Bucksport High School senior David Gross (center) accepts a $5,000 scholarship as the state's Frank J. Gaziano Offensive Lineman of the Year from Jeff Kane (left), retired president at National Distributors and Frank Gaziano's son-in-law, and John Bapst of Bangor football coach Dan O'Connell, selection committee member. Credit: Gaziano Awards

David Gross was recognized Saturday as the best in the state at what he does on the football field.

The Bucksport High School senior was named winner of the Frank J. Gaziano Offensive Lineman of the Year Award during a banquet at the Augusta Civic Center.

Gross received a $5,000 scholarship — the largest high school football scholarship of its kind in the country — along with a trophy and a jacket in conjunction with the award. It memorializes Gaziano, founder of National Distributors in South Portland and a former college All-American and professional football player with a lifelong passion for local sports.

“It just makes all the work and everything worth it,” Gross said. “It’s one of the most prestigious football awards, not just in Maine but in the country when you look it up. There’s no award of its kind that gives such funding, and when you look at the man who’s behind it, it even means more.”

Also recognized was Nathan Mars of Scarborough, named the Gaziano Defensive Lineman of the Year.

Gross has earned All-Little Ten Conference honors since his freshman year of playing football under coach Joel Sankey at Bucksport.

He won the league’s George “Toogie” McKay Offensive Lineman of the Year Award as a junior and the Bob Carmichael Defensive Lineman of the Year Award in 2019. He also was selected to the All-LTC first team on both offense and defense each of the last two years and was named the conference player of the year as a senior.

Gross is a two-year member of the LTC All-Academic Team and a two-year team captain of both the football and wrestling teams at Bucksport.

He is a two-time state wrestling champion and last winter finished second in the heavyweight division at the New England championships.

Gross has been on the school’s honor roll every quarter since his freshman year and recorded his highest grade point average in 2019. Gross also is a member of the National Honor Society and student council and is a Boys State delegate.

His work in the community includes more than 100 hours volunteering to support youth football and wrestling programs as well as visiting assisted-living residences.

Gross played through pain while leading Bucksport to the Class D North football crown last fall and is planning to have surgery on his injured knee before pursuing a college football career.

Mars was a two-year captain at Scarborough and won the 2019 Gerry Raymond Award as the top lineman in the Southwestern Maine Activities Association. He also was named All-SMAA on both offense and defense as a senior.

As a sophomore he helped Scarborough win the Class A state championship.

“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,” Mars said.

Runners-up for the Gaziano offensive lineman award were Riley Parmenter from Leavitt Area High School in Turner Center and Jack Rogers from Thornton Academy in Saco.

Runners-up for the Gaziano defensive lineman award were Camden Jordan from Leavitt and William Horton from Bonny Eagle High School in Standish.

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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...