and is a Boy’s State delegate. His work in the community includes more than 100 hours volunteering to support youth football and wrestling programs, as well as at assisted living residences.

“What an honor to win this award and help carry on Frank Gaziano’s legacy. I feel blessed to have to the Gaziano family and National Distributors give out an award like this. I am fortunate for my family, my teammates, coaches and community all behind me to make me the man that I am. I am fortunate that God to give me the strength to be able to be a football player,” said Gross.

Nathan Mars, Scarborough High School

Mars has been a member of the National Honor Society the past two years and is an AP scholar. He is a United States Coast Guard Academy AIM Program graduate and member of the SMAA Fall Sports All-Academic team, ranking in the top 20% of his class. He has been a two-year captain for the Red Storm football team and won the 2019 Gerry Raymond Award as the best lineman in the SMAA. He was named to the SMAA All-Conference team on both sides of the ball. He was part of the Scarborough High School championship team in 2017 and has several other athletic accolades in track and field. He was elected to student council for a two-year term through his senior year and also serves as treasurer. In the community, he delivers meals for Project GRACE and volunteers with the Scarborough Police Explorers and Scarborough Youth Football and many other local organizations and events. 

“This award means a lot to me, it’s the pinnacle of hard work over the last four years, academically, athletically and through community service to my town and other areas, said Mars. “Mr. Gaziano certainly left a lasting legacy on a lot of people as we can see in this room today.”

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. 

“During the past 10 years of this award, we have met so many tremendous student athletes in Maine that are great football players and, most importantly, are also great role models in their communities. David and Nathan are two shining examples of why we created the award and it was a pleasure the present them with their scholarships today. In reflecting on the history of this award, I know Frank would be so proud to see the contributions these young men have made on the field and in their communities. During the last decade, this event has become a great Maine football tradition and a way to celebrate these incredible student-athletes and their accomplishments; Frank would be really proud,” said Jeff Kane, retired president at National Distributors and Frank Gaziano’s son-in-law. 

To qualify for consideration, an applicant must be a high school senior, have competed at the varsity level for a minimum of two years and have an exemplary record of positive athletic and non-athletic citizenship. Applicants from all levels of Maine’s high school football class system are eligible for the scholarship and are nominated by their coaches. For more information on the scholarship program, visit www.gazianolinemanawards.org

The selection committee for the Frank J. Gaziano Lineman Awards is chaired by Mark Bonnevie. Members include Pete Cloutier, Kevin Cooper, Chris Davis, Pete DeSimon, Mike DeVito, Charles Hews, Luke Libby, Ed McAleney, Dan O’Connell, Bob Sinclair and Jeff Wells.

Former Gaziano Award winners include collegiate football players Alec Clark (Maine Maritime Academy), Frank Curran (Husson University), Zach Davis (Maine Maritime Academy), Zordan Holman (University of Connecticut), Austin Lufkin (Wofford College), Jedidiah Scott (Assumption College), Luke Washburn (Husson University) and Kurt Massey (University of Maine).

Last modified on Wednesday, 29 January 2020 09:02

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