Bonny Eagle defensive lineman Arlo Pike won the Frank Gaziano Lineman of the Year Award on Saturday at Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)
Bonny Eagle offensive lineman Zachary Klein won the Frank Gaziano Lineman of the Year Award on Saturday at Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal)
AUGUSTA — Thanks to seniors such as Arlo Pike and Zachary Klein, Bonny Eagle usually controlled the line of scrimmage while staking its claim as one of the top teams in Class A in 2017. At Saturday’s Gaziano Lineman Awards, the Scots continued to dominate.
Pike was named the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Defensive Lineman and Klein the Offensive Lineman for 2017 at an awards banquet held at the Augusta Civic Center, making Bonny Eagle the first school to sweep the awards in their seven-year history.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Pike, who was an SMAA first-team all-star as a defensive tackle. “We’ve known each other since we were probably 4 years old. It’s a great honor. I’m just as happy that he won.”
“I didn’t imagine (a sweep),” said Klein, a left tackle and nose guard who earned the SMAA’s Gerry Raymond Award as the conference’s top lineman. “I don’t want to say I was shocked, though. But everyone here is an excellent player. Any combination of offensive and defensive players winning wouldn’t have been a shock.”
Pike and Klein were among three finalists on each side of the line selected among a total of 19 nominees from around the state. The award is the largest high school football scholarship of its kind in the country — $5,000 — to the winners, along with a trophy and leather jacket.
Leavitt’s Aidan Parmenter and Sanford’s Michael Lunny were the other two defensive finalists, while Kennebunk’s Cole Hoffman and Wells’ Sean McCormack-Kuhman were offensive finalists. They all received $1,000 scholarships.
Parmenter, a two-way tackle with plans to attend Unity College next fall, overcame back problems to anchor the Hornets on both sides of the line. The recognition not only reflects on him but his teammates, he said.
“I’m proud to represent Leavitt,” he said. “I’m really proud of our linemen, so it’s great to get this.”
Parmenter and the other finalists were nominated by their coaches and had to meet several requirements, both on and off the field, to be eligible. That included writing an essay telling the selection committee why they deserved the award and meeting with the committee, which consists of current and former coaches and former players.
“It’s been pretty hectic and nerve-wracking,” Parmenter said. “But everyone on the committee is great.”
“You walk in and you’ve got all of these football coaches all sitting in a horseshoe and there’s one seat in front of them for you, and they’re all focused on you,” said Klein, who is using crutches having undergone surgery to repair a torn left meniscus in the middle of the season. “I thought coach (Kevin) Cooper was the only one who could give me that stare.”
Cooper, who led the Scots to an 8-2 record and the AA South semifinals, called Pike and Klein “technicians,” tough and intelligent players who could make adjustments on the fly before coaches could make them for them.
“They’re tremendously hard workers,” Cooper said. “They’ve been dedicated to our offseason program. They’ve worked their butts off in the weight room. They’re incredibly strong and smart.”
The award, created in memory of National Distributors founder and former college and pro football player Frank Gaziano, is presented annually to the state’s top senior linemen.
“We might not get all of the attention, but it’s great to be recognized for all of the hard work that we put in,” Pike said.
Pike will attend USM in the fall. An all-conference baseball player, he hopes to play baseball for the Huskies.
Klein has been accepted by his top two college choices, Springfield College and Norwich University, and is still weighing his options. He hopes those include continuing his football career.
Arlo Pike of Bonny Eagle High School accepts the $5,000 scholarship check from Peter DeSimon, left, president of the Gaziano Awards, and Jeff Kane, right, Frank Gaziano’s son-in-law and retired president of National Distributors. Zachary Klein of Bonny Eagle High School accepts the $5,000 scholarship check from Peter DeSimon, left, president of the Gaziano Awards and Jeff Kane, right, Frank Gaziano’s son-in-law and retired president of National Distributors.