SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Alec Clark’s work in the trenches over the last four years has helped reap great rewards for the Winslow High School football team.

Now the senior offensive guard and middle linebacker is a candidate for one of the state’s top individual honors as one of six finalists for the 2015 Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards.

Clark is joined as one of three finalists from the offensive line ranks by Charles Kovarik of Portland and Isaac Patry of Thornton Academy of Saco.

Defensive finalists are Elijah Ayotte of Thornton Academy, Frank Curran of Cheverus of Portland and Tyrell Gullatt of Windham.

The scholarship and awards program for Maine high school football linemen was created in 2010 in memory of Frank J. Gaziano, founder of National Distributors in South Portland and a former college All-American and professional football player.

One offensive and one defensive lineman will each receive $5,000 — the largest high school scholarship of its kind in the country — and a first-place trophy. The four runners-up each will receive $1,000.

Award winners will be announced during a Jan. 30 luncheon at the Augusta Civic Center.

Clark, a four-year starter at Winslow and the only non-Class A Gaziano Award finalist, never missed a game during his high school career. He is a two-time all-conference selection and in 2015 led the Winslow defense with 54 tackles and five sacks.

He was named to the Class C North all-conference first team on both offense and defense as a senior, and he was selected as the Big 10 Conference Player of the Year while helping the Black Raiders to their second straight undefeated season, second straight Class C state title and fourth consecutive regional crown.

The honor-roll student is a three-time powerlifting champion for his age group in Maine and holds several United States records. He also enjoys horseback riding, is a member of the 4-H Club and is a business owner of A.C. Pumpkins in Winslow.

Kovarik, a two-year starter for Portland, helped the Bulldogs rush for more than 3,500 yards and earned all-conference and all-academic honors while helping Portland win the Class A North championship.

Patry helped Thornton Academy win its second straight Class A state title and third in four years, earning second-team All-Class A South honors as well as a berth on the league’s all-academic team.

Ayotte is a three-year, first-team All-Class A South honoree for Thornton Academy, and as a senior was named the winner of the Gerry Raymond Award as the conference’s top lineman.

Curran, a three-year starter at Cheverus, served as a team captain during the 2015 season and finished the year with 63 tackles and five sacks. He was named lineman of the year in Class A North.

Gullatt was a first-team All-Class A North lineman for Windham last fall, and during his career, he was named lineman of the week at Windham 13 different times.

The Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards are presented to players based on their strong leadership on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

For more information on the awards luncheon or the scholarship program, visit www.gazianolinemanawards.org.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...