After staying out of the spotlight all season, Colin Hutchins of Mt. Blue and Cole Melanson of Leavitt now get a chance at a slice of glory that football linemen receive.

The two players made the list of 21 nominees for the 2018 Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive and Defensive Linemen Awards, which were announced Thursday.

The awards (one each for offense and defense) are given to a top senior lineman in the state on each side of the ball who epitomizes “the character, leadership and perseverance” of the late Gaziano, according to a press release sent out Thursday.

Hutchins and Melanson were both nominated for the Defensive Lineman Award, along with eight other players: James Boyd (Nokomis); Seth Bussell (Maine Central Institute); Nathan Kapongo (Portland); Caleb Ladd (Foxcroft Academy); Jacob McCluskey (Brewer); Nicholas Mills (Cony); Thomas Palmer (Thornton Academy); Morgan Welch-Thompson (Wells).

The 11 nominees for the Offensive Lineman Award are: Elijah Bickford (Foxcroft Academy); Braxton Cassidy (Windham); Koa Farnsworth (Portland); Gilbert Isaacs (Mount Desert Island); Chase Lamontagne (Kennebunk); Aidan McGlone (Bonny Eagle); Connor Patten (Hermon); Zachary Reed (Scarborough); Noah Scanlon (John Bapst); Jarred Spencer (Old Town); Zachary Steiger (Brewer).

The selection committee for awards is chaired by Dan O’Connell. Committee members include Pete Cloutier, Kevin Cooper, Chris Davis, Pete DeSimon, Mike DeVito, Charles Hews, Luke Libby, Ed McAleney, Bob Sinclair and Jeff Wells.

The two winners will receive $5,000 scholarships, and two runners-up for each award will both receive $1,000 scholarships. The $14,000 total is the largest high school scholarship of its kind in the country.

The winners will be announced on Jan. 26 during the Gaziano Awards luncheon ceremony at Augusta Civic Center.

Cole Melanson, left, works with Brent Grant on a seven-second offensive drill at Leavitt Area High School in September. Working on the drill behind them are Tom Casey and Caleb Lafrance. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal File Photo)

 


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