Olson, Cady among football award winners

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CASTLETON — The Vermont chapter of the National Football Foundation honored the best of the 2018 football season Sunday at its 26th annual Vermont Chapter Awards Dinner held at Glenbrook Gymnasium on the Castleton University campus. Student-athletes and coaches from around the state were honored in addition to others who were recognized for lifetime service and achievement.

Bailey Olson from Colchester High School received the 2018 Most Courageous Athlete Award and Scholarship, presented by Fred Peet, Attorney at Law. Now a senior, he overcame a heart defect that required a pair of open heart surgeries as a child to prosper as a student-athlete in football and track and field for the Lakers, earning all-state honors this past fall as a receiver. Always closely monitored by cardiologists, the hard-working and speedy Olson competed in January for the U.S. Select National Football team at International Bowl X at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Jake Cady, a senior all-state quarterback from St. Johnsbury Academy, is the winner of the Robert Stafford High School Athlete Community Service Award, also sponsored by Fred Peet, Attorney at Law. The 2018 Vermont Gatorade Football Player of the Year for the Hilltoppers, Cady and his family formed a successful non-profit organization in honor of his grandfather, `Team Sullycat,' which raises money to benefit families who have loved ones fighting cancer. Among his other volunteer efforts, he also donated his $1,000 scholarship from his Gatorade award to help form the St. Johnsbury recreation department's youth flag football program.

Last month six high school seniors were announced as the 2018 Vermont High School Football Scholar-Athlete Inductees. John 'Jake' Baker of Burr and Burton, Patrick Burke of Mount Mansfield, Mark Howrigan of BFA-St Albans, Nick Porter of Hartford, Renwick Smith of St. Johnsbury Academy and Cameron Wescott from Poultney were honored Sunday, each receiving a $500 scholarship from the NFF.

The six were among 24 finalists from around the state. The others recognized at the dinner were: Reno Tuttle, Bellows Falls; Kristopher Carroll, Brattleboro; Duncan Macdonald, Burlington/South Burlington; Jason Rosner, Champlain Valley; Grady Corkum, Essex; Aaron Szabo, Fair Haven; Kayden Lewis, Lyndon; Josh McQuinn, Milton; Will Greenough, Missisquoi Valley; Chris Mayer, Mount Anthony; Jacob Provost, North Country; Ryan Byrnes, Rice Memorial; Austin Robertson, Rutland; Sam Bigglestone, Spaulding; Deacon Watson, Springfield; Ryan Barr, Union 32; Ryland Richardson, Windsor; as well as Colchester's Olson.

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Seniors Grant Cummings (Colchester, Vt.), a linebacker from Castleton University, Kevin Maxwell (Scotch Plains, N.J.), also a linebacker from Middlebury College, offensive lineman John Lemay, Jr. (Wolfeboro, N.H.) from Norwich and Eddie Hockenbury (South Burlington, Vt.), a back for the UVM Club program and its president, were named Vermont Collegiate Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame inductees, representing the state's four collegiate football programs. Cummings and Hockenbury were both honored by this organization as high school seniors in 2015 while Maxwell was one of seven Panthers recently named to the prestigious National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society.

A longtime coach, volunteer and administrator, Don Fullam, was the winner of the Vermont Youth Football Leadership Award for for his efforts for over three decades with all levels of football in his hometown of Bellows Falls, from the town's youth programs and its high school teams.

The 2018 Vermont Coach of the Year Award, named by the state's coaches, went to longtime Mount Mansfield Union head coach Marty Richards for leading the Cougars to their first-ever state title, the 2018 Division I crown. The other divisional coaches of the year were Jason Thomas of Burr and Burton in Division II and Dave Capman of Poultney in Division III.

The Vermont Football Officials Association gave its season-long team sportsmanship awards. The Stan Amadon Trophy for the North was awarded to Union 32 High School of East Montpelier led by head coach Brian Divelbliss, and in the South, Oxbow High School of Bradford, coached by Jason Marsh, was awarded the James Howard Trophy. The officials group also gave its award for the 2019 Vermont Official of the Year to veteran official Rob Black.

Former University of Vermont student-athlete, coach and longtime administrator Richard `Rick' Farnham of South Burlington was selected as the winner of the Contribution to Amateur Athletics Award for his 40-plus years of service to athletics at all levels in the state. A standout lineman at Brattleboro Union High, Vermont Academy and the University of Vermont, Farnham began his coaching career at South Burlington High in 1969 before moving on to coach at UVM in 1973.

Kelly Brush Davisson of Charlotte was given the evening's final award, the Vermont Chapter's Distinguished American Award. A native Vermonter who was a talented alpine ski racer at Middlebury College, she suffered a severe life-changing spinal cord injury in a race as a sophomore in 2006. After surgeries and intense rehabilitation and confined to a wheel chair, she returned to school and graduated with her class at Middlebury in the spring of 2008.


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