Last Updated: February 6, 2016

2015 Gaziano Lineman Award winners

January 30, 2016

- Today, Jeff Kane, president of National Distributors, Inc. and Frank J. Gaziano's son-in-law, announced the scholarship winners of the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards during a luncheon ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center.

Alec Clark of Winslow High School and Frank Curran of Cheverus 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, leather jacket and scholarship of $5,000, the largest high school football scholarship of its kind in the country.

The runners-up for the Gaziano Awards were offensive linemen Charles Kovarik from Portland High School and Isaac Patry from Thornton Academy, and defensive linemen Elijah Ayotte from Thornton Academy and Tyrell Gullatt from Windham High School. Each runner-up received a $1,000 scholarship, trophy and a leather jacket with the Gaziano Awards logo. The web broadcast of the event can be found at

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. Funding for the $14,000 in scholarships is provided by National Distributors in South Portland, the company founded by the late Gaziano. During the six years of the Gaziano Awards, $68,000 has been awarded by National Distributors to Maine students.

Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Award and Scholarship Recipients:

Alec Clark, Winslow High School
Frank J. Gaziano Offensive Lineman of the Year

Clark made the honor roll at Winslow High School and earned High Honors MMTC in 2014-2015. A four-year starter, Clark has never missed a game in 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. In 2015, he was named to the first team all-conference team on both offense and defense sides of the ball. He was also named the Morning Sentinel Player of the Year and Big Ten Player of the Year. Away from the field, he is a three-time powerlifting champion for his age group in Maine and holds several United States records. His extracurricular activities include horseback riding and he is a member of the 4-H Club. He volunteers by coaching youth football and cheerleading. He has also volunteered for food drives and supported the local homeless shelter. Clark is also a business owner of A.C Pumpkins in Winslow.

"It's quite an honor to receive this award. First, I would like to thank the Gaziano family and the committee behind all this for selecting me for such an honor and award. I would also like to thank the ones in the community, especially those at Winslow High School, it's an amazing place and community, including the coaching staff. I would also like to thank my family. Growing up with six brothers, you kind of fight for the food at the dinner table and you know what...sometimes you make out and sometimes you don't. I love my brothers to death," said Clark.

Frank Curran, Cheverus High School
Frank J. Gaziano Defensive Lineman of the Year

Curran, a three year starter for the Stags, was captain of the 2015 squad. He finished the season with 63 tackles and five sacks and was named lineman of the year in Class A North. As an active member of his community, he has helped with community clean-up projects, volunteered at the local food kitchen, helped with food drives and participated in several events to raise awareness for breast cancer.

"It's an honor to represent the name of Frank Gaziano, I strive to be half the man that he was. It's a good feeling to know I will always be on that trophy, so I will always be a part of him and that's a great feeling. I can't put in to word's how thankful I am and what this actually means, not just to me but to the school and my family, I am just so thankful," said Curran.

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.

"The way the Patriots season ended, shines a light on how important both an offensive and defensive line can be. When you hear the stories and background about each of these young men, I know Frank would be proud to see the contributions they have made on the field and in their communities. When you hear the stories from previous winners about what the scholarship did for them, it is clear that this event and scholarship has become about much more than football. As a company, we are proud to continue the tradition of supporting these young men with scholarships so they can pursue their future goals. I know Frank is somewhere up there thinking about the impact this scholarship has made on students and their familes," said Kane.

All eligible applicants must have been a high school senior in 2015, competed at the varsity level for a minimum of two years and have an exemplary record of positive athletic and non-athletic citizenship. As part of the selection process, the students submitted an essay and game film featuring each lineman against his toughest competition.

Applicants from all levels of Maine's high school football were eligible for the scholarship and able to be nominated by their coaches. For more information on the scholarship program application process, or to contribute to the scholarship fund, visit


2015 James J. Fitzpatrick winner

January 24, 2016

Portland High School senior running back / defensive back Joe Esposito was named the 45th recipient of the James J. Fitzpatrick Trophy as the top senior high school football player in the state of Maine.

He joins other Bulldogs alumni such as Carl Frye (2002), Joe D'Andrea (1995), Shaun Hawkins (1983), and Mike Rutherford (1982).

Portland Press Herald Article


2015 Gatorade Maine Football Player of the Year

Produced from the press release here


CHICAGO (December 3, 2015) - In its 31st year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorde Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Joe Esposito of Portland High School as its 2015-2016 Gatorade Maine Football Player of the Year. Esposito is the third Gatorade Maine Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Portland High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Esposito as Maine’s best high school football player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award announced in December, Esposito joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.), Wes Welker (1999-00, Heritage Hall HS, Okla.), Terrell Suggs (1999-00, Hamilton HS, Ariz.), Anquan Boldin (1998-99, Pahokee HS, Fla.) and Jerome Bettis (1989-90, Mackenzie HS, Mich.).

The 6-foot-1, 198-pound senior running back and linebacker rushed for 1,795 yards and 26 touchdowns on 256 carries this past season, leading the Bulldogs (10-1) to the Class A state championship game. The Eastern Region Class A Player of the Year, Esposito also caught seven passes for 198 yards and four scores. On defense, the two-time First Team All-Region selection recorded 124 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.

Esposito has maintained an A average in the classroom. A Portland High ambassador for incoming freshmen, he has volunteered locally with the Stuff the Bus food drive and as part of multiple community-service initiatives through his church.

"Joe Esposito was the best player we saw this season," said Mark Soehren, head coach of Oxford Hills High. "He is big, fast and strong. He is fundamentally the best player we played against."

Esposito remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Esposito joins recent Gatorade Maine Football Players of the Year Joe Fitzpatrick (2014-15, Cheverus High School), Ben Lucas (2013-14, Cony High School), Andrew Libby (2012-13, Thornton Academy), Louis DiTomasso (2011-12, Wells High School), Peter Gwilym (2010-11, Cheverus High School), Jack Mallis (2009-10, Windham High School), Jack Heary (2008-09, Deering High School) and Justin Villacci (2007-08, Gorham High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit