Local football players honored
CASTLETON — Local players and coaches were honored on May 1 at the annual National Football Foundation Vermont Chapter Awards Dinner on the Castleton State University campus.
Otter Valley Union High School senior Carson Leary earned the PRIDE of Vermont Award presented to the state’s premier football player. Leary was earlier named the Vermont Gatorade Player of the Year after leading OV to the Division III title, the Otters’ second-ever title and the first in a decade.
The 10th annual award is sponsored by the Dolphin Foundation of South Burlington with PRIDE being an acronym for Personal Responsibility for Individual Daily Effort. Other finalists for the award were Andy Kenosh of D-I champion Rutland, the Burlington Free Press Player of the Year and a D-I all-state selection at four positions, and Fair Haven’s Luke Czarnecki, a three-time first team D-II all-state selection at receiver and kick returner.
Mount Abraham’s Matthew Mullin won the 2015 Most Courageous Athlete Award and Scholarship. A First Team D-II lineman for the Eagles, Mullin was a key two-way player and team captain while one of his parents battled a serious illness requiring out-of-state treatment.
South Burlington’s Thomas DeMag won the Robert Stafford High School Athlete Community Service Award, also sponsored by Fred Peet, Attorney at Law.
Middlebury’s Nick Beauchamp was one of six seniors named Vermont High School Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame inductees and awarded $500 scholarships for outstanding football ability and performance, academic achievement and school leadership.
Middlebury College defensive back Dan Pierce of Needham, Mass., was one of four Vermont Collegiate Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame inductees, representing the state’s four college football programs.
Joel Perry of Rutland was the winner of the Vermont Youth Football Achievement Award for his efforts with the Rutland Recreation Department Youth Football Program.
Dennis Perry, father of Joel, was selected as the winner of the Contribution to Amateur Athletics Award. The elder Perry has been on the sidelines at the high school and youth level for close to 30 years in the state including leading the fledgling OV program to its first state title.
Rutland’s Mike Norman was named the 2015 Vermont Coach of the Year, and veteran official Gary Diminick was named 2015 Vermont Official of the Year. The U-32 and Bellows Falls teams earned sportsmanship awards.