AUGUSTA — While the Frank J. Gaziano Award ceremony was held to honor the top high school offensive and defensive linemen in the state, Sunday’s brunch at the Augusta Civic Center became a love letter to line play in general.

“If there’s one word to describe linemen, it’s unselfish. The trenches, that’s where the game is won and lost,” said keynote speaker Skip Capone, a longtime assistant football coach at Bates College. “(Linemen are) doing the things nobody else wants to do.”

Logan Mars of Scarborough won the offensive lineman award, while Thornton Academy’s Luke Libby took home defensive lineman honors. Now in its second year, the Gaziano Award is named in honor of Frank J. Gaziano. The founder of National Distributors, Gaziano graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 1941 and played professional football with the Washington Redskins and Boston Yanks.

Mars and Libby each won a $2,500 scholarship. Runners up on defense were Matt Ross of Cape Elizabeth and John Bapst’s Max Andrews. Offensive line runners up were Rudy Pandora of Lewiston and Matt McLean of Windham. All four runners up received $500 scholarships. Nate Porter of Portland (offense) and Christian Deschenes of Cheverus also were finalists.

Mars, who will continue his football career at the Coast Guard Academy, said he became nervous as the runner ups were announced.

“I’m a little shaken up, actually,” Mars said. “Everybody I had to go up against for this award is a phenomenal football player.”

When he heard his name called as the defensive lineman winner, Libby said he felt relief.

“The stress was off,” said Libby, who plans to study in a pre-dental program in the hopes of becoming an orthodontist. “Usually, linemen don’t get all this recognition, so this is great.”

Raibonne Charles, who recently completed his career as a defensive lineman at the University of Maine, also spoke. A Windham native who walked on at Maine before earning a scholarship, a starting role, and all-Colonial Athletic Association honors, spoke about the importance of line play. It’s the linemen who make it possible for the skill players to win awards such as the Fitzpatrick Trophy, annually presented to the top high school football player in the state, Charles said.

“You’re the true heart and soul of the team. Without you in the room, there is no Fitzpatrick Trophy,” Charles said. “Never stop working. Never stop being who you are.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]


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