SOUTH PORTLAND — Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Lineman Awards for Maine high school football players. The awards are given to the top senior-class offensive and defensive linemen in the state based on their hard work on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. The deadline for nominations is Dec. 3. Award applications and nomination details can be found online at www.gazianolinemanawards.org.

The Gaziano Awards are the largest high school scholarships of their kind in the country. During the past eight years of the Gaziano Awards, $96,000 has been awarded by National Distributors to Maine students. Two winners will receive $5,000 each and a trophy, and four runners-up will receive $1,000 each and a trophy. The awards honor the memory of the late Frank J. Gaziano who was a college football All-American and professional player before founding National Distributors Inc. in South Portland.

The awards selection committee will select finalists from high schools across the state. The award and scholarship presentations to the Gaziano Award winners will be announced during a banquet on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 11 a.m. at the Augusta Civic Center.

To qualify for consideration, an applicant must be a high school senior, have competed at the varsity level for a minimum of two years and have an exemplary record of positive athletic and non-athletic citizenship. The submission of a student essay and a game film featuring the applicant competing against his two toughest competitors are also part of the application process.

Former Gaziano Award winners include collegiate football players Alec Clark (Maine Maritime Academy), Frank Curran (Husson University), Zach Davis (Maine Maritime Academy), Zordan Holman (University of Connecticut), Austin Lufkin (Wofford College), Jedidiah Scott (Assumption College), Luke Washburn (Husson University) and Kurt Massey (University of Maine).

All funding for the scholarships and awards is provided by National Distributors Inc. in South Portland. The awards committee will also be securing sponsorships ranging from $50-$500 so players and families of the student athletes can attend the lunch free of charge. If you are interested in attending the event or contributing to the scholarship fund, contact event coordinator Jenn Bouffard at (207) 773-1719, ext. 3343, or email [email protected]