Last Saturday Windham High School football standout Zach Davis was honored by winning the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive Lineman Award for this past season. In a luncheon ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center, Davis, a senior, along with senior Zordan Holman of Cheverus, both took home the awards as the top linemen in the state. Holman won for the defensive side.
Jeff Kane, president of National Distributors and son-in-law of Gaziano, presented the awards to Davis and Holman, along with a trophy, leather jacket and a $5,000 scholarship, which is the largest high school football scholarship in the country.
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 five years of the Gaziano Awards, $54,000 has been awarded by National Distributors to Maine students.
Windham also had a runner up for the award, senior defensive lineman Hunter Bowen, who received a trophy, leather jacket and a $1,000 scholarship in being recognized for his play on the field this season.
Davis not only leads on the field, but in the classroom and community as well. Davis has been on the honor roll in each of his four years at Windham High School and a National Honor Society Selection in 2013 and 2014. In addition to his academic success, he was a first team all-conference selection in 2013 and 2014. He was also the most valuable player and Fitzpatrick Award semi-finalist in his senior year. Off the field, he was involved in the SMAA Leadership Summit in 2013 and was a member of the Windham High School Football Leadership Council for the past two seasons. His charitable contributions include coaching Windham youth football and lacrosse programs and volunteering at the local soup kitchen, plus helping with fundraising efforts for Neighbors Helping Neighbors program.
"To win an award like this is an unbelievable honor. There were so many great players and great kids nominated, so for me to have won is truly an honor and a blessing," said Davis. Davis certainly has worked hard to get to this point and understands the help he's received along the way. "Attending and competing at WHS (Windham High School), is a great privilege. I have grown and developed as a student and as an athlete. The staff at WHS really cares, without my coaches and teachers I wouldn't be where I am today," he said.
Davis has played in many big games in his career at Windham, but this senior season may have been his biggest and brightest. Leading the Eagles to the Eastern Maine Title, Davis cleared the way for Windham's running game and protected his quarterback all season long, while racking up awards and nominations along the way. The Eagles eventually fell in the State Championship game, but that didn't take away from Davis' accomplishments.
"Having played four years of football at WHS, I have had so many great memories. However, the Eastern Maine final this past season is one that seems to stand out. It was such a great game and everyone really came together in order to win. So many guys on our team stepped up when they needed to, it was a great day for our team and especially the Town of Windham," said Davis.
Along with his efforts on the field and in the classroom, Davis knows the importance of giving back to those coming up behind him.
"I've always enjoyed being able to give back to the younger players in the community. I remember looking up to the guys before me and wanting to be just like them. It's really important to show them how to do things the right way," added Davis.
Davis plans to continue his education and football career after the summer. "Next fall I plan on attending Maine Maritime Academy. I intend to study M.T.O., (Marine Transportation Operations). I also plan on playing football at MMA," said Davis.
PIC 1: Zach Davis receives the Frank J. Gaziano award and scholarship, presented by Jeff Kane, president of National Distributors. Submitted