Brewer High School’s Austin Lufkin and Nick Bartholomew of Thornton Academy in Saco were honored Saturday as recipients of the seventh annual Frank. J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards.

The awards were presented during a ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center.

The scholarship and awards program for senior class Maine high school football linemen was created in 2010 in memory of Frank J. Gaziano, founder of National Distributors Inc. and a former college All-American and professional football player with a lifelong passion for local sports. The award winners are selected by an awards committee based on the players’ leadership on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

Lufkin and Bartholomew each received a trophy, leather jacket and a $5,000 scholarship — the largest high school scholarship of its kind nationally.

Lufkin received the Gaziano defensive lineman of the year award, edging fellow finalists Raffaele Salamone of Deering High School in Portland and David Redmond of Westbrook.

Lufkin was a dominant player on both sides of the line of scrimmage last fall as Brewer reached the Class B North championship game for the second straight season.

A team captain, Lufkin was named to the All-Pine Tree Conference Class B first team on both offense and defense as well as to the PTC All-Academic team.

“Many people in my life have made sacrifices for me,” said Lufkin during his acceptance speech. “Be it my parents dropping everything to make sure that my life goes exactly the way that it should, my coaches for putting in countless hours watching film and coaching the team during practice, my friends for putting up with my lifting schedule that seems relentless, my teachers who have helped get me through school and given me an education, and National Distributors for giving me an amazing opportunity for one of the biggest scholarships in the state for the game that I love.”

Lufkin, one of the state’s top shot putters during indoor and outdoor track season, also is active in his community through coaching youth football and volunteering at his church, and he has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America.

“Frank Gaziano was the model of a man that everyone wants their son to be — a great football player, community benefactor and a family man,” said Lufkin. “Through this model of a man I hope to shape myself to be similar in my adult life.”

Bartholomew earned the Gaziano offensive lineman of the year award after helping Thornton Academy win two state championships before advancing to the Class A South semifinals in 2016.

Bartholomew is a two-time All-Southwestern Maine Activities Association choice as well as an SMAA All-Academic team selection who plans to continue his football career next fall at Husson University in Bangor.

Other finalists for the Gaziano offensive lineman award were Parker Gammon of Bonny Eagle of Standish and Dylan Wike of Portland.

The other finalists each received a $1,000 scholarship.

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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...